Great Expectations

I recently had the privilege of witnessing an encounter that made me think about how important it is to communicate our faith in children’s positive intentions.

The assistant principal of a school I was visiting had just delivered a brief but powerful message about “great expectations” in the morning news broadcast.  He’d spoken about how “we rise to the expectations that others hold of us,” directing his words to teachers and students alike at this K6 urban school.

Moments later, I was in his office with him when an instructional assistant walked by with a small group of children. She paused in front of the open door and said to the children, “If you don’t get it together, this is where you’ll end up.”

The assistant principal immediately arose and walked into the hall. He spoke to the whole group, saying, “No, no, I believe that Micah and Terrence and Marian and Karyn are going to have a good day today.” He smiled at the children, and their countenance shifted from discouragement to delight. Then they continued quietly down the hall, carrying their assistant principal’s “great expectations” for them as they began their day.

What are some of the ways you let your students know about the “great expectations” you have for them?

Babs Freeman-Loftis is a Responsive Classroom consultant and coauthor of Responsive School Discipline. She was assistant head of the lower school at the University School of Nashville for nine years.

Tags: Building Schoolwide Community, Encouragement

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