The Teacher’s Expectation – Alan Cohen

You’re darn tootin’ I’m going to bring out the best in you. You are the best!

– Maureen Coleman, middle school teacher

The inspiring movie Stand and Deliver portrays the true story of Jaime Escalente, a math teacher who went into the Los Angeles barrios and decided to teach calculus to some of the school’s lowest-functioning students. When the math department chairwoman caustically told Jaime he was dreaming, he told her, “The students will live up to the teacher’s expectations!”

In spite of objection, derision, and resistance, Jaime went on to teach calculus. Ultimately, everyone in his class passed the state calculus test, and calculus became an ongoing course in a school that would not previously touch it.

If you are a teacher, parent, therapist, counselor, coach, doctor, or healer, remember that your students live up – or down – to your expectations. Every student can be as great as your vision of him or her, so hold the highest vision you can see. This principle applies not only to teachers in official capacities. If you are a waitress, shuttle bus driver, or artist, your clients, colleagues, or customers will rise to your expectations – or fall to them. So take care to examine your expectations, and keep stretching beyond your old sense of limits, for their sake and yours.

All of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone lives the reality they create by virtue of their beliefs. You hire actors to play the roles you assign in the script you have written. If you don’t like the script you have written, write a new one. Begin by piercing beyond the limits you have ascribed to others, and letting them be bigger than you thought they were or could be. Then you will work miracles because you raised the ceiling of your mind.

How might you create better students, clients, friends, or family members by holding a higher vision of who they are and what they can do?

I create and attract positive,

successful, loving people around me

by seeing the best in them and for them,

as well as for myself.


Alan Cohen, M.A., is the author of 24 popular inspirational books, including the best-selling The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the award-winningA Deep Breath of Life, and the classicAre You as Happy as Your Dog? He is a contributing writer for the New York Times #1 bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, and his books have been translated into 24 foreign languages. His work has been featured on and in USA Today, The Washington Post and 101 Top Experts. Alan’s radio program Get Real is broadcast weekly on Hay House Radio, and his monthly column From the Heart is featured in magazines internationally.

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