In addition to seasonal work, I’ve spent my summer months researching and studying my content areas to greater depths than I’d ever have to go with my students, just to be sure. Yet, when I’ve entered class in the fall or spring semester and said, “Hey! I’m not an expert in this material either, so we’re going to learn a lot together,” my feelings of insufficient expertise immediately turn into an opportunity to model curiosity, engagement, and effective learning.
Similarly, modeling being calm and patient is much more instructive to my own kids than my yelling at them to calm down and chill out (this happened just yesterday 🤦♂️).
A “do as I say, not as I do” approach is not the most effective instruction method, although it is much easier to talk about what a fulfilling life looks like than it is to experience and model a fulfilling life. But teachers could consistently model a fulfilling life, being in the zone, living in a state of flow.
Modeling particular behaviors, attitudes, responsibility, and integrity is very instructive, and it is more impactful than merely talking about those things (though talking about them is important too). The power of modeling is quite obvious in babies and toddlers who mimic expressions and actions, and this mirroring seems to effect humans throughout our lifespan, though to a lesser degree as we age.
I want all teachers able to connect with flow and to live in the zone at school - I want it for the teachers themselves, and I want it for them as a model for students. It needn't be a matter of luck that we get to live in the zone, to experience fulfillment, in our professional lives. It could be a matter of course, and it could be baked into our education system that students get access to it just as they’d get access to science and history.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️
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