In some ways, an attitude of low expectations sneaks up on us. I call it the yes (but) mentality. When I talk to teachers and principals about change and make a recommendation based on something I’ve seen in schools, many times I get the enthusiastic yes, we should hold all students to high expectations, then the cautious, “but that wouldn’t work here because....”
What I know is this: If there’s a but at the end of your comment about students, your expectations are lowered. Finding the buts is easy: “We can’t....” “Someone won’t let me....” “He or she doesn’t have whatever....” “I’ve tried that....” Recognize that but is just another word for failure. I’m recommending you monitor your own language, and every time there’s a but, replace it with the here’s how.
So, “Yes, we should have high expectations, and here’s how I’m going to try that today. Yes, we need to do more individualization with our students, and here’s how I think we could make that work given our circumstances. Yes, our kids don’t see many positive role models, and here's how we might increase that."
What is your "here's how" today?