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Teaching Tips: How to be Proactive in the Classroom

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/17/2012

Instead of complaining about everything that goes wrong the first few weeks of school, do something about it.

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    Learn How to be Proactive

    Experienced public school teachers know exactly what’s going to cause them grief the first few weeks of school: overcrowded classrooms, scheduling snafus, misplaced students, classroom interruptions, and technology malfunctions. Instead of complaining about them after the fact, learn how to be proactive and develop a plan to successfully handle them before they occur. Here are some ways of being proactive and making the start of school stress free.

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    Improve Yourself First

    Learning how to be proactive involves working on yourself.

    Remember it’s not the size of the problem that hinders your performance. It’s the size of you. I always find it ironic that many educators are unwilling to educate themselves. If you struggled with classroom management last year, read some books on classroom management. If you need help organizing your classroom, take some time to learn how to organize. If you struggle with time management, learn how to manage time better. A great aspect of teaching is cooperation among colleagues. Find someone at your school who is good at something you’re not and ask them for help. Good teachers offer a gold mine of good teacher tips and ways of being proactive.

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    Prepare for the Unexpected

    One of the best teacher tips I ever received was to expect the unexpected. I guarantee something’s going to come up that eats up more time than you have scheduled. One easy way to prevent a time crunch is to spend a few days during the summer (it’s worth it!) and make lesson plans, make copies, and get your classroom in order. I am always smiling on the days leading up to the start of school because I have everything in order for the entire first month and a half. While I’m relaxing, many of my colleagues are scrambling, panicking, and seeking advice from the school psychologist.

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    Develop a Plan

    Develop a plan for beginning of the year annoyances. For example, what are you going to do when two students come in halfway through period three? What are you going to do with misplaced students? What is your plan for special needs students? Who are you going to see when the hallway outside your room smells like a pig farm? What about scheduling conflicts, problem students, or technology issues? What are the procedures for discipline, getting books, showing films in class, or administering restroom passes? If you’re feeling stressed while reading this (as I am writing this), think how stressful it will be if you don’t know how to handle these issues.


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