It is often said that if you have low or no expectation of others, then you can never be let down. I have discovered that quite the opposite applies. If you set high expectations, you are never disappointed. For it is from expectation that faith comes – faith in our students, faith that they can achieve their best, faith in their ability to rise above challenges, even faith in ourselves to create inspiring learning environments and opportunities.
In a real life context, which is what education is all about, the expectations that we place on our learners will transfer into their lives in the future – in the workplace and in their character. How many times have we read about people in prisons and the court system who say that no-one ever believed in them, everyone EXPECTED them to fail, no-one ever had faith to expect differently of them?
So we, as educators, have the chance to reverse this for many children whom we teach over our careers. We can set the bar high right from the beginning – we EXPECT them to do certain things, to behave to a certain standard, to achieve and be the best that they can be. This in return sets the tone of expectation in our classrooms and demonstrates to our students that only their best is acceptable.
It does not mean that we set them up to fail, nor does it mean that we set unreasonable goals for students. It simply means that we believe in their ability to do their best and that we wish to be a part of that.
As our year starts in the Southern Hemisphere, we have all been negotiating and writing class treaties – I like to call it a list of expectations and I always ask my class to come up with their list of expectations for me as their teacher. It is important that I too, know what they expect from me – kindness, fairness, warmth. The class this year also came up with this statement – we expect you to help us to always do our best.
Now, isn’t that all I ask of them as well?
Set your expectations HIGH and you will never be let down…