Two Programs One Goal - Academic Achievement

New Teacher Survival Guide

Getting Off to a Good Start

Book and Resource for First Year Teachers We’ve all walked by that classroom before. The one where nearly every student is off task, their ruckus echoing loudly and clearly across the whole school, while the teacher is just slumped in his or her chair behind the desk – defeated. But there’s still hope in the educational abyss – teaching doesn’t have to happen that way, nor does your classroom need to end up like that. Instead, by implementing some smart classroom management from day one, you can “get off to a good start” and prevent problems before they ever have a chance to begin.

Advantages of GOTAGS

The sad reality of most teacher-education programs and courses is this: They often leave future teachers ill-prepared to handle a classroom full of young people. Sure, these new teachers have learned numerous educational theories and have wonderful lesson plans ready to go, but if they can’t get their students to behave and pay attention, then it’s all for naught. And since only about half of state teacher licensing agencies require pre-service teachers to have any evidence-based classroom management courses (see Freeman et al., 2014), many veteran and first-year teachers have begun looking elsewhere for help.

Enter GOTAGS, a thoroughly researched and time-tested program that will help you discover and define your overarching classroom management philosophy, as well as outline your classroom’s behavior management plan. And “What’s the WIIFM?” you ask? It’s What’s In It For Me. By the time you read through the easily accessible GOTAGS workbook and complete the 20+ activities and reflections along the way, you’ll have in hand a completely developed, proactive, personalized management plan for beginning the school year, ready to be implemented on the very first days of school.

What Makes the First Days of School So Vital?

As every educator knows all too well, the demands of being a teacher today are never ending and ever increasing. And, as a result of this, many teachers’ first inclination is to jump right into the core material, hoping to get a head start on what they must cover by the last day of school. They assume that if the bottom line of going to school is academic growth, then what sense does it make to spend time teaching “non-academics” – things like classroom rules and procedures, or even a classroom management philosophy?

Well, multiple educational researchers (see Sanford, 1984; Evertson, 1985; Evertson, 1989; Bonne et al., 2004) have found that what teachers do in the first days of school – no matter the grade level – has a definite correlation with student academic engagement and behavior management throughout the year, as well as academic achievement by the end of the year. This means that teachers who dedicate time at the beginning of the school year to developing, teaching, and consistently reinforcing classroom rules and procedures and other “going-to-school skills” get back more time to teach throughout the remainder of the year.

More specifically, off task behavior was cut in half later in the year for classrooms that developed and taught class rules and procedures in that first week. And with more time for instruction, students in those classes had higher academic achievement at the end of the year (see Evertson et al., 1983: Emmer et al., 1983; Evertson 1985: Evertson. 1989).

Here’s Why GOTAGS Works

As a teacher, your goal is to prepare yourself and your students for success, and that starts with the very first day of school. But to reach your most effective potential in helping students learn, you must first focus on all the vital, saw-sharpening, “nonacademic” activities to cut the most “academic wood” during the school year. This workbook will help you address those beginning-of-the-year “nonacademics” that set the stage for more academic teaching and learning time throughout the school year.

In the GOTAGS workbook, you will find numerous ideas and techniques that effective teachers have used to begin the school year: things that you can use – or adapt and use – in your own classroom. These ideas come from author Dr. Alene Harris’ over 40 years in education – including 16 years as a teacher in suburban, inner city, and private school secondary classrooms; and 26 years as a teacher and researcher at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. So, while many educational textbook authors have little, actual classroom experience under their belts, the author of GOTAGS has both the training and the experience – as well as the research and data – to back up her advice here.

These ideas also come from the author’s conversations with over 2,000+ experienced teachers throughout the United States and American territories who’ve participated in one of Dr. Harris’ 200+ research-based classroom management workshops, and then successfully applied the principles from these workshops in their own classrooms.

Learn More

Order GOTAGS or GOTAGS + Screencast now. Find out more details about the GOTAGS program, look through the FAQ's or read customer reviews. You may also review resources cited. We have also prepared a brief video to introduce GOTAGS.

Take advantage of the program that has helped hundreds of teachers improve learning environments while rejuvenating their passion for teaching.