It’s one of those things you think you’ll grow out of. But you don’t. Trying to please others.
Most of my disappointing relationships, poor choices and even bad teaching experiences have been borne out of my trying to meet the expectations of others. It is one of those things that you don’t even realize you are doing until its done. You say something you really don’t mean because it fits into the conversation, or you want so bad for a relationship to work that you try to be everything you think the other person could ever want or need. Or you try to conduct your class the way you anticipate that your administrator wants, even when it feels wrong down to your bones. Pleasing others. Do our efforts ever accomplish their desired outcome? In my experiences, it has just made me miserable and caused me to fall flat on my face.
I have been thinking a lot about how this relates to the classroom. We fear trying something new because we know the other grade level teachers won’t be on board. We make decisions about how to conduct our classrooms based on what the next grade level will expect. We ask students to do things, sometimes beyond their developmental ability, because we look at expectations of middle school, high school or colleges to guide us. And what is the outcome? There will always be those students who do well at school, because they fit the mold. I wonder how many of them become teachers because school is what they are good at and expect the same from their students? However, I believe most students become disillusioned with the institution of learning and define themselves by their failure to meet our expectations, which are not really our expectations to begin with. Are we making decisions based on what is best for the students or what is best for the teachers above us?
I almost always have more questions than answers, but here are a few things that I think would help.
- Build confidence in teachers that they are the professionals in their classroom.
- Develop a culture of appreciation for every level of education at your school.
- Align standards, but encourage teachers to be creative in their instruction.
- We focus a lot on telling students that being different is okay, but show them by giving them choices in learning and assessment.
- Make time to allow for students and teachers to reflect. In my opinion, the process of reflecting and having conversations about our reflections will help all of us learn exponentially more about teaching, learning, and ourselves.
We talk a lot about change, but real change never comes until we individually take the journey ourselves to know who we are, be who we are, and understand where we want to go.
What do you think?