Wednesday, February 5, 2014

High Expectations in the Classroom

Hello, and welcome back to me!

I took a blog-break in the month of January, partly to give myself a chance to really get back into the school year and partly to reflect and re-evaluate the purpose of this blog. No conclusions really, and no big ambitions blogwise for the year - suffice it to say that here I am, posting again!

Before the school year begins we always have a series of professional growth meetings as a staff, and one of the main things that my principal mentioned this year was High Expectations. This post is based on some of the things he said. (Also some of the things I thought - you know I'm never short of an opinion!)

The theory of the matter is that having high expectations seriously influences student performance, not least because they mean that my behaviour changes slightly...

Every year is a fresh start and a chance to reset our expectations of the students (yay! one of my favourite parts of being a teacher). Homework completion wasn't really up to scratch last year? Behaviour a bit dodgy? Start over. These are new students, or students at a new grade level. And the students probably want a new start just as much as I do.

So, how do I set high expectations? Here's the set of tips I took away from the session:

  • Be specific - and use clear language
  • Make them visible - display them in your classroom and refer to them frequently
  • Use teaching techniques which reinforce your expectations (like no opt out, right is right, stretch it and format matters - all from Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov, and subject for another post I think!)
Being a good employee (hahaha!) I went away and thought about my expectations. Being a good English teacher, I made sure my thoughts alliterated. I printed them out on plain white paper, discussed them with all my classes and have just (two weeks later) stuck them up in my classroom.

What are they? 


yours expectantly


  1. We had a continuing PD series at my school last year based on Teach Like a Champion-- it has some very good moments. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, we found some of his ideas very useful. Not all translated well into our context, but at the very least it was a super spring board for discussions!

      Pleasure, and thanks for commenting!