Humans love to be loved.

One of the best kept secrets of happiness is to love and take care of others. Caring for others enhances happiness levels. All of us have an intense desire to be loved and nurtured. The need to be loved, as Bowlby’s and others’ experiments have shown, could be considered one of our most basic and fundamental needs…..Given the importance of the need to be loved, it isn’t surprising that most of us believe that a significant determinant of our happiness is whether we feel loved and cared for..” Dr Raj Raghunathan.

It may come as a surprise to some but most school Principals, Deputies, Heads of School etc are actually normal human beings.

So are our teachers. Therefore, like other people, we long to be loved, valued and respected.

As Christians we want to emulate the love for others evident in the life of Christ: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22.

Unfortunately, as teachers and role models to our students, we are sometimes  required to do things that may make us unlovable in the eyes of others.

Sometimes we have to impose consequences on students for behaviours that do not meet our expectations and damage others.

In the same way parents have to accept that sometimes they have to be a parent first and a friend to their child second, sometimes a teacher cannot do their job well and be everybody’s friend.

Sometimes we have to hold the line between right and wrong, between what would be easy and what we know we must do.

And this can make us unpopular with some students and some parents.

When a student lies, hurts others or steals educational opportunities by making others feel unsafe or disrupting classes, we accept that we must act – not out of vengeance for a broken trust, but because if we  allow students to believe this is the way to live as members of our society we fail as educators.

At St Columba we do more than impart knowledge. We have a culture and set of values that dictate how we live and learn together.

We have standards that we maintain because we educate as well as teach.

This means that, as professionals, we sometimes have to have “hard” conversations with students. Sometimes these hard conversations extend to parents and carers.

We do not enjoy these conversations but we accept that, in order to protect and educate our students, we are unable to accept what our school culture finds unacceptable, unable to turn a blind eye to aberrant behaviour and must “hold the line” for the good of our students.

We accept that sometimes some of you will not love us for this but this is our job, our vocation and our responsibility.

This is how we show we care.

Principals must be aware of the culture of the school, not just what is publicly espoused about the school’s practices and values but what  also of what is permitted or ignored.”  Dr Phil Ridden, AEL, 2018

 


Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School