Educational work as a "labor of love"

Boaz Tsabar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The following paper examines the unique, human, and pedagogical nature of the encounter between educators and their students. It discusses the potential for alienation inherent in the educator teaching encounter (a potential embodied in what I term "the first fifteen seconds of anxiety"). The paper goes on to examine the possibility of constituting an alternative relationship based on pedagogy of mutual and non-alienated recognition rooted in an interpersonal and dialogical relationship. This conceptualization is performed through a consideration of Martin Buber's notion of the "dialogical relationship" and the pedagogical implications of the "love relationship" in Erich Fromm's philosophy. The article claims that the special quality of educational work must be understood in the context of its economic irrationality and unconceptualizable foundations. In order to clarify its existential characteristics and paradoxical, elusive, and emotional nature, it locates the unique economic nature of educational work in the "dialogical relationship" and in the four elements of the educational relationship: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) 2016.


  • Dialogical relationship
  • Education
  • Erich Fromm
  • Labor of love
  • Martin Buber


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