Successful mathematics teachers and coaches are always setting high expectations for their students. When setting expectations, consideration needs to be taken on each student’s abilities. Goals that are attainable should be set. Students need to learn that dedication and hard work are required to achieve any goal set. In general, goals should be incremental in nature. The ultimate goal should be attained once all of the minor goals have been reached.

Students should not be frustrated when working toward any of the goals set. They need to learn that setbacks may occur. Teachers should provide the guidance necessary to help students reach their goals. Diagnosing individual strengths and weaknesses is important, because each student needs to be aware of these. Teachers and coaches need to assist each student in developing a plan for success. Each student needs to know what concepts they need to master to achieve success in the classroom or achieve success in competitive mathematics (Number Sense, Calculator Applications or Mathematics). Students should be instructed as to how to make use of resources that you provide. They must learn how much studying or practicing they will need to do to succeed.

Teachers and coaches need to be careful when setting high expectations. In my career, I told each student that success was more attainable if they focused on things that they loved. Success was also attainable if they were willing to put forth their best effort. I found that students that focused on those two things seldom experienced failure. Students needed to also learn that making a perfect score in the classroom or winning an award at a mathematics tournament was something that they could pursue, but was not how I measured success. If they enjoyed what they were doing and if they knew they had tried their best, they should be proud of any result. All of us need to have high expectations. We should always strive to improve in any endeavor. Realize that improving is actually the greatest goal that any of us should ever set for ourselves.

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