As a parent, teacher, coach, and now as a principal, I have always believed in the power of high expectations. People (especially children) tend to live up or down to the expectations placed upon them by influential people in their lives. Simply put, if we expect and truly believe that our children will be good students and good people, they usually are.
This is not magic. It happens because the entire way we relate to a child (our words, tone of voice, body language, and actions) is different as a result of our belief in the child's ability and expectations about his/her achievement and conduct. These expectations are conveyed to the child and have a transformative power that is known as the "Pygmalion Effect." Using this power effectively is an enormous responsibility for parents and educators alike!
I know as a former coach that it is not realistic to expect every athlete to run a four-minute mile, but it is reasonable to expect each runner to perform at a level much higher than he/she initially believed possible! We can expect similiar results academically as students will work harder (at first) to live up to others expectations and ultimately the expectations students have of themselves will increase as well.
Please feel free to call or stop in if you have any questions or concerns. I may not always have the answers, but hopefully together we can figure things out!