I call it the Projection Theory of Educational Experiences.
The theory states:
The qualities genuinely valued in any educational experience are directly related to the degree to which those same qualities are valued and displayed by the teacher or leader of that experience. A quality cannot exist, in any effective manner, in a learning experience if that same quality is not embodied by the leader of that experience. The values, activities, and characteristics of a learning experience are a projection of the values and qualities of the person leading that experience. This is, most often, the classroom teacher.
Here are some examples to help clarify what I am proposing.
1. Risk taking, as a valued characteristic of a classroom experience, can only be valued as much as the teacher values and demonstrates risk taking.
2. A teacher who is not interested in trying new methods and never stretches herself beyond her comfort zone cannot effectively lead a class that pushes students to go outside of their comfort zones.
3. Growth and improvement cannot be developed in a class where the teacher only comments on grades and other fixed mindset items.
The Projection Theory of Educational Experiences is more than "walking your talk." "Walking the talk" builds trust and credibility, but to transform your class into a authenticity machine, you need to examine your core beliefs and hold the up against what students need to learn AND do. This is a frightening prospect for some because it may reveal beliefs you would rather not explore. It may require hard work to adjust and align yourself with what truly matters. You may find that the advice you received earlier in your career, that you have built your professional image upon, was flawed in light of your own expectations.
Expecting characteristics to emerge in your class that you do not truly embrace is setting you and your students up for a rough experience.
What does your class project about your values and beliefs?