“Each year at the end of the first class of the year I ask the kids a simple question…What do you expect this year??”
I experienced this from my trip to Canada last week. I expected to do lots of different things and taste lots of interesting foods. My expectations were high! But after a week, I learned that even though the scenery was stunning, there wasn’t really a lot of things to do. Many shops were closed for the season so we spent a lot of time driving around and just looking at the scenery. The food was much different than I expected. Everything tasted pretty bland. The mashed potatoes I was served in several places was just a potato mashed up with no seasoning, butter, or milk. Many restaurants were closed for the season. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t a bad trip but different from my expectations.
When talking to a group, whether students or adults, I think asking this question is important. Their expectations for the session, class, or year can have an impact on how they feel about the outcome.
It may help me better structure what I say if I know what the expectations are. Or, I may be able to let everyone know what I plan to do and state up front that I won’t meet their expectations. This gives them a chance to leave (without any hard feelings) or adjust their expectations.
I think of a person’s expectations are vastly different from the teacher’s objectives, this leaves to a lot of discontent on both sides.
If I am not meeting someone’s expectations, then they feel that I have wasted their time.
If they are not meeting my objectives because their expectations are different, then I feel frustrated and might even feel a lack of respect. I want them to understand and achieve my objectives but it isn’t a priority to them.
I think the best way for me to teach is to talk about expectations right from the beginning. I need to share my expectations and then listen to their expectations. If they are vastly different, maybe we can work out a solution in the beginning in order for all of us to adjust our expectations and meet somewhere in the middle. I’m not saying we have to lower the quality or value of the lesson but try to meet each other’s needs.
I might need to add some things to my lesson in order to meet expectations. I also might need to skip some things that aren’t necessary to meet my students expectations. Some things may be required and neither of us may change that. But once all of the expectations are out in the open, it helps the students or adults and myself have an open mind. It makes us all active participants in the lesson.
How do you deal with expectations? Please share.