Teacher Expectations – A Disconnect ?
To me, disconnect as a noun is a new term. I know I don’t get out much, but I had to go to my online dictionary to be sure of the meaning. “An unbridgeable disparity” is what I found. The word may be new, but the idea is not. In teaching, what we say and what we do are sometimes less connected than they could be. Here’s an example.
At some point during my last three years in teaching, I found myself sitting in a hockey arena; it was a Saturday morning and I had come to watch one of my students play. Throughout my career, I had heard of teachers who took some of their personal time to accept offers by students to attend events outside of school. Knowing that retirement loomed, I had decided to take up just such an offer. Even now, the details are a bit sketchy but here’s the essence of what happened.
I guess I had arrived a bit early to see my student play because two younger teams (what I took to be six- or seven-year-olds) were just finishing their game.
I recall listening to the two hockey moms who were sitting in front of me, discussing their sons as the game wound down. Mom #1 asked Mom #2 what her son wanted for Christmas. Mom Two replied that her Jason wanted some plastic dinosaurs, in particular a tyrannosaurus rex and a triceratops. Mom One said something about how popular dinosaurs seemed to be and added that her Dustin wanted some too – a pterodactyl and a brontosaurus being tops on his list.
Their conversation moved on to what was happening at their sons’ elementary school – things like, “How is Jason’s year going in that split class?” and “Does your Dustin ever seem to have homework?” Then it got kind of interesting.
Mom One asked, “So what do you think of the new teacher, Mrs. S.?” The response was positive enough, “Oh, she seems fine. I hear she’s just new in town and she’s got quite high expectations, but Dusty hasn’t complained.”
The part I found intriguing was the ‘Mrs. S’ part. Even if her name was Sosnowski or Schroderus or Schebelbein, if the sons could ask for a mouthful of dinosaurs by name, then why would the teacher ask them to call her ‘Mrs. S.?’
For me, that’s a disconnect.