We are well aware that the subject of love concerning the proper relationship between teacher and student may be quickly misread given the violation of trust that alarmingly appears between any person vested with authority over those in their care. Therefore we take careful pain to describe what we intend by our declaration that the office of teacher is best served when the teacher fully assumes the responsibilities of caring for the intellectual and spiritual well being of their students within a relationship of unconditional love. And, importantly add, that unconditional love is the teacher’s responsibility only, not the reciprocal between the student and the teacher. On the contrary, all the student owes the teacher is serious regard, earned only after the teacher has demonstrated trustworthiness. More of this latter.
Like would seem the more proper relationship between teacher and student than would be Unconditional Love, but we claim otherwise for the following reasons:
Like (and its sister, dislike) is a most familiar state of relationship between any “other” and ourselves. We are joined to our friends, cloths, jobs, foods, and what have you, along this like/dislike axis. Taste, preferences, all cultural and social sensibilities derive from our ability and penchant for assigning degrees of like to all the features of our world. This seems only proper, and consensual preferences provide the stability and typicality all societies require.
But like as the form of relationship between teacher and student brings with it all the deficits described above.
Therefore we believe that when one assumes the office of teacher, here, love must be the dominant quality, for all the rewards described above.
Now we may return to why the same quality of unconditional love between the student and the teacher is undesirable. Unconditional love requires of its practitioner a level of maturity, restraint, and responsibility that is exactly commensurate with the power vested in the authority of a teacher. The student has no such powers, has no such responsibilities for the well fare of the teacher or even of their peers in learning. The have come to receive, not yet to give. Therefore the student’s proper relationship to the teacher and their peers is to take them as seriously to the same degree that they have been taken seriously. That will suffice for the able teacher, and for their companions in learning.
The student must in fact exercise conditional regard for the teacher, not taking on faith or trust anything given without the utmost careful scrutiny and comparative alertness.
~ Peter London