The Importance of Lowering Your Expectations

So it’s that time of year here in the USA where school is wrapping up, and everyone’s busier than worker ants on steroids…

It seems there’s a party, a graduation, a field trip… you name it. It’s all happening this week.

Kids classes are turbulent both in numbers and emotion and the lure of summer vacation is stealing students’ attention like thieves in the night.

Lack of sleep seems to be the culprit.

I asked my junior class yesterday, “What time did you guys wake up this morning?” 

Answers of “5am” and “6am” seemed to be the yawn norm.


No wonder they were lethargic and distracted by 6pm, after a full day of school and activities.

It’s a physiological fact that lack of sleep, puts you in an un-resourceful (and sometimes resentful) state. And kids don’t have the luxury of coffee to combat it like we do.

In other words, when we FEEL sluggish performance suffers. Especially cognitive processing.

So my advice to you for the next couple of weeks (or any time with a transition from one schedule to another) is to LOWER your standards as a teacher.

Yep. I said it.

Lower your expectations of your students.

But… wait!

expectationsAren’t karate-ka supposed to give 100% effort every time? Isn’t that what separates karate-ka from non karate-ka? And as a teacher of karate, shouldn’t I demand it of my students… every time?

As romantic as that might sound, it’s an idealized view of reality. The truth is if there is no gas in the car it doesn’t matter how much you WANT it to go up the hill, it’s not going to happen.

You’ll drive yourself nuts trying to get your students to perform at their best this week, and probably next week too.

So lower your expectations.

Expect less.

Avoid teaching anything that is complicated and requires a lot of mental effort. (Teaching a new kata, for example would be a good thing to skip this week.)

And instead focus on revision and things they already know. Focus on drills and exercises that are more fun and physically demanding. Make them sweat. Make them work hard and don’t be overly concerned with perfect form.

You’ll be happier.

Your students will be happier too.

Then once the dust settles and order is restored, you can get back to kicking their @#$%!



2 thoughts on “The Importance of Lowering Your Expectations”

  1. You are so right Jason, and it has begun in my case already, we are preparing for our National tornament and damn they just aint focusing, I even give them Saturday classes, so with what you say I will chill a bit. Thanks Jason and have a great day!!


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