As a literacy coach and intervention team facilitator, I am tasked with communicating expectations of my administration and the district to my colleagues. It’s a tricky position (correction: these are tricky positions. Plural. Sometimes I feel like Bartholomew Cubbins, wearing 500 hats). At present, my fellow educators are, in the wake of COVID, undergoing state-mandated Science of Reading training while adjusting to new curriculum and new leadership. It all comes with new expectations.

Truth be told, however, many of these expectations aren’t new: Problem-solving as a professional community, finding what we need as educators to give the students what they need. Bridging gaps. Collaborative planning. Collective responsibility. None of these are new; they just feel new if they’ve not been done effectively before…the bottom line being the determination of this is what the kids really need; how do we make it happen?

It’s formidable challenge, in a time where there are many needs, and when educational philosophies, beliefs, and mindsets clash. I recently wrote about endurance (from a spiritual point of view). This new school year follows one of extreme exhaustion. We will not endure without leaning on one another. We will not build our strength in isolation. We will not succeed without stamina. Or vision. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Grappling with expectations is, well, expected. Everything, everything, everything rests on one of two beliefs: it can be done or it can’t.

I believe it can.

Yesterday my granddaughter visited. The hummingbird feeder rings I ordered for us had just arrived. Perfect timing. We took them out of the package, washed them, made a tiny batch of sugar water, and filled them. Off to the yard we trotted to stand with our arms resting on the fence near one of my two feeders where a handful of hummingbirds compete for their nectar throughout the day.

You can see for yourself, in the photo, my granddaughter thinking I don’t know about this…yet there’s a layer of hope and fear in her expression: Will the hummingbirds actually come drink from my ring? Will I be scared?

After a while: How long is this going to take?

The secret, my love, is patience and persistence. If it doesn’t work the first time, we will try again, and again. Hummingbirds have come to drink from the rings of other people in other places; they will eventually do so with us. Keep trying. Believe. I will stand with you until it does.

Oh, right.

I started off talking about teaching, didn’t I.

Expression of uncertain expectation. After she left, I went out again when the hummers were more active. A couple of them hovered nearby, considering me and my outstretched, ringed hand (hummingbirds are highly intelligent and curious). If they come to me…they will come to my granddaughter. I will see if can make it happen for her.


with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge

10 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. I need a hummingbird ring. If that is not a lesson in patience and waiting, nothing is. “If you build it, they will come.” Believe! And as for the teaching, good luck with that. Sometimes people are harder to attract than hummers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fran, your post captures exactly what I feel – – this sense of overwhelming expectation to get the job done, pronto! and ask twenty times a day where I am on my checklist of moving through the work hours with no time to breathe, …….and then coming home to what I love most. The enjoyment of each moment with those I love. I was just talking to my brother about the demands of teaching over the weekend when we actually had time to talk – – he’s a teacher-turned-realtor, and he was deciding whether to let his teaching credentials expire. I tried to encourage him to leave a door open…..to which he replied…..”that answer would be NO!” The struggle is real, and the demands are suffocating. But I also can’t help wondering if perhaps the way teachers get the most out of every moment that matters is a bit more enjoyable as well, since we know the rapids we are headed back into the next day. I love your spirit of love for nature and that smile……that smile on her face is priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not heard of the hummingbird rings and will look for them. How fun to hold and lure the birds to you! You said it best, just a new program but still the basics of reading are at the core…and all teaching requires patience and persistence. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had some similar thoughts last week. We had a presentation last week that left me feeling a little overwhelmed. As I digested it over the next few days, I realized that it was really all about using good teaching strategies. Have a great year.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t think we have hummingbirds here but there are tiny sunbirds. They do not come to eat what we put out for other birds. Tree pies, Bulbuls and babblers come. I wish your granddaughter’s dream comes true. Thank you for an interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “I believe it can.”

    Oh, Fran.

    We HAVE to believe it can. What other choice do we have? Put our faith in what we know is right and true, or take a cynical path and assume otherwise? No way. Even if things get tough or tricky, it’s that faith we have in ourselves and one another that pulls us through. Because it has to.

    “Keep trying. Believe. I will stand with you until it does.”

    I mean. Yeah, you’re talking about that (wow! is she getting BIG!) granddaughter of yours, but really. You’re talking about everything here. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • She really is getting big and just this week the decision was made to place her in second grade instead of first – oh, time is rolling so, so, fast. Experiences and moments have infinite value… thank you for your always spot-on reflections, Lainie.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your line “The secret, my love, is patience and persistence. If it doesn’t work the first time, we will try again, and again” is one I will carry with me this year. We’re pushed to find quick fixes, but we know that patience and persistence–and love–are what move our kids (and us!) forward. Thanks for another beautiful and timely post! I always love reading your writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have two takeaways today: “it can be done or it can’t” and “I will stand with you until it does.” Wow! You wrote about teaching in several ramifications. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s