Home > How To > 7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher

7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher

Photo Credit by Just Me

You’ve gone to school, graduated from the college of education, hopefully negotiated more than what they offered you on the union negotiated step level contract, and now you are learning that teaching in K-12 environments aren’t the same classrooms you sat in as a kid. Here are some tips for acquiring effective teacher skill sets so you can reduce the stress and begin teaching with more confidence.


Get you hands on valuable information available from student CA-60 background folders. Documents like IEP’s and medical records provide a snap shot into the student’s academic story as a valuable first source for gathering information. A pit stop to the office several times a week on the way to planning hour or lunch can pay big dividends. You’re a pro, so tap the most obvious info resources before forming a misinformed hypothesis.

Gather current contact information of parents and guardians. You might want to include cell numbers of big brothers and sisters (both siblings and from United Way mentors). Be sure to note phone service carriers, off peak times, and texting plans so that you don’t get screened out unnecessarily. Research shows that many families are more likely to use cell phones as primary phone lines for calling contacts and Internet use so add primary email addresses in your contact list as needed.

Create well-written icebreaker activities. Loosening up the atmosphere not only gets your students connected to each other, but also gives you a starting point for valuable organized intel on your little darlings. Discovering whether a student has a favorite pet that’s sick or has been moving around a lot because of complicated family circumstances will help you more clearly identify classroom problems and develop “how to” solutions.

Do a walk around. The wonderful thing about venturing out into the neighborhoods of your school and meeting the people who live there and work in the retail stores, repair shops, and laundry mats is it gives you an understanding of its culture. You will also find out what works for the community as well as the problems needing to be fixed. Information from the pulse of a community, at ground level, helps to better understand outside issues brought into your classroom.

Make it a rule to contact each parent on your roster at least twice with heart felt positive reports before having to rat a student out. Parents that get regular negative calls from school personnel are a little punchy when seeing the call come in on caller ID. By establishing a genuine service connection with parents, based on trust and credibility, you can easily recruit them as part of your classroom management and support team member for special events.

Create a phone list of highly qualified substitute teachers [from colleagues and secretaries] that are capable of handling your students while you are away from the classroom. Substitutes will always have their work cut out for them, but some will have skill sets that return your students back in one piece and on task to pick up where you left off.

Teach your students to respect substitute teachers before you need to call one in to teach. You may not need a sub often, but incorporating a plan instructing students of proper etiquette practices and consequences establishes standards in your absence that will praise or reprimand behaviors upon your return. The best substitute teachers will want to teach for you if they know you have set them up to succeed.

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.


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