So What Did You Expect? Part I

Week 39

So What Do You Expect? Part I

Mrs. Should Be has been visiting again. Bless that scrawny old biddy’s heart, she’s been at my thoughts with a ferocity born first of lack of sleep (I’m writing this at 2 A.M.) and then of perceived expectations. I say, “perceived,” because I would not swear in the proverbial court of law that these thorns in my side come directly from others or from what I believe others expect of me. The old biddy included.

I’ve had reason to wonder at this because this past week my teaching job has involved a metaphoric banging of the head against yet another concrete wall. In part, I have some responsibility for the aggravation in that I started a new set of adult brush-up classes without the experience to effectively teach math (my certifications are in English/Language Arts, Social Studies and ESL). I’m learning very fast, but my students are paying for my lack.

There are also students whose commitment is questionable at best. They show up and do as little as possible. If there is a rhyme or reason for them being in class, beyond court order or a stipend program for students under 25, I cannot find it. I have looked. I really have.

And there is the “wonderful” American educational system, most specifically the PA Department of Education with their timetables and statistical predictions and ever-present, ever-changing notions of what citizens of this Commonwealth should know. It is one thing to raise the educational bar for those lucky enough to still be in school and young enough to adapt. It is quite another to impose the same standards adults out of the system for some time and simply wanting a living wage job. Or to serve our country in the military. But there is as of this date little or no accommodation for those who do not, or cannot, reach that ever-rising standard. What is to become of them, once the artificial deadline for achieving their test scores has passed?

I have no answers here. Yet I feel the ‘expectation’ that I must teach one and all and have them, one and all, pass with the proverbial flying colors. The expectation hovers in that I cannot succeed if they don’t, and their failure is my fault. That I could be doing more.

Mrs. Should Be has made it clear that latter expectation applies at home, as well. Why shouldn’t I be able to turn off work when I pull into the garage at home? Why shouldn’t the house be spotless and picked up? Why shouldn’t I be able to write and knit and cook and exercise, etc.? Why shouldn’t I be able to tick off items on my “to-do” list on a weekly-daily-hourly basis, despite the fact that the items multiply like rabbits?

Why shouldn’t…

Why shouldn’t…

Why shouldn’t…

Maybe the old biddy needs to change her last name. Or at least add the n’t as a degree or professional designation. Grand High Nagger or something similar. Lord knows she believes she’s earned it.

So what have I earned with all these expectations, besides a set of luggage under my eyes, high blood pressure and the overall feeling that something definitely is missing?

Well, if the aim was to please everyone – which is commonly known as the pathway to frustration and insanity – what did I expect?

Hmmm. What did I expect?


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