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What if I don't meet my students' expectations, or they don't meet mine?

The fact is students are individuals. They have different interests, cognitive abilities and learning skills. Your expectations of them should start at zero in the first lesson. You can only have high expectations of yourself. These must include everything we've talked about already plus assessing what they know and what they need. Ignoring their needs and existing knowledge will lead to academic stagnation and your lessons will be over the heads of many and bore other students to death.

Many teachers follow the age-old pattern of focusing on being negative and critical of students’ shortcomings, abilities and mistakes. You need to home in on the positive, however difficult this may be to find, and then teach them the rest. Your patience and persistence will encourage students to improve, be self-critical, ask questions and contribute to a healthy class team spirit.

Remember some of your students may feel your teaching style is quite alien. They may be unused to the independence you give to them. Many of them may not have yet developed the self-management skills autonomy brings. They may become disruptive or introverted during group or pair work. Your job is to build confidence and to provide a safe, controlled environment to empower them.

Mistakes should be viewed as positives. Use them as an opportunity to teach, shape behaviour or encourage them to make different choices.

The teaching profession, in general, often expects new teachers to be as proficient and independent as their veteran staff. Don't let this discourage you from asking for help. If you have students or even classes that are causing you concern or problems, ask an experienced colleague. They will have a wealth of information and tips to impart.![endif]--

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