Changing student’s expectations of themselves… how?

Working in a district where my Calculus students (the best of the best) are happy with getting Bs and where the community mindset is “when the going gets too tough, give up”/ my parents did go to college, so I shouldn’t be expected to either (different but related mindsets)- I find that most of my job is trying to help them have higher expectations for themselves (do better in class, understand more, accomplish things). 

I don’t think there is one right answer, but Mr. Klankey mentioned that his method to teach them to have higher expectations is to push them beyond what they think they can do. He is a hard teacher, and his students leave his class saying it was the hardest class they ever took. He teaches them to be independent learners who can learn by themselves from the book. I think these are great things, but struggle with teaching like him because I am afraid it will reflect poorly on me if I push them too hard/ expect too much/ or don’t help them enough and they fail. 

Does anyone else have a suggestion on how to help students raise expectations for themselves? What has worked/ hasn’t? Maybe it’s impossible to tell and this is a stupid question. 

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