Overcoming My Own Expectations

Recently, I’ve been concerning myself with my new position that is set to start this Fall. While excited for the change and challenges, I am thrown into new territory in terms of content. My most recent teaching experience has had me confident in my role, the usual standards of practice, and what to expect (mostly) on a regular, daily basis.

In addition this year, I will be meeting all new students, which as strange as it sounds, is a little different from previous years. My most current role had me in a small school, in which I knew (or knew of) most of the students. I can’t help but be a little nervous learning about all my new students this year.

I can’t forget that I will also be meeting a lot of new people in terms of school staff. I will be travelling to a number of different schools, meeting new administration, resource teachers, parents, and community members. I’m not one of those people who can easily remember people when I meet them, I need time to let it all sink in. (usually this means a few meetings!)

These points seem to putting more pressure on myself than usual to perform well. I’m making an effort to learn my new role, reading and researching, but the reality is, there is only so much you can learn about something “on paper”. Until I actually dip my toe in the water, I won’t really know the whole experience.

This is somewhat difficult for me and my personality, because I like to feel sure-footed in my role. I’m creating scenarios and “what if” cases to which I don’t know the answers. Yet.  I can’t quite live up to the expectations I’ve set for myself. This is frustrating because I can’t possibly know everything and have answers to my questions until the situation actually happens.

In terms of meeting new people, well, that will be a sure test to me. I definitely want this job. I want to have connections in the schools and be able to share, collaborate, and network with new people. On the other hand, I have to meet new people. Haha.

I need to balance the personal expectations of myself and what can be reasonably expected in the early going. Having a decent knowledge base and finding a few tricks to overcome those initial, awkward introductions is a good start. I’m sure I will learn more with each passing day and also get increasingly comfortable entering new schools and getting to know  people. I can’t expect to have 5 years experience in the job after only 1 day.

Again, I’m always learning. Two years ago, starting my leave of absence, I was realizing all the fears my students may have trying something new. I became much better at guiding students and understanding different points of view. My perspective improved and my teaching improved. This year, starting a new job will also have me feeling what it is like to be a student all over again. The focus might be a little more on the “content” end of things, but the “connection” part is always important to help deliver that content.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Eva,
    There are a couple of things you have mentioned here that I can relate to.
    High personal expectations are challenging. When I was new to teaching, an Assistant Principal in my first school specifically told me to have patience with my learning. He could see that I was trying to function as though I had five years of experience as a first year teacher. I still catch myself doing this sometimes. For this reason I try to prioritize my goals so that I can assess my choices if/when I recognize that I am taking on too much. Over the years I have had a chance to see many new Principals enter my daughters’ school. In their first year they would get the pulse of the community and for the most part would go with the flow. Only a few changes would take place that reflected their philosophy and individuality. A greater number of changes would be noticed in the second year.
    I have been itinerant in my role as a supply teacher. While I am likely more of an ambivert than an introvert, I can relate to your comment about initial awkward conversations. In my contacts for each school I have entered the name of all key staff I need to connect with. P, VPs, Administrative Assistants. I also have this information in a paper file folder for each school that I travel to. I add a few copies of the internal forms that I need for my work as well as additional information – names and roles for Student Success and Resource Ts, librarians, PACE, FNMI Centre staff, school rules, and bell times. I find this means that I do not need to root through another teacher’s desk if a student wants to go to another learning area and I am quicker to send emails by having contact names at my fingertips. Anyhow, the key thing for me is seeing the names helps me to learn them and allows me to devote my energy to each person and place.
    The lag between being hired for your new role and starting your new role has provided you with time to consider some of the new challenges. I am sure you will navigate each one with humour and grace. I wonder about some of your programming ideas as I am sure you have many!


    1. evathompson says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response, Stephanie. One day at a time and a list of names will certainly help! I’m my own worst enemy at this point. Once I settle in, I’m sure I’ll find my way.


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