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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

February 15, 2003

Valentine's Day

Kids This month is the day we all are touched in some way by Valentine's Day. In America, when I was an elementary school student, we used to hand out little different colored candy hearts to our classmates. Each heart had a brief phrase on it, like BE MINE or YOU ARE MY VALENTINE or I LOVE YOU. I liked that custom because it was fun handing them to friends and receiving them; I especially liked munching on the hearts which had different flavors according to the colors; yellow was my favorite. (Who thought about germs in childhood?)

Then when I was a junior high teacher in New York, I was on a different kind of receiving line, namely sweet gestures from shy adolescent students who wanted to express their fondness for me via small gifts: a card, a flower picked from a garden, a small bottle of cologne, an original poem.

This February I would like to share with you something I learned from Mother Teresa. She said, "If you are going to do something, do it with love." It is such a simple statement, but its ramifications are profound.

In respect to her words of wisdom, I would like to say, if we are going to teach, I believe we should do it with love. We should love the subject matter we teach, whether it be English, math or calligraphy, and we should try to ignite that passion in our students. We should love our students in a deferential way, love them for who they are and for who and what they are capable of becoming and accomplishing.

Who knows if in our classroom sit a future Ichiro Suzuki, Ryuichi Sakamoto or Chiaki Mukai? Who knows the influence, in our case, English may have on our students' future. We should be honored that we are given this golden opportunity to cross paths with them and hopefully make a difference in their lives. I truly believe we should cherish the relationship we have with them and embrace our allotted time together.

So in my youth, during Valentine season, I was delighted with a yellow candy heart and then a flower from a garden. But now as a I look into my students' eyes, I treasure each student as a gift and each class as an encounter. I remind myself in February especially that, "If you are going to teach, you should teach with love."

Happy Valentine's Day...

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