Note: This is Part 2 in our series on helping managing expectations when training your students. Make sure you’ve read Part 1 – Realising the Power of Expectations!

managing expectations of studentsSince expectations are so powerful, it is important to build positive ones that surround your students.  By setting the correct expectations of your students, you'll be a better educator and your students will get more out of your training sessions.   There are four main ways that people develop expectations:

  1. Recognition
  2. Reputation
  3. Record
  4. Relationship

Let’s explore each one with regards to the expectations you develop about your students.


This is a surface level reaction to seeing a student and making a judgement call about them. These expectations are based on their appearance or something you’ve heard them say. While it may be instinctive to make a judgement call about someone right away, it is important to not let your first impression dictate a negative opinion about a student. Appearances and first impressions can be deceiving, and you don’t want to foster low or negative expectations of someone without much information.


Often teachers hear good or bad things about their students before they even set foot in the classroom. This can be detrimental or beneficial, depending on the person’s reputation! Try to take what you hear with a grain of salt, and don’t jump to conclusions about a student based on another person’s experience with them. This goes both ways and applied to flattery and negative feedback. It is always best to make your own conclusions after having interacted with a person for awhile.


Looking at a student’s grades, IQ, performance record or sales data can influence what you think about them. If you see a person who has terrible attendance at work you might be tempted to jump to a negative conclusion about them. Keep in mind that records are rarely the whole picture and there might be other factors at play. Look over necessary records, but don’t let that be the driving force in what you expect of someone.  If you're looking for a great way to manage your records, you might be interested in exploring a training administration system like Administrate to help you get rid of your spreadsheets.


This is the most meaningful way to develop expectations of someone. Once you have a relationship with a person, it is more realistic to know what to expect from them and what is unrealistic. Determining what someone is capable of once you know them is the most effective way to build realistic expectations. If you get side tracked by their reputation or record, you may never get to the point where you can build a good relationship!


Obviously building relationships with your students can take time that you may not have before a class or seminar begins. It is important to have realistic expectations using what you do know about your students (through recognition, reputation and record) but also know when to adjust them (through relationship). If you realise halfway through a class that your expectations are unattainably high, then you need to change. However, it is imperative that you communicate your new expectations (and why you changed them) to your students. We’ll discuss that next!

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