Just in case you forgot, you are currently setting an example.

Jody Britten
3 min readOct 28, 2020

Every store has a sign asking us to wear masks. Not everyone does. Every school has an expectation that parents/families wear masks at drop-off. Not everyone does. Every public health expert is saying, “wear a mask.” Not everyone does. And through it all we are in fact setting an example.

Almost twenty years ago Elliott Eisner wrote about the hidden curriculum, describing it as those habits, beliefs, skills, and aptitudes that are taught implicitly though rules, policies, structures, practices, etc., in our schools. At the time he was talking about things like compliance and expectations that are rarely taught but always expected.

Today that hidden curriculum has a whole new meaning.

Because today, we are facing a pandemic. And how we handle ourselves during that pandemic is teaching our kids a whole slew of lessons. But it is time to remember that all of our actions in response to COVID-19 are setting an example, whether we mean them to or not.

And in case you forgot, you are currently setting an example.

In today’s news we see surges of positive cases surfacing throughout our communities. We see one report arguing for more strict guidelines, while we see another arguing for fewer. We see data skewed, data corrected, data deleted, and data resurrected. We hear elected officials pontificating about the importance of being in school; at the same time we are seeing emerging discussions that test scores for students that are 100% virtual may actually be higher compared to their in-person peers.

We hear state leaders mandating that schools and districts work with their local health department leadership; at the same time we see schools and districts dismissing the advice and counsel of those trained medical professionals.

The important thing for all of us to realize, is the power of the message we are sending to children.

Because our children are watching. They are seeing us dismiss the counsel of medical professionals. They are seeing us bicker in the most unkind of ways. They are seeing us be swayed by opinion more so than science. They are seeing our loud and privileged wants.

The question we all need to answer is…

Jody Britten

fierce mom, constant learner, writer, speaker, researcher, thinker, designer, gadget queen, advocate for learning that matters & public ed, lead with my actions