In the latest of what may seem a never ending line of “duh aha moments” I’d like to remember that being realistic with time, goals and myself is critical to a successful lesson/classroom/life.
During my short career in teaching I have often found class a struggle. I was prepared, but always wanted more. I wanted more from my students in terms of production, attitude and focus. I wanted more from co-teachers (ie participating on any level). Most of all I wanted more of myself. I’m a very demanding individual, as many in my life would certainly be shocked to know.
Now, what kind of teacher doesn’t set realistic expectations. John, you fool, teaching 101 page 2.
For any teacher that may stumble upon this in the beginning of their career, let me say this. Easier said than done.
Before I figured out how to be realistic I had to know myself, my lesson, my class, my students (yes, the previous two are different) AND perhaps most importantly, I had to practice. I had to practice a lot. I’m still practicing and will always continue.
A class will lack full effectiveness if I expect too much, pack in too many activities/tasks, or set goals too high or too low. There is no one answer for any of these. Indeed the answers change by class, day, school, weather, etc.
I guess what I’d like to tell/remind the me of three years ago/3 years from now is that as a teacher the best thing I can do is to reflect, adjust and experiment. Professional footballers have stinkers from time to time and so will I (and you too reader- hi mom).
The last thing I ever want to do as a teacher, and as a human being, is to stagnate.
Never let feelings of naiveté or embarrassment dissuade you from asking questions and seeking different perspectives.
Demand the most from yourself and recognize when you’ve done that. Even if success wasn’t to be had on the day.