Teachers’ Expectations Vs Reality, (And How to Begin Your Own Reality)


Teachers are one of the key contributors to every economic development. When a community fails to transfer knowledge to the growing minds, they prepare themselves for doom.

In every profession, there are expectations required of the professional. It’s like expecting a chef to be hygienic in the kitchen. Teachers are expected to inspire students in all aspects of their lives. They are expected to be role models so that they inspire uninterested students to become engrossed in learning.

It’s quite unfortunate these days that some parents have transferred their huge role of parenting to teachers, the expectation is growing bigger. But then, do teachers have expectations too?

The answer is yes. Teachers expect the society and education stakeholders to accord them with respect and rewards of a future builder. Gone are the days of teachers’ reward is in heaven. 

In this post, I will share with you the expectations of most teachers, what they get in reality, and how they can bridge the reality into their expectations.

The Expectation

From the school administrators, teachers expect support during a crisis. Students discipline, disagreements with parents, or confrontation with another teacher, the school administrators should be fair in dealing with issues like this.

Everyone wants the feel of being listened to, and teachers are no exceptions. With or without the right fact of scenarios, teachers expect the administration to look beyond superiority and judge as appropriate. Everyone wants to be loved.

Teachers expect administrators to provide them with materials to teach effectively. If a teacher finds a resource that they believe will benefit all students, then they expect the administration to find a way to fund it.

They want administrators to provide encouragement and advice. Most teachers appreciate honest, accurate evaluations and open a communication channel, for instance, if salaries won’t be paid as at when due, the administrators should inform the teachers.

Also, they need administrators to be aware of what they’re doing in the classroom, and they expect the administrative personnel to be proud of it. And not judging students’ failure as teacher inability. 

Parents are our closest allies too. We teach their children, and they at least, owe us a thank you for that. 

Teachers want parents to understand that they genuinely have their child’s best interest in mind. They want parents to see them as the educational expert that can provide their child with a quality education.

Teachers want parents to communicate their concerns appropriately and not avoid or skirt around an issue. They want an open, trusting relationship with parents so they can figure out the best approach for teaching the student together.

The Reality

However, in reality, all the teacher gets is disrespect, devaluation, and low social embrace. Only in schools where the standard is set right by the administrators that the teachers get a modicum of these. If the school doesn’t do it, then the teachers will only be found wandering the way out.

Many teachers struggled their ways up and here’s how you can suitably replicate what most are doing too.

Bridging the gap

Identify your career option

What more can you do beyond your expertise in the four walls of the classroom? What other skills do you have? How viable is your major or sub-major? 

These are the questions you should ask yourself when identifying a career option, pick what comes to you easily and effortlessly, then look for ways to solve problems with it.

Once you can identify this, the next phase is for you to put a searchlight on organizations or businesses that offer similar solutions and present yourself to them as valuable.

But don’t jump into this. 


More reason why you shouldn’t jump after identifying your career options, chances are you’d be presented with multiple options. That’s very confusing. 

Your best bet is to look at the market viability of this option, skill, expertise, or product and see if it’s something you should leverage. If it doesn’t pay the bills now, it’s probably not worth it.

However, understand that you can startup an idea to find a dream idea. So, prioritize with care.

Choose and Be Smart

Now that you’ve prioritized. Don’t draw yourself too thin. Your number 2 to 5 on the priority list is also very important, do well to have them as options. Yet, don’t forget the bigger picture.

Now before you start acting on your choice. Be smart enough to develop an action plan to implement your decision. 

Identify specific, time-focused goals and steps to accomplish your plan. Categorize them by short-term and long-term, knowing fully well that short term goals are to be achieved in one year or less and long-term goals are to be achieved in one to five years. 

I also plan shorter goals by writing out my daily achievable and documenting my process. 

Being SMART means to be;

  1. Specific — Identify your goal clearly and specifically.
  1. Measurable — Include clear criteria to determine progress and accomplishment.
  1. Attainable — The goal should have a 50 percent or greater chance of success.
  1. Relevant — The goal is important and relevant to you.
  1. Time-bound — Commit to a specific timeframe.

Now Act.

Now that you’ve identified your career option and what you’ve set to achieve. It’s time to get to work.

I’m not a fan of too much planning. I’m the Nike and Richard Branson type. I swing to action right away. 

If I fail, I learn and move on.

But, be realistic about expectations and timelines. You could possibly write down specific action steps that you’re taking to achieve your goals, it will help yourself stay organized and celebrate small wins.

Again, don’t be too rigid on yourself. If you need to revamp your goals and priorities, feel free to do so.

It’s so sad that teacher’s expectations and realities are at two different poles. The reason for this is that most of our plans as teachers are attached to educational stakeholders, what if we plan it outside them, or we plan it including them but in ways they found irresistible.

Won’t they respect us or pay us what we deserve?

What ways have you tried to ensure you get the respect, income, and impact you deserve?

Let me know in the comment section.

By Sodiq

Sodiq Ajala (@iam_1sodiq) is a former classroom teacher and educational management consultant who now spends his days helping educational stakeholders create edTech solutions. As a freelance writer, he documents his work process to teach organizations how to embrace digital transformation, and his publications in Huffington Post, Tweak Your Business, eLearning Industry, etc, has helped over 20,000 people. Check out his email course, Digitalize it Yourself, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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