Expectations vs Reality VS Expectations into Reality

This semester I’m teaching an “embedded field” course in which my students work with elementary school students for half of the class in a “writing workshop,” and I teach the second half of the class. With the recent snow storms, we’ve had to re-write the syllabus and schedules several times. Ironically, the first blog post we asked students to write was to reflect upon what they thought their first experience working with the kids would be like, and then how it actually turned out. So, I’ve decided to write along with my students today because, well, I thought we would be in our third week of working with the kids, but here we are reflecting on the first day.

What happens when you expect to meet with your students but don’t see them for almost a month? Frankly, the greatest fear I had was that students would be confused about what to do and that I would not remember anyone’s names. Mostly, I was incredibly eager to begin. The reality was, there was a little confusion here and there, but overall, the excitement was palpable in the room – we were here to write with our kids – and nothing was going to stop us!

As I observed students, I reflected back on my early teaching experiences – wanting to have the students see me as exciting and someone who brought new ideas and experiences into their world. I realized what’s important to reflect upon was not just how expectations differ from reality, but how expectations drive can drive reality. The energy we put out into the universe multiplies when we work with kids – and that’s one reason it can feel great to teach. Yet, when the spiral goes the other way – we begin to expect the worst, it can feel draining and deny our spirit the growth and nourishment it needs. We need to reflect on our expectations not just to think about what we might change, but also to notice where we are.

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