Saturday, August 10, 2013

If at first you don’t succeed, lower your expectations

When faced with a seemingly impossible situation my father frequently says, “If at first you don’t succeed, lower your expectations.”

Yesterday I was with the two other Fulbright Scholars here and we were discussing the challenges associated with trying to get our staff ID cards.  Typically I wouldn’t be particularly phased by this, but the ID card is necessary for me to be able to enter my classroom, access the technology in the classroom, use the library, and for other various purposes.  As one of my colleagues was lamenting the efficiency he is accustomed to back in the U.S., the other Fulbrighter who has been here since January said, “I hate to admit this, but here I’ve learned sometimes I have to lower my expectations.” I believe I may have to lower mine as well.  Though I must say by doing so I realize how fortunate I am back in the U.S.
When I went to Johns Hopkins for undergrad there was no technology in the classroom.  No powerpoints.  No skype for hosting guest speakers from another location.  If a professor wanted to show a video he wheeled in the television with a VCR and then we all strained to get a glimpse.  I never gave it much thought at the time, but I now realize all my professors taught by standing at the front of the room and talking, while occasionally writing some notes on the board.

When I returned for graduate school I felt out of place because everyone had thumbdrives and presentations were made with powerpoints. I now realize that I’ve never taught without these luxuries.  Now that I am relegated to teaching with nothing but a piece of chalk I realize how difficult it is!
I have no idea whether I will eventually get an ID or if the classroom where I teach will have ever have technological capabilities.  In the meantime I will just have to do my best.  I don’t plan to lower my expectations for my students or myself, but I am definitely trying to find creative ways to keep my standards as consistent as possible.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for the day that you get your ID card. I will need a picture!