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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(Much Too) Great Expectations

Comm Studies Award winner!
The fact that it's been almost a month since my last post can only mean one thing: a semester has ended. The past month has flown by in a flurry of presentations and papers and grading and excuses and more grading.  Last week, my eyes watered listening to Pomp and Circumstance. Yesterday, I uploaded the last of the final grades.   Today, I give myself a reflection pause.

It was an interesting semester, one that started really strong. My students were active and engaged.  They read before class and tested well.  By midterm, either they were fading, or I was.  Regardless, Spring Semester 2012 fizzled out, puttered to a stop, limped into home.

I adored one of my classes.  It's been a long time since I had one that interactive and exciting.  I walked out of each class period on a teaching high.  Imagine my surprise when over a quarter of the class failed (largely because they stopped attending or failed to turn in substantive assignments).  How could it be? That class felt so good.

It reminded me that I still have a long way to go to win the expectation game.
Recently, a friend said she lives by the mantra "Everything will be okay; it just might not be what I expected."

That's a statement both I and my students who failed may need to embrace.

I am easily frustrated.  Yes, in general, but specifically, when faced with classes that don't turn out well.  The thing I'm processing right now is that I am the one who defines what a "good" class is simply by the expectations I have.  For example, I already indicated that I like them "interactive" and when I struggle to get students to talk, I don't feel as good about the class even if the students' grades are fine and my evaluations are strong.  So, obviously, managing my expectations is the key in either direction.  More importantly, managing my reaction when my expectations aren't met makes all the difference.

I'm going to spend a little time with some of the lessons on this topic in regards to life and writing.  Next up, I'll start with the obvious ... the beginning. 

Do you handle unmet expectations well?  Do you have particular downfalls? 

1 comment:

  1. As a high school teacher, every day is a challenge for motivating reluctant learners. I try to keep my expectations of them high and hope they'll try for them. Hope you get some writing done during your break.