How many times have we said that to a student? I know I’ve said it several times. What I hoped to share with the student was that my expectations for him/her were much higher than whatever they actually did. Sometimes this revolved around school work, more often, it revolved around behavior. I always thought this was a great alternative to chastisement or reacting in anger. Now I’m wondering if it’s ever necessary to tell a student that I’m disappointed with his/her actions.
As I think of my own life, if I let you down, I realize that and feel bad. I don’t need your reinforcing it by telling me you’re disappointed. I already know that. Your communicating your disappointment only serves to further depress me about my lack of measuring up. Might this be the same with our students?
I would venture to say that most students are aware of disappointing us. They don’t need us to emphasize the gap they’ve created between us by falling short of our expectations. What they really need is reassurance that the gap isn’t permanent–that we will still love and teach them even when they fall short. They also need help figuring out how to correct the problem–how to close the gap between us and how to live up to our expectations in the future.
This week, let’s not look back on the disappointment; let us look forward to forgiveness, growth, and improvement.