During the first few years in the classroom, my teacher expectations were high. Every classroom rule, project, and assessment seemed vital. Over time, however, many of these “essential” teacher expectations became less important as my confidence in my teaching grew.

Turns out, this is a common occurrence for many of us. The longer we spend in the classroom, the more we realize that some of the little things that felt so important early on, just aren’t worth our time and energy now. Here’s what some teachers have just stopped worrying about quite so much:

Dress Code Issues

Dress code. I haven’t sent a single kid to the office this year. Are you comfortable? Great. Let’s learn. —Michelle S.

I don’t care if it’s a hoody, PJs, etc. You are appropriately covered; you’re good. Hannah L.

A hood can be a security blanket. Relationship management first. Teaching content second. —Jeff S.

Reading Logs

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Reading logs! I used to swear by them (mostly so I could keep track), but then I was tired of grading them and not getting some back from kids. Instead, in the mornings, I decided to have kids talk about their night and any reading that they did once all the students had arrived. It created more of a dialogue around reading and turned into book sharing/recommendations. —Coryana R.

I despise reading logs. The kids I’m trying to get to love reading would end up hating it even more if filling out a log and writing about what they read was a part of it. —Colleen S.

Teacher expectations for reading logs was huge in my department, so I followed along until I had school-aged kids of my own. My son reads every single night, but either he’d forget to ask me to sign his book log, or I’d forget to ask, and he’d lose points. I started hating them so much I stopped giving them to my students as well! —Susan C.

Providing Work for Educational Trips/Vacations

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I was a jerk about it. Now, go … enjoy, bring me back a rock. —Stacie H.

I have them buy some postcards and write notes to the class about what they did or saw. —Stacy F.

I took up having them write a travel journal, just a paragraph or two a day. Where did you go? What did you do? Who were you with? What was the best thing about that day? What was the most challenging thing? They could include drawings, tickets, receipts, anything like that. I “graded” that and gave it back to them as a keepsake for the future. —Steven S.

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I used to change my bulletin boards, background paper and all, every month! Now I’m lucky if I do it twice a year. —Dale T.

I pick a neutral background, and that is up ALL YEAR. I don’t even change the border. Find a calendar border that can stay up all year long. —Samantha M.

When I worked in an elementary school where I was forced to change them monthly. I got so burnt out on them. Now I’m in middle school, I don’t have to change them. My boards are covered, I have a color scheme and theme, and it looks nice. —Melissa C.

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Observations. It is what it is. No need to make it look unrealistic —Danielle L.

People need to stop making up extra fancy classes when that’s not what they do. Do you! Do what you always do, and if you’re doing something wrong, it lets admin see where to help you grow as a teacher. —Paola M.

The hours I spent preparing special lessons to impress my supervisor. Ugh, who has time for that! I’m doing what I know is right for my students in my class every day. They can come in and watch me anytime, but I’m not putting on a special show for them anymore. —Maggie M.

All or Nothing Deadlines

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Some kids just need extra time and help. I keep on top of them, but no grade penalties. I tell them just to keep working and keep trying. —Yvonne M.

Grades are supposed to reflect the knowledge a student has attained, not his or her willingness to play “The School Game.” Hard and fast due dates don’t allow students to become confident with content at THEIR pace. —Yolanda O.

I’m done with creating an unmovable deadline and inevitably getting upset when students miss it. Instead, I set up a bunch of smaller deadlines for larger projects. It keeps the students who need help organizing the multiple steps on track, allows me to see where each student is in their work, and lets me know who is falling behind well before that final due date arrives. It’s so much easier to get someone back on track when they’re just one or two steps behind than waiting until the very end. —Joel B.

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The need to assign homework. It doesn’t have to be as frequent as we think. —Tapaysa M.

I’ve stopped doing homework all together. We have supplemental practice and they have choices of how they do that practice. —Megan M.

Homework! I don’t give homework anymore; all it does is cause more stress on the students and families. —Katherine Y.

Perfect Lesson Plans

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Trying to plan the best lessons EVER! No more. —Yvonne M.

Writing the perfect lesson. Then it never made sense and kids hated it. All that wasted time! —Tricia S.

Funny thing is that most lessons that I spent planning forever did not work out well. Yet, many of my “less exciting lessons” came out great. —Maggie E.

(WeAreTeachers Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.)

What teacher expectations did you used to care about but now seem less important? Let us know in the comments.

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