Every year I have all the students in my classes create “Who I Am” posters and present them to the entire class at the beginning of the year. It includes sharing their strengths, worries, love, and their hopes and dreams — along with other information. I also do a model presentation.

Every year I’m struck by two things:

* that the students in my English Language Learner classes have very high “hopes and dreams” for themselves and their lives after high school.

* that most of my mainstream students say the same “hope and dream” — “I want to pass this class.”

It’s disconcerting to me that so many of them have “hopes and dreams” at such a low level — not about a potential career, and not even wanting to do more than “pass the class” (even though most are doing really exceptional class work).

Even though I ‘ve tried to have conversations with students about why they seem to have such low-expectations of themselves, I’ve never been successful in trying to get to the bottom of it.

Now, I’m thinking that even though I can’t seem to find-out the “why” of the issue,  there must be something I can do to systematically during the year try to help students develop and articulate a broader vision for themselves.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do it, and would welcome suggestions about what you think I can do, as well as your thoughts about the likely causes of the low-expectations.