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Be a Pro-Change Teacher

by Professor Joe Martin

Many teachers (especially experienced ones) suffer from what I call “change phobia.” And if not carefully monitored, even new teachers can be inflicted with this the career-ending disease. What is “change phobia” you ask? It’s exactly what you may think it is; it’s an unhealthy fear of change.

As teachers, we can’t afford to be “change phobics”; the nature of our job dictates that we must remain open to change (sometimes at a moment’s notice). But what if you’re not used to it or don’t know where to start? Well, I’m glad you asked, because here’s something I want you to try.




I want to you to do an exercise with your class I call “Teacher for a Day.” The effectiveness of this exercise depends on the maturity level of your class (and your receptiveness). I would think 4th grade and above would work fine, but I’ll let you make the call.

Have your students take out a blank sheet a paper, and then I want you to write this question on the board:

“If I was teacher for a day…
this is what I would do to make our class more fun and educational?”

Have each student write down at least one to three ideas on their sheet of paper and turn it in with their names on it. It doesn’t have to be written in narrative form; it could be written as a list of items, as long as it’s legible. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

After they turn in their papers, take them home with you, and see what ideas make the most sense and are the most realistic to implement. Then simply determine how you can (and will) incorporate those ideas (i.e., changes) into your lesson plan.

I must warn you to prepare yourself to be shocked by the creative (even weird) ideas you’re going to receive from your students. Also, as an added (and optional) bonus, announce which students came up with the best and most creative ideas, and give them some special gift, treat, or prize.

Trust me, after you implement a few of these ideas, I guarantee you’ll reduce the chances of ever becoming (or return to being) a “change phobic.”


Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant. His mission is to help students, teachers, and administrators learn, lead, and live with purpose and passion. To find out more visit his web site at


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