The best slice ideas have come from my strolls down our elementary hallways. I usually meet a few younger students on my way to lunch. My routine is escorting my class to lunch, grabbing my lunch and walking down a long stretch of hallway. I enjoy greeting the younger students that I meet. Today I approached a young boy, I suspect a second grader. He was wearing a smile and his spirit day t-shirt with pride. I said hello and asked him, “How is your day?” He quickly replied, “Good.” As he passed me, he mumbled, “Not good enough.” I had to keep on walking, so I would have time to eat in my mere twenty minute break. I did reply, “Some days are like that.” I even thought at that second, that is a moment worth slicing.
“Not good enough, ” I thought to myself. I wonder what he meant, I wish I had asked him at that moment. It was an interesting remark. I pondered what he might mean by that. Does it mean he really was having a good day, but not great? Could it mean he wished it was more exciting or he had made a mistake? Maybe he had a higher expectation set for the day or was he comparing himself to a friend or classmate?
Expectations surround us each day. We have expectations or goals for ourselves. We have the ten commandments from the bible, highway rules, manners, classroom rules, and don’t forget rules of thumb. “Hmmmmm, not sure what rules of thumb means, oh well, tuck that away for another day,” thinking out loud. That second grader got me thinking more about expectations and the thought of not being good enough. It triggered my memory of yesterday when students were bringing their science investigations for family night. I had one mother say, “We weren’t sure if this was good enough. “You see, ” the mother commented, “we saw Annie’s on facebook, her mother posted a picture. ” The mother went on to say it was on a bigger display board with fancy stickers and bright pictures! “That is o.k.!” I exclaimed. “She did alot of extra work. Students can always do more if they wish. This mini-investigation was supposed to be a fun learning experience. The expectation was to do it on the file folder, but you can always do more and be creative.”
The past few days has me thinking about expectations with assignments and always asking more of students. Sky’s the limit is what came to mind. We always need scoring guides and monitoring techniques to gauge where we measure up. But as parents and teachers we need to remember it is about growing as an individual, not always comparing to another person. As teachers, it is important to push students to be the best they can be in everything they do.
So the next time you catch yourself or someone else saying I’m not good enough or my day is not good enough. Think about the expecation you have set for yourself and remember “the sky’s the limit.” Keep reaching as much as you can and ask yourself what needs to be done to make it good enough for you!