Expectations affect every aspect of our lives. There are plenty of quotes floating around the internet about lowering expectations and ones life becomes easier.
I’m not quite sure how to respond to those quotes floating in the ether. My gut response is to say that it’s a foolish perspective. No one gets very far if they expect little of themselves or others.
I’ve spent quite a while wondering about expectations recently. What good are they? Perhaps more importantly, how do our expectations affect our feelings and responses to ourselves and others in life.
Recently I adopted a dog. He’s a smart loving animal that learns quickly. I have read up on the latest dog training techniques. I have had a dog training friend of mine give me some tips. I have greatly enjoyed bonding with the young pup and teaching him. However, recently I became frustrated. That frustration in turn caused more problems with his behaviour and made me ever more annoyed.The pup was not performing as well as I had seen him do in weeks previous. I hadn’t changed anything I have been doing. So what gives?
I did change though. My voice tone, body language and patience all changed. It took some time for me to realise that my expectations for progress and behaviour did not correspond with realistic expectations for training.
This struck me quite profoundly. It, as many things do upon reflection, seems so simple. Why did I not properly align my expectations to what is possible for him to achieve rather than what I wanted? I didn’t properly understand him or his needs. I didn’t have a schedule of demands matched to a realistic training schedule. Since this light bulb has gone off in my head I have been more relaxed, forgiving, and calm throughout training. In turn he has been more responsive to training and for longer periods of time.
i find myself most frustrated in the classroom when students don’t perform (to my expectations). “I don’t demand much, why aren’t they improving (as I expected)? I never asked myself the end to that question.
I learned a lot following an intensive summer camp with highly dedicated students . Not specifically about that group of students, but more generally about Korean students and the roadblocks they hit in their learning. Perhaps most importantly, I have a much better idea of what their honest expectations are.
If we expect nothing we are likely to get little in return. If we expect too much, we are quite likely to get as much as if we expected nothing. Properly aligned expectations save a lot of stress. More importantly they help us better teach our students, and in turn, they will learn more and be happier whilst doing it.