My crossover is not an SUV and a minivan. My crossover is that I teach workshops to "in the trenches" teachers and administrators, but I also teach master's and doctoral level classes to teachers wanting to become school leaders and to people wanting to earn their terminal degree.
I love this crossover, as I truly believe my work with schools helps me be a better professor (as I have real-life examples of what is happening in schools in addition to my own time as a teacher, counselor, and principal), but my work as a professor is giving me great resources and real-time experience with people who say they want to move from being teachers to becoming school leaders. It seems to be a great mesh. And yet...
I have high expectations for both types of work, including expectations for myself. If I have a client who is wanting to schedule a workshop in three weeks, I feel the need to respond to them within 24 hours (Dave says it's typically more like 24 minutes, but I'm trying not to focus on his belief that I have a touch of OCD) to find out what they want, how I can help them, and to get materials made well in advance of the workshop.
I also have high expectations for my workshop participants, including the notion that they should be "present" the entire time they are in the room (does anyone remember reading in Beverly Cleary's Ramona the Pest , in which Ramona is told by her teacher to "sit here for the present" and Ramona waits all day for a gift that never arrives?). In fact, I explain the reasons for the "norm" of being present, identifying the fact that each person is not only accountable to themselves for the learning but also to the group with whom they are seated (for the present). Especially when working with school leaders, I sometimes hear them "vent" that they get frustrated when their own teachers are grading papers during a workshop at their school, and my question is: How do you set norms for workshop participation? In other words, what are the expectations of the teachers and how is that shaped by and how does it shape the school culture? I, personally, ring chimes when it is time to "come back" from a group discussion and ask participants to draw their conversations to a close and turn back toward the front of the room. I have been blessed that this strategy works almost every single time (there are outliers, naturally, every once in a while).
For my college courses I teach, I hold students accountable for expectations as well, even though many of them tell me "this is the first class I've ever gotten anything less than a perfect score on every paper I've turned in" or "this is the first time I didn't get all my weekly participation points", which tells me that either they are lying to me (which I honestly don't think is the problem) or other professors are not holding their students accountable for high expectations. This makes me tremendously sad (and then my former engineer and logical husband reminds me what my hourly wage likely is when you count all the hours I spend grading and commenting on each and every single paper and discussion post that is turned in---the figure is not very high, I can assure you). But then some of my students will thank me for teaching them a new skill in writing or for engaging so much in the weekly discussions or for "not just mailing it in" (one of the latest I love), and many write to me after the course is over (likely waiting, in an effort to not look like they are kissing my backside) to tell me that mine was the hardest course but the most meaningful they have had. This is what keeps me going and allows me to try to look past the ones who cry out, "Why do you have to be so tough on spelling and grammar?" Ummmmm....maybe because if you spell the school leader word as "principle", perhaps you shouldn't be a principal (I truly wish I was making that one up or that it was a one-time occurrence).
I have had the blessing the last few weeks in working with school leaders in the Phoenix area on their observations of and conversations with teachers. What we have heard teachers say when I model reflection conferences with them (after they have had a chance to look at what practices we captured in our observations) are statements like: "I can see how I should be expecting my students to take more ownership in group discussions by this time of the year" (1st grade teacher) and "I have high expectations for my own growth, and this is helping me immensely by allowing me to think about how to implement new strategies for my students" (4th grade teacher).
In whatever you do, what are your expectations? Do you back down when the going gets tough or do you hang in there, knowing that high expectations are worth it?
I'm hopeful that it is the latter, for you and me both!