Improving my Teaching Practice

We need to ask ourselves: are my expectations realistic?

We need to ask ourselves, are my expectations realistic


I’ve started reading, “it’s OK NOT to share” by Heather Shumaker and I have really enjoyed it so far. The book has made me think a lot about my teaching practice and I’ve only read the first little bit. I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I highly recommend it!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote….

“It’s our expectations that are off. We’re trying to make children ready for the next stage of life before natural development allows them to be ready” Heather Shumaker (11)

There are so many ways we can think about how our expectations are off or we’re hurrying a child to the next stage of life before her body is ready. We could be doing this with: academics, motor development, learning to use the toilet, behavior in general, coping with emotions…and so on. Truly the list goes on and on and on.

Out of the MANY aspects of development this quote made me think about, I’ve really focused on how often and for how long we ask children to sit. I have a class of children who are one turning two. A little piece of our daily schedule is: we come in from outside, everyone gets a diaper change and then it’s time for lunch. The children must sit down at lunch (this is a limit, you sit when you’re eating) after they are done eating, they get cleaned up and go right to their nap mat, where we expect them to sit and look at books. This is such a huge ask! Sitting through lunch can be hard enough and then we expect them to sit on their mat and look at books? I feel like a crazy person asking one years to sit still for anywhere from 30-60 minutes! This expectation is so off. Some of the children in our class will sit and look at books until they fall asleep and others will get up to go play. We do bring them back to their mats because we want them to get used to the idea that rest time is right after lunch. We mostly likely will not change our schedule. What we need to do is rethink our expectation. Even noticing that my expectations are off about the children being able to sit on their mat and suppress their urge to play, is going to change (for the better) how I respond to the children who do get up to play.

How long we ask children to sit for is something that we might not even think about but it’s a huge job for the child. Is it a job that they can handle and be successful at? Is it a job that their body is truly ready for? In moments that you ask yourself “why is this child not doing what I’m asking?” , you should consider rethinking your expectation; the child might not be ready for it.



Shumaker, Heather. It’s OK Not to Share…and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids. New York: Penguin Group, 2012. Print.


8 thoughts on “We need to ask ourselves: are my expectations realistic?

  1. You are clearly an extremely dedicated and thoughtful teacher! I love reading the questions that you ask and the honesty with which you communicate your challenges. It’s so important to really embrace those challenges, and yours are questions that every toddler teacher wrestles with! I look forward to continuing to read your blog!
    …and I know this is a little bit of a shameless plug, but I just have to say…If you are ever find yourself wanting a Masters Degree and feel an urge to move to Colorado, check out the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program! We adore thinkers like you! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, what a great compliment! I’ve been thinking about going back to school but it doesn’t feel like the right time just yet. Actually in my collage courses we studied the Boulder school a little bit and at the center I currently work at. One of the teachers from our center just started the masters program this year. It would be a pretty great experience! Thank you again!


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