Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

Dear “I Just Want To Meet Expectations” Student…I’m Sorry…


Meeting Expectations…You demonstrate knowledge & use of some current unit concepts & language structures and some evidence of previous learning. You make errors that sometimes detract, but your work is generally understandable. You tend to stick to the basic vocabulary and your work may lack details and personalization.

Dear “Meeting”,

Thank you for being in my class. You are a consistent presence in my room, come every day, do work as required and work in the TL with your classmates. In every unit you put effort into learning what we are working on. I’ve worked to change my classroom over the years. And one way has been to introduce the idea of ‘choice’ as in how much you choose to meet expectations.

But I’ve noticed things are a bit out of kilter lately. And quite frankly it comes down to me. You see I’ve been off and running in class – so busy trying to give students ways to “fully meet” and go beyond the unit items that I’ve forgotten about you.  I’ve been busy with the “you could say this, or try to add on this, or even take the structure and extend it to this’ that I realize that I’ve been muddling you up. I’ve been pushing opportunity but sacrificing the comfort you get in knowing that you have “got it”. And, quite frankly, I’ve been so busy giving options I’ve forgotten to give you something to hold onto.  It’s been a ‘sea of choice’ when you really don’t want just want to learn what I’m asking you to…

I’ve also forgotten that if I help you see that you are ‘meeting’ you will be more confident. And, if you are more confident, you might want to add more to what you do. But you will most definitely not be comfortable in the ‘stretch’ if you don’t feel that you’ve got the basics.

So I promise to make sure to support you. That in giving a variety options I clearly identify what ‘meets’ the expectations. That I use that language in my teaching with you – that you will hear “this will meet my expectations” as a ‘goal’ more and not as some kind of ‘minimum’ it might imply. That I will honour your wish to show me that you ‘have it’ and show you that I value what you are doing in meeting. That I will thank you for meeting my expectations more explicitly. I have always said that the ‘achievement’ in my classes isn’t the goal but the learning is… but I fear that the steadiness of ‘meeting’ has been perceived as seemingly less important than ‘fully meeting’ of late and it shouldn’t be.

Thank you again for continuing to take my class and I hope to meet your expectations a bit more clearly and effectively in the future.

Your teacher….



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