Teachers either figure it out as they go along or leave teaching altogether. Sadly, almost 50 percent leave the teaching profession in their first five years.
A teacher’s goal is to prepare both self and students for success. The Ready To Teach GOTAGS course and companion Maintaining Momentum text offer solutions for success in the first three days of school and throughout the school year.
Ready To Teach provides teachers with research-based and teacher-tested strategies that begin day one and gain momentum as the school year continues in a cost-effective, convenient, and flexible format. Progress can be measured in ways that engage students, minimize problem behavior, and build community. These courses are useful for teachers at any level of experience across all grade levels.
Each component of the Ready To Teach program incorporates educational research findings and the authors’ learned successes in their teaching careers: 2,000+ middle school students, preparing 1,000+ future teachers, and conducting classroom management workshops with 2,000+ teachers in 40+ states.
The Ready To Teach course, Getting Off to a Good Start (GOTAGS), guides a teacher through the following modules:
GOTAGS identifies and advises how to master the essential teaches beginning-of-the-year “non-academics” that so greatly influence classroom management and the academic achievements for the remainder of the year. Teachers find numerous ideas and techniques for immediate use in or adaptation for their classrooms during the first days of school. The GOTAGS book has served as the official classroom management text at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University for over ten years.
Maintaining Momentum, the companion text to GOTAGS, grew out of repeated requests from teachers who had gone through a GOTAGS workshop, enjoyed the positive experience of a good start, and wanted something more to help maintain both academic momentum and student enthusiasm. This text addresses the four most teacher-requested topics:
No. Teachers who use GOTAGS report that it significantly prevents problems, but there are sometimes one or a few students for whom they need additional resources. Every student is unique, and no one program will prevent all problems.
Yes – if you want optimal success, avoid “cherry picking.” All six areas in the text work together to create a good start. A good cake requires all of the ingredients (e.g., flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and butter) – if you leave out something, you do not get the best results. The same is true with all Ready To Teach courses.
No. You can always start over, and it works best after a major break – at least after a weekend. Teachers who start over midyear report improvement for that year and much improvement for the following year. Due to teacher requests, a third text, Creating a New Beginning, will soon be available.
As the time individual teachers choose to spend on each activity varies, total time to complete the program typically ranges from nine to 12 hours.
Yes. You may view the screencast videos as many times as you wish for a period of two years. Reviewing before the second semester – and definitely before the second year – is suggested for optimal benefit.
No. Screencast videos are tied to the book. Access to screencast videos is linked to either (a) an individual’s purchase of book-plus-screencast or (b) a school’s purchase of 20 or more GOTAGS books.
A teacher completing the book-plus-screencast course as an “independent study” may be eligible for professional development credit.
TEACHERS IN CALIFORNIA: You are eligible to apply for 3 hours of professional development credit through the University of the Pacific. Register with UOP. Complete the book-plus-screencast program, document how you applied GOTAGS in beginning the school year view documentation requirements, and submit your documentation to Ready To Teach for assessment. UOP standard professional development credit hour rates apply.
TEACHERS IN THE OTHER 49 STATES: If you are a teacher in another state, check with your school system to see if they will accept UOP professional development credit hours. Complete the book-plus-screencast program, document how the application of GOTAGS in beginning the school year view documentation requirements, submit your documentation to Ready to Teach for assessment. UOP Standard professional development credit hour rates apply.
TEACHERS IN INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: If you are a teacher in an independent school, check with your administration to see if they will grant a number of professional development hours for completing the program and applying GOTAGS principles as you begin the school year. As a guideline, an independent school in Birmingham, AL, awards 12 hours of professional development credit. (Note: As a point of support for PD credit, GOTAGS served as the central instructional program for Vanderbilt’s Peabody Professional Institute for Beginning Teachers in Independent Schools from 2012 through 2014.) You can document your completion of the program to your administration by providing a copy of the completed final activity, which lays out your detailed plans for the first days of school.
The second text, Maintaining Momentum, provides a variety of activities ideas from many sources relating to the four, focused topics of consequences, small group work, assessment, and motivation. Like GOTAGS, ideas in this book are research-based and teacher-tested. This text lays the foundation for informed application in professional decisions inside of the classroom and out.
If you have not yet explored the ideas and activities in GOTAGS for starting the school year, you will still find this book useful. While we encourage you to begin with GOTAGS to establish a base of proactive class management and then build on that base with Maintaining Momentum, this resource course can be used on an individual basis as well.