The law of modeling

We had a great discussion today of why modeling is so essential in teaching.  It’s a basic,
fundamental law – somewhat like gravity.  Teachers, more so than many professions, must model what they want.  If you want students to be problem solvers, then be a problem solver.  If you want a caring community, then be caring.  What we want from our students, we have to be ourselves.  It’s a fundamental concept, and one of the great challenges of working with children.  It’s also one of the reasons we started a school where students are valued, where they do work on real problems, and where teachers build relationships with students based on real stuff.  It’s a place where the things you do and they way you are really matter.

Several graduate courses I took to become a teacher helped me to begin to appreciate the law of modeling.  One of those courses focused on alternative assessments.  It was a lecture-style course with quizzes and exams.  Funny, right?  Another course was on team teaching.  It was a lecture style course with a different teacher each week.  There where a few more but you get the idea.  The hypocrisy of these classes drove me crazy.  My guess is that many students in high school feel the same.

And the law of modeling works in the negative sense, too.

I was shocked today when I read this article. I’m a bit late to the debate but it deeply saddened me as I read it. The school data frenzy has pushed districts across this country to hold data above all else.  And yet the data is crystal clear about what more guns provide.  There is no debate if you look at the data.  So on a day where fifteen caring adults thought deeply about what it means to model for our children what we want to see them doing, it’s alarming that teachers in 28 states this September will be bringing guns to school.  Teachers must be better than this – the law of modeling requires it.