Leading By Example, Filling In The Tabula Rasa

Danielle Emspak, a head teacher at Monteclare Children’s School, has seen the best and the worst during her six years as a preschool teacher and has learned about leading by example. Many teachers like Danielle experience day to day problems such as bullying, name calling, and more. In the article she wrote for the Huffington Post, she recalls what she thought was going to be more of a big deal than it ended up being. She witnessed two boys running into each other, causing one boy to fall and the other boy to be standing upright looking over him. She suspected that the boy would continue playing and completely disregard this young boy, but to her surprise he helped the other boy up and asked him if he were okay. The young boy then said, “We all fall sometimes, next time I might need your help.”


In many situations just like Danielle’s, we expect the worst out of people. But just as she realized, we aren’t born with hate or anger towards anyone, we learn those things over time. As educators, school staff, parents, and community members, we all have a duty to fill in a child’s tabula rasa (blank slate) with as many good qualities and traits as we can and to practice leading by example. The minds of children are like sponges. When they see someone calling another person a name, they do the same. When they hear their parents talking down about a certain family or person, many times they are likely to develop the same hatred.

 Knowing this, we have a responsibility to correct ourselves for the sake of children everywhere. Leading by example is the best way to make sure that today’s children have a clear and respectful opinion of each person and idea. By making sure harsh words or ideas stay out of your home, classroom, and community, you are leading children to be more kind and understanding.
Making sure that all of your staff, including your substitute teachers, know just how important it is to lead by example is crucial.