“Lead By Example”: we’ve all heard the expression before, but this easy-to-understand on the surface philosophy can prove challenging in practice. Leading by example boils down to modeling for students the behavior that you’d want them to emulate, so in the same way that we scrutinize their actions, so too will they think critically of the role model(s) in their classroom; hence, it is important to be detailed in your self-reflection on this subject.
For this week’s blog, we will be exploring modeling compassion specifically, in honor of Peace Pals, our featured content creator (more information below)! Read on for three tips on demonstrating compassionate leadership in a way that effectively inspires students. Furthermore, once you’ve mastered these techniques, think about how you might apply them to other traits you model, such as responsibility and honesty.
#1: Treat Everyone the Way You Want Students to Treat One Another
Leading by example most often falls short when leaders practice double-standards of behavior: modeling the correct course of action in a specific situation but then acting differently in another. Thus, it is important for us as teachers to be critical of how we show compassion to everyone in our schools, including students in our classes, students outside of our classes, other teachers, administrators, other staff, and more (the list goes on). Though you’d likely speak to a coworker differently than a student, make sure that you never act in an unkind manner in such interactions.
#2: Express Genuine Emotion
In the same way that adults can tell when words and actions aren’t heartfelt, so too can youth, even if they don’t say anything about it. Hence, when you are being your compassionate self, don’t be afraid to let your honest feelings show. An easy way that I, personally, do this is by telling students how I feel when helping them (ex. “I see that you’re upset, and that makes me feel sad too”); not only does this model empathy, but it also verbalizes emotions for children in situation where they still might be struggling to understand how everyone is feeling.
#3: Ask Lots of Questions
Lastly, expressing curiosity and interest in others when expressing compassion is a great skill to model for students. If a child is upset, taking the time to ask them why and/or what you as their teacher can do to help them feel better sends the message that you really care to all students and demonstrates for them how they can be more caring for one another.
Looking for more activities that promote kindness and peace? Check out featured Kikori content creator, Peace Pals International!
Peace Pals is an international program designed to encourage youth ages 5-16 to become peacemakers dedicated to living in the spirit of the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth.” Peace Pals fosters understanding and respect for the diversity and oneness of the human family and the natural world through its various and creative activities. By nurturing inner peace and global awareness in the leaders of tomorrow, Peace Pals will help create a future in which peace and harmony become a way of life. Learn more at https://peacepalsinternational.org/ .