Great Expectations and Blank Pages!

We are coming to the end of the long summer holidays and for many parents, children and people in the education sector, it is a time of new beginnings. This is the time of the blank piece of paper.

Sometimes during my first assembly of the year I would mention blank pieces of paper. I would show the children the series starting with the large piece which represented the forthcoming year, then a smaller one for the term & so on through the week and separate days. I explained that the paper represented opportunities and encouraged the children to fill them with as many positives as possible.

Although I no longer have to lead assemblies, from my slightly removed position, I am still seeing blank pages. There have been tweets and blogs from teachers describing their newly prepared classrooms and requests for help with new schemes of work. Senior managers have been posting about planning in-set days and setting up the various calendars. Another group are parents, many of them sharing their nerves as their little ones finally go to ‘big school’. For some, they see it as the end of one of their most important roles when they will no longer be the sole adult their children interact with each day.

Each of these communities has blank pages and many are writing their aspirations and expectations on them. Hopefully, all the aspirations will be high. We’re dealing with children’s lives for goodness sake so they blooming well should be! However, having been there, I want to offer a word of caution. 

For all the groups mentioned, life in different forms will come into each of their equations. For teachers, it may be classroom disruption or a difficult parent. For senior leaders it may be the Governing Body or the Local authority. Her Majesty’s Government may throw a few curve-balls. Parents may come to this new school year with high hopes only to find their child does not settle either at school or with the new teacher. So, how does this match up with high aspirations?

The answer lies in managed expectations. Don’t worry – it’s not as ‘medical’ as it sounds! Sometimes, aspirations and expectations become mixed. Your aspirations are high, one of those unexpected happenings comes along so you miss out and you are then disappointed. The disappointment and feeling of failure can then have a major impact on the rest of the year.

The management of expectations is about controlling what you assume is going to happen against what you hope will happen. It is about being flexible with events as they happen whilst still trying to push those boundaries with high aspirations.

As supporters of Gillingham Football Club, we are used to ‘hoping for the best but preparing for the worst’! Luckily, the successes that most of you will achieve this year will far outweigh anything the Gills will produce but the phrase serves as a good illustration!

So… what are your aspirations and what may you have to contend with that may slant them slightly differently?

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  • Last year, Monkey exceeded our expectations. I guess we didn’t know what to expect but he progressed faster than I thought he would as he didn’t seem that bothered about stuff like reading and writing. And yet, he told me the other day that he loves school even more than he loved nursery.

    This may raise our aspirations for Missy Woo, but I think they are also raised as she does seem very bright. I have to remind myself that she is going to be one of the youngest in her class because she doesn’t act like it and she seems to be more interested in reading and writing, as well as being quite good at it for her age that I can tell.

    At least what we are dealing with are all known quantities. I know the teaching staff and they know me. Missy Woo knows them and the school too. But you’re right, it’s a voyage of discovery and I now have to get to know Monkey’s new teacher.

      

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by Kate. Do keep intouch with the new year. I’d be really interested to see you view with Missy Woo as compared to Monkey! Let me know!

        

  • Last year, Monkey exceeded our expectations. I guess we didn’t know what to expect but he progressed faster than I thought he would as he didn’t seem that bothered about stuff like reading and writing. And yet, he told me the other day that he loves school even more than he loved nursery.

    This may raise our aspirations for Missy Woo, but I think they are also raised as she does seem very bright. I have to remind myself that she is going to be one of the youngest in her class because she doesn’t act like it and she seems to be more interested in reading and writing, as well as being quite good at it for her age that I can tell.

    At least what we are dealing with are all known quantities. I know the teaching staff and they know me. Missy Woo knows them and the school too. But you’re right, it’s a voyage of discovery and I now have to get to know Monkey’s new teacher.

      

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by Kate. Do keep intouch with the new year. I’d be really interested to see you view with Missy Woo as compared to Monkey! Let me know!

        

  • Susceptibletorelativism

    Thank you for posting this, when I get to the ‘I can’t do this’ stage this year I am going to come back and read this again. I have a feeling it will make me feel better. :0)
    Jenny (@relativism)

      

  • Susceptibletorelativism

    Thank you for posting this, when I get to the ‘I can’t do this’ stage this year I am going to come back and read this again. I have a feeling it will make me feel better. :0)
    Jenny (@relativism)

      

  • I am not sure what to expect in the year ahead. JJ (nearly 7) has been referred by school (with my consent) for a communications disorder/ aspergers assessment so we will see what they say when that finally comes around. Then my little ladies (just 3) are starting nursery at school part-time from Jan 2011. Work will have to change, childcare change and of course all my kids will grown an change. I expect we will fill many blank sheets!

    Mich x

      

    • Anonymous

      I shall be asking for a mid-term report later in the year so keep all those filled sheets at the ready! Thank you so much for visiting!

        

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