I’ve been reading a few books on teaching and a common thread running through all of them is that a good teacher has high expectations for the students. It got me thinking – pretty hard, in fact – about my own expectations. Every year I start each class with a little theme for each grade followed by a short speech about the potential that they all have. I tell them some things that former students have achieved with English and they seem to react positively. Finally, I tell them that I have only 3 rules in my class:
- Be on time – I also promise to finish on time because I know they have important things to do during their 10 minutes breaks between classes.
- Be Kind to one another – I warn them that seeing any kind of bullying will make me go ballistic. It happens once every 5 years or so, and it ain’t pretty.
- Try – I ask them to try in my class. I promise to try my best to make useful, interesting lessons and I expect them to try to improve their English.
OK, so here’s the problem: I guess my expectations take many forms because I expect something different from each student, based on where they are and what they seem capable of doing. How do we ever know if we are expecting enough, too much or just the right amount? I’d love to hear other teachers comments on this topic.
I’m sure it has a lot to do with making my expectations clear: in general, as well as specific terms. I expect your speech next week to be at least 2 minutes long, I would like you to make at least 5 different points in your argument, etc.
But I wonder if other teachers would get more or less effort and results from my students than I’m getting? Point me in any direction you see fit to get a better handle on this topic.