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Be a Better Teacher: Expect the Unexpected

supplies © by jr conlin

Do you want to be a better teacher or substitute teacher? A mark of great teachers is that they continue to strive to become better at their craft.

One veteran teacher shares that he learned his very best tip from his former Little League coach. His training on the baseball diamond saw him through many an inning, carrying over to his stint in Vietnam in the 1970s and well into his years as a high school teacher.

  • "Always anticipate what might come at you next," taught his Little League coach.  "What will you do if a ball comes at you from the 3 o'clock position?"
  • "What plan of attack will you take if you get a fast fall straight on?"
  • "Do your thinking before the ball is even in play. Those extra seconds will be the difference between success and failure."
  • "Always anticipate what your opponent might do."
In his days trekking through the jungles of Vietnam, where an ambush, a trip wire, or a grenade might be just a breath away, this kind of anticipatory thinking saved his and a buddy's life on more than one occasion. What worked on the baseball field and in the jungles works in the classroom, too.

While students aren't exactly your enemy, they can prove to be a worthy opponent. It is the teacher who thinks ahead and is prepared for any scenario who is the true winner.

What will you, as a teacher, do if:

  • an unexpected bomb threat interrupts the lesson or test you worked so hard on in a way that ruins the lesson or invalidates the test?
  • you're only halfway through an important lesson, and half the class gets up in the middle of it and tells you they have to leave for an approved field trip?
  • you build an entire day's lesson around a concept the students have always known and you discover three minutes into the lesson that their teacher last year failed to teach the prerequisite material?
Successful teachers learn early on to expect the unexpected. Good teachers prepare for everything that can go wrong because it will go wrong.

Despite anything short of nuclear attack or a 3.0 earthquake, better teachers won't even bat an eyelash before they'll be entrenched in Plan B, or Plan C, or whatever other plan is called for.

Every day in today's classroom is indeed a kind of baseball game. Occasionally, it's a war zone. If you anticipate what might occur and be prepared for anything, you'll be ahead of the pack and live to teach another day.

SubAssistant offers support for substitute teachers and for those wanting to become a substitute teacher. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you be a better teacher in the classroom.

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