All students will achieve their maximum potential by becoming responsible, productive citizens and life-long learners.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Set Expectations, Not Excuses and Success Will Come

This was a post that I put as a message in my weekly newsletter to students, staff, and parents.  As I reread it, I realized not only is it only a small part of a bigger topic/conversation, but a message for everyone no matter their path or position in life.

It is as follows:

Now that we have reached the end of the Third Term, I thought it may be helpful to point out something as the year is officially in the “last lap”.  Whether we have good grades, have met some goals, or failed at both; many of us can do better.  Unfortunately, often when we are faced with a failure or adversity it is easy to make an excuse as to why it cannot be done rather than shouldering some hardship and a lot of responsibility in an effort to get it done.  Additionally damaging is when we use the excuse that we either cannot do it or are not good at it because that’s “just the way it is.”  This is where expectations come into play.  I often think of a quote attributed to an unknown 6th grader that said, “My teacher thought I was smarter than I was – so I was.”

Just recently an article was forwarded to me that illustrated the power of expectations.  It rehashed an old experiment known as the Rosenthal Experiment and how it relates to the Pygmalion effect.  I have included this short article for you to read here. You may have never heard of either of these two things, but a quick summary is that this study illustrates “the phenomenon that explains better performances by people when greater expectations are put on them.”  So how does this apply to the beginning of the end of the school year?

That is one thing I expect you already know.

If you need a higher grade to pass a class…set a goal and expect you can accomplish it.
If you are not doing well in a sport…expect to do better and get it done.
If there is anything you want to get or do better at…think you can and then do it.

This sounds great, but you need to remember nothing comes without work and sacrifice.  It is supposed to be uncomfortable.  That is the only way we know we are pushing ourselves hard enough to grow.  In the end, we are the only ones who really decide how successful we are and that is by expecting the best of ourselves and believing that we have the ability to achieve it.

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