Expectations vs. Reality


If you've seen (500) Days of Summer, you most likely remember the split screen scene with the brilliant juxtaposition of expectations versus reality. It's the perfect scene because, even without words, the audience can clearly understand and sympathize with Tom's disappointment and utter despair. It makes you think about the times in your life when you've faced reality's cold slap across the face of high expectations.

I wish I could tell you I had the best first day of my teaching career ever. I wish I could say that the next day was a great day, too. I wish I could say that this whole moving experience has been a very positive one.

But I can't.

Not yet, anyway.

I hadn't realized that I placed so many expectations on myself, my students, my school, my apartment, my new life. I hadn't planned on setting expectations because I didn't want to risk not meeting them. But somehow, in the back of my mind, I formulated some sort of understanding of what the day would be like and what my students would be like. I also saw my peers beginning their teaching careers and falling in love with it right away; I assumed that this would obviously be true for me, too. That was always the case in my past, so why would this be any different?

I wasn't prepared. I didn't realize that these hidden expectations were there until it was too late. Instead, the shock of being so utterly wrong and surprised hit me like a ton of bricks.

Don't get me wrong--I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have to be a full-time educator. It's all I've ever wanted since I was a little girl and I will work my hardest to be the best educator I can be. I have loved every teaching experience I've ever had up to this point and I am committed to helping young people. Please know this.

And maybe that's what makes it even harder to swallow. I realize that, for the first time, I honestly and truly have to struggle. I HAVE to in order to grow and become a better teacher and person. I'm not used to asking for help or questioning myself . . . so this is certainly a lesson in humility and grace.

It's also a test of strength and character. There's no backing out. There's no surrendering. Just rising to meet the challenge each and every day.

I've been clinging to the chorus of a song that my mentor and I bonded over:

Show me how to love the unlovable Show me how to reach the unreachable Help me now to do the impossible

(Forgiveness by Matthew West)

And each day it gets a little better. Hopefully one day soon I can say with full confidence what I've always said about teaching: I love being an educator and I am so grateful to be able to make a difference every day and to be touched by so many amazing people.

Pray for me? Thank you so much.