Proactive vs. Reactive Teaching

Teaching in a Title I school requires a teacher to be extremely efficient and well-prepared.  When this isn’t the case, things can immediately begin to “snowball” out of control.  Do you feel as if you are always a few steps behind, constantly inundated with more details than you can handle?  Stress for teachers can quickly get out of control and affect a teacher’s classroom environment, overall effectiveness, personal health and family’s health.  Take proactive steps to address problems before they arise.  This will decrease your stress levels and increase your overall teacher effectiveness. Below are examples of Proactive vs. Reactive Steps in Teaching:

Planning & Instruction:

Have you made a long term academic plan or are you “planning as you go”?

Is your lesson succinctly planned according to your students’ preferred modalities of learning?  If it is, you can avoid planning interventional lessons for everything that you are planning to teach.

Have you planned small group instruction time to give students the opportunity to ask questions and tailor the information to their needs?  Or are you “assuming” that they will just “get the lesson” in only a direct instruction format?

Are your materials gathered in an orderly fashion for teacher and student access?  Or are you just planning to “grab them as you go”?

Have you tailored the instructional needs of your students from specific assessment data?  Or are you just planning to teach according to the schedule even if they already know the information?

Did you grade their math assignment before you leave for the day?  This will allow you to make adequate changes to tomorrow’s lesson based on student mastery.  Or are you planning to “get around to” grading your “stack” of papers as soon as you can?

Behavior Management

Do you recognize when your students are making the “right” choices?  Or do you only react to and give attention to students when they make the wrong choices?

Do your students make weekly and monthly goals for how they personally can improve with their behavior and give them chances to reflect on their progress?  Or do you simply continue to hand out the same negative consequences to the child—assuming this will eventually motivate them?

Do you teach and model character—such as respect and responsibility?  Do you give students a chance to reflect in their character journals and discuss scenarios with their classmates?  Or do you just assume that students should know what respect looks and sounds like?

Have you modeled carefully planned succinct procedures and routines according to the needs and patterns of your class?  Or are you just assuming they know how to line up and show proper bathroom etiquette?

Have you explained the benefits for being kind and helpful to each other?  Or you assuming their homes are examples of camaraderie and respect?


Collaborative Etiquette

Did you take a moment to thank your colleague for her assistance in teaching you the new technology program?  Or are you assuming it is part of her job?

Are you “pulling your weight” on your team by taking on an adequate amount of your team’s responsibilities?  Or are you griping or taking advantage of your teammates by making them “pull all of the weight”?

Did you plan an agenda for your team meeting?  Or are you just going to ask everyone the issues they are encountering and give them a chance to “vent”?

Parent Involvement

Did you take the opportunity to call that parent when their child had such a good week last week?  Or are you planning to just “lay it all out” about what happened today?

Have you conveyed to the parent of your student that you care about their success and told them about some strengths that you notice in their child?  Or do you list things that their child does wrong and list things that are wrong with their child?

Do you give parents a list of the scheduled events for the month, semester or year?  This gives them advance notice and time to make schedule changes with work and arrangements for their other children.  Or do you tell parents a couple days in advance about a parent or conference night?  Are you just assuming that they don’t care or that they won’t participate?

Do you speak to parents in a respectful collaborative tone?  Or is your tone demeaning and defensive?

Do you write positive accomplishments in your students’ agendas?  Or do you fill the agenda book/progress report with frowns, criticisms and lists of what the child did “wrong”?  Remember: This is someone’s child.  If you want their support show some respect.  If you don’t, expect them to become defensive. This is simply human nature out of protection for their child.

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One Response to Proactive vs. Reactive Teaching

Kat Headley says:
January 14, 2016 @ 2:06 am

I enjoyed reading your comments and agree with you immensely. I like to make positive calls to parents of students that are frequently a challenge, so they CAN get some calls when these same students make great choices. I like to ask for the managers in establishments in the same way and tell them how an employee should be recognized or praised for doing something beyond their position. In this day and time, giving great customer service is rare. The expressions on their faces are immediately ones of relief because they are geared up to battle complaints. In the same way, parents voices change from dread to sometimes even elation if the call or meeting is about something positive if everyone else they encounter always has something negative to say about their child.

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