Growth: learning to expect more
by Judianne Jayme
It’s easy to “baby” any child, especially your own. I, myself, am not a parent, however, I find myself “babying” those related to me, or who I have seen grow up in front of my eyes. My first year of teaching began in September 2012, and when I think about my expectations of my students then as a new teacher, I cringe a little. It was a learning curve, even for me, to come to realize that if I wanted better results, I had to learn to ask for them.
Your child is capable of so much, as long as you set goals together and learn to hold them accountable for it. I learned this with my second batch of students. I demanded students who were open to communicating. I was surprised that openly asking for this led to this exact result. I wasn’t “hinting” for it. I told them specifically that I expected more. They gave me more. Could it really be that simple?
Since my second year of teaching, I have learned to be clear throughout the year about my goals for my students. With my current students I ask for responsibility, I ask for time management, and for self-regulation. They are in charge of getting their assignments done, for asking for help when something is unclear, for reporting to me when there is an issue that needs an adult’s help to solve. They have not disappointed me. Ask any of the students what my “end goal” for them is before they leave for seventh grade, and they can tell you.
It truly is that simple – as long as you are consistent, clear, and concise.
Parent tip: encouragement
Take small, doable steps at first. I do not begin a new academic year by telling students, “Here is your homework. Please have all five assignments ready for tomorrow morning.”
Begin with setting a small, reasonable and age-appropriate expectation. This applies to any area you wish – household chores, schoolwork, sports and extracurricular activities, etc.
As they begin showing you that they are meeting these goals, begin to ask a little more of them. Along the way, don’t forget to be gentle with them. Self-improvement is a lot of work, and there will most likely be some setbacks. Praise them when they are successful and problem-solve with them when they are not.
This winter break is the best time to set out goals – you can even call them New Year’s Resolutions. Best of luck, families!
Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade and a division-wide mentor in the Winnipeg School Division.