Yes, that’s right-you heard me – I’ve got absolutely none. No expectations of myself, da fam, my peoples…. Check the rolling Stones song with the same name.
Does that mean I’ve given up? Has the cynicism that plagues our age, finally done me in?
Well, I actually feel more liberated than I ever have in a ridiculously long time. Free from. Free from pretence. Free from political correctness that is often a smoke screen for ignorance and prejudice.
I kid myself that I’ve reached that pivotal moment when I don’t care about how I seem. But you and I know that secretly inside there’s always gonna b that little girl desperate to impress.
As an educational consultant, I’ve witnessed many many senior school leadership meetings where the rhetoric is more graceful than a renowned Russian ballet dancer doing the dying Swan. Chewing on my chocolate digestive to stifle a sob as I resonate with the Head Teachers perfectly, passionately constructed modern day parable about their struggle. Their struggle for ‘high expectations’ within the board room and without, inside the classroom and on those all defining school corridors that indicate the true metal of the school. ‘High expectations’onthe streets, the all important chicken shop and the sitting rooms of those families where the gap -be it attainment, behavior, class, must ‘by any means necessary’ be closed.
I hope I don’t sound cynical as I reminisce on how the senior leaders drop into the bubble and boil of their strategic meeting- the ever pressing need to give more opportunity to all – to raise that bar with yes ‘high expectations’.
But when I get onto the front line it’s just not there.
‘No expectation’ is oozing out of the adults, the children, the middle managers =the school. Teachers -and I include myself in this- often walk into a new learning opportunity with old bagagge- the despicable goings on of last week, last month, last lesson. One little reminder or jibe and the children refrain from disappointing these negative expectations and so they dutifully fulfil their role and play up. The dance goes on.
Then there’s the labelling of which child is worth investing in.
Yes-money is tight – not every student can have mentoring, one to one tuition, small group support but let’s get back into the classroom and look at the rapor between teacher and the 30.
Are there high expectations exuding from the adult ‘in the driving seat’, are children filled with hopeful anticipation that they WILL learn and improve their life chances, are children who have previously struggled academically, given the chance to shine on a brand new topic and a brand new lesson, do we give lower ability children, higher ability work now and then to check we haven’t missed out on a hidden talent, are children who have ditched bad behavioral habits rewarded?
Don’t wanna O D on idealism but these are some of the telling signs of ‘high expectations’ in the classroom.
I have had to cover my ears to protect my fragile and fledgling paradigm as professionals rant and rave about the children I’m trying to believe in. It’s the same attitudes about the steady decline in standards but different faces, voices, roles with in school…. A quick coffee in the staff room has left me filled with despair at the negativity bouncing off the walls about how we view our future.
This disconnect between classroom and board room has led me to have N E…
As my colleague put it, it’s about winning hearts and minds and that’s just one other rant!