Saturday, March 31, 2012

Expectations vs. Mandates

I have noticed lately that I have a habit of taking a choice or an expectation and turning it into a mandate.

My school day is supposed to start at 7:15am. That is when my principal expects me in the building, getting to work. I like to get there at 7 instead, because my first responsibility is at 7:30 and I can get more done in 30 minutes than 15. While this was a choice at the beginning of the year, over time it has become a mandate in my own mind. If I'm not at school at 7, I feel "late."

I have chosen to make putting new books in the library a priority. I can't move books into the library fast enough for my students. My principal has not told me I have to do this. She has not given me a quota of new books to process. It has been my choice, but in my head it has become a requirement. If I am not working on some aspect of new book processing (it is 8 step process for each book) each week, it feels like I have failed in some way.

I haven't quite figured out yet how to adjust my expectations to something reasonable - it is a problem I have in other areas of my life. I start a creative gift and kill myself to get it done in time. I take on a major cleaning overhaul in an effort to feel like I have control over something in my life, but I get bored 2/3 of the way through because I took on something too huge. I guess there are worse faults to have, but it frustrates me nonetheless. I hope, as I get older and wiser, I will get a better grasp on my expectations of myself.

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