Engage and Elevate Better with Love

Martin SilvermanBlog, Connect Better


  • St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers. Lead with love as you take care of your hive.
  • Compliment staff and students.
  • Get involved in the community your school is part of.
  • Bond with new students.
  • Freshen up your classroom decor.

All you need is love!

In the immortal words of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “All you need is love.”  Here we are in February already!  We are in the “month of love,” and really, what is not to love about February?  Aside from the weather, the lack of holidays that produce days off, and the alternately sweet or anxiety-producing Valentine’s Day craziness, it’s a great month to engage and elevate our practices!  We celebrate St. Valentine this month, and most of us know he was associated with the concept of love, but did you know that he is also the patron saint of beekeepers?  This is so relevant to the work we do as educators…leading with love, and keeping the hive fruitful!

To engage with our students, staff, and community with love, we need to take the time this month to remember not only that we work with a basis in love, but we need to remember to express love. Click To Tweet

Is love all you need?

Truly, this installment of the series should probably have been the first published because using love as a basis of engaging and elevating should be the foundation of our practice. I have recently been writing about leadership through two lenses: the mind and the heart.  This focus is a guide I use as part of decision-making.  While we are definitely in the people business, we are also in the “regulations business.”  We are asked to balance the needs of our communities along with the needs of our profession.  And our profession is definitely not just focused on the people!  There are tons of rules, regulations, and guidelines that seem to be made in absence of the people part!  It is our duty to do our best to engage and elevate both…but this month we focus on the love.

How to engage with love…

So how do we engage with love?  It seems odd to have to even consider this explicitly, but in reality we often have to be reminded to not take those we love for granted.  And, at this time of the year in schools, that reminder needs to be even more emphasized.  To engage with our students, staff, and community with love, we need to take the time this month to remember not only that we work with a basis in love, but we need to remember to express love.  As educators, we need to consciously take the time to remember not only THAT we love our communities, but WHY we love them.  Here are some tips to help us remember both of those points:

  • Find a quiet moment and look at your list of students and/or staff.  Think about something positive they bring to the group, then express that thought.
  • Choose to engage positively with your community outside of the school building.  This would be a great month to start your own volunteering efforts in the community.  You likely set that as a goal at some point…now is the time to do it!
  • Take the time to get to know new students at the school.  Those students that did not begin the year with you are likely not fully part of the fabric of the class or school.  A concerted effort to get to know them will help them settle in.
  • Consider the academic and social needs of your students and use this time to help freshen your classroom decor, library, routines, etc.  Look at your anchor charts and posters.  Are they still being used effectively?  This may be the time to change them out!

More importantly, how do we elevate our practice with love?

Along with simply engaging with love, this series attempts to find opportunities to elevate our practices.  In so many cases, elevating is simply moving from thought to action.  It is important to think about not just what we hope to accomplish but to check some of those things off our list.  February is the perfect time to get to that list!  When we have already engaged with thinking about how love is present and prevalent in what we do, we are able to find ways to make love clearly part of our practice. 

Here are some ways to elevate during this month:

  • Start a faculty meeting by asking staff members to take out their phones and text someone they want to show appreciation for or encourage.  In the classroom, have students do the same…or have them write notes to that person.
  • When engaging with the community, help begin a collaborative club or activity that ties to community needs.  Food pantries begin to get many fewer donations as the beginning of the year progresses, for example.  Or perhaps your local animal shelter needs a food or toy drive. If you have a passion for gardening, start a gardening group with colleagues or students.  At my school, we started a cooking club for students at this time of year which not only built capacity and confidence but also snuck in some academic themes (measuring, combining, vocabulary, etc.).
  • Select and train some student mentors to provide companionship and assistance to students who are not feeling the love.  Have older students read with younger students to build their attitudes about literacy.  Start a book club for students to be able to discover new titles…perhaps helping them develop an interest they didn’t even know they had.
  • Have your students and staff give you input as you redesign your classroom or school.  What do they want to see in the space?  What would make it more engaging and functional?  
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Love is all you need!

You get the idea.  February is the perfect time of year to engage and elevate in the area that is most basic and essential to what we do as educators.  Because as Lennon and McCartney said,  “Love is all you need!”

About Martin Silverman

Martin Silverman is a father, grandfather, husband, and long-time educator in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. He is committed to providing the best educational experience for the students and families at Salinas Elementary school where he is principal. Martin has worked in urban, suburban, and rural districts as a teacher and administrator. His interests are in creating and nurturing school culture, providing enriching experiences for students and families, and developing future teachers and administrators.

As a former bilingual teacher and administrator, Martin is committed to providing ELL students with quality programs to develop their unique skills. He hosts a podcast called The Second Question, which highlights educators and provides them a forum to discuss ideas, and to honor the teachers that have influenced their lives.