Friday, September 16, 2011

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's (or sister's) eye,

but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?

Luke 6: 42a

TGIF my friends! Weeks are flying by like moments for me these days... We're mid-way through September already and I can hardly believe that. However, on the other hand, today I am grateful for a Friday. I need the weekend to catch up! And some time to breathe and reflect would be good, too...

People in the field of education have often said that students will live up to the expectations you set for them. If you treat young adults like maturing adults and expect from them their best, they live up to that. If you treat them like children and expect them to flounder, then that's what they'll do. Or so "they" say.

However, how does one find the line between expecting the best and expecting the impossible? That's the key question of the day - of the month, truth be told.

We're a month into classes. And I find I do honestly enjoy what I do. I've missed it over the years. I enjoy standing in a classroom engaging students in conversations... I enjoy the random questions they ask... and I enjoy the environment of a school. But, that doesn't mean that I do things perfectly in my expectations or in my pedagogy. Oh, to be perfect! That would be fantastic, as far as I'm concerned. As you might already know, I'm constantly frustrated with my own inability to be perfect! Good heavens, I thought I'd grow out of that. :) But that's a different topic for a different day...

Today I am reflecting on expectations -ones I place on myself, ones I place on students, and those I place on all the other people & institutions in my life....

When is it time to say, "My expectations are too high"? And when is it okay to say, "This is what I expect and you can do it!"? I find those to be very difficult questions! I find that it's also related to biases.

Everyone has biases and prejudices - whether we're conscious of them or not. I have come to realize that I admire intelligence and wisdom in other poeple. I'm drawn to certain people for that reason. It's because I wish I were more intelligent, truth be told (I'm very self-conscious about that)... And on an unconscious level, that has an effect on my world view and consequently what underlies my expectations.

Earlier this week I gave out progress reports to my students. I asked the students with grades less than 70 to have them signed by a parent/guardian. One student, with a 68 average, turned his in with a small sentence written in his handwritting. It read, "Sorry I'm not smart." This begs the question am I really asking too much?

I don't currently have any answers. In fact, I just have more questions. One month into school is a good time to evaluate. And that is my expectation for this weekend - to find time for evaluation and reflection.

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N


Kelly_SSJ/A said...

just thought i'd say hello. hope you are well. Was hoping i'd see you this past weekend.....met some of your brothers.....who rock by the way!!!! :) And what a blessed time to be with other young adults asking the same questions and on the same journey. powerful stuff!!!!!!! and to that we can say amen!!!! :)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom,

We teachers need to have an end in mind BEFORE we begin our lessons. Have those expectations that our goals will be met. We need to share those expectations with our students. Then we need to help them acheive to those goals. If we are experienced, then we know if our expectations are reasonable or not----in general. Some children might not be able to reach goals but striving and falling short is better than not having tried at all.

The sad, "Sorry I'm not smart" note needs some conversation. I tell students with bad self-talk that NO ONE is allowed to say that about them...not even they themselves. Perhaps the signing of the report cards was seen as a punishment and it needed more explanation such as, "This is to let parents know that you'll need extra effort in the next half of the quarter."

It's good that you are examining your methods. We really have to keep asking ourselves questions as we teach because we only collect good deeds if we perform our duties with our whole hearts.