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In Germany about half of the adult learners who start second chance education drop out before graduation. In this paper we aim to contribute to an explanation for this low success rate. We focus on the normative expectations of learners: What are their expectations concerning teachers’ attention to their personal abilities, teacher support and the recognition of their needs, and to what extent are these expectations met by teachers? Our main assumption is that the greater the difference between learner’s expectations and teacher practice, the more likely learners are to become disengaged and be absent from school, and this may lead to school dropout in the future. We use a database of N = 420 learners in 7 randomly selected institutions of second chance education in Germany. Results show, that (1) on average, adult learners tend to expect teachers to take an interest in their personal problems and to take responsibility for their learning process. However (2), 30% of learners experience teachers who are a) more or b) less learner-oriented than they expected them to be, and (3) students in group (b) show considerably lower school engagement and higher absences than students in group (a). Results are discussed with regard to practical implications for second chance education.