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Repetition and Variation

Sometimes I feel less like a teacher, and more like a pull-string doll. “What are you supposed to be doing right now? Are you doing your best? Let me see who’s listening?”

These are the phrases I’ve come to rely on in my classroom. I like them, because they frame things positively, but I have to admit it gets a little repetitive.

This week I added a new catch phrase to my repertoire. “We’re a team.” It’s become a simple, catchall statement to let students know they’re doing something wrong. Not showing me they’re ready for lunch? We’re a team. Talking during a read aloud? We’re a team.

Does it get repetitive? Hell yes. Like all the sayings I use, sometimes it’s hard to muster enthusiasm and it loses a bit of its poetry. But while it’s a struggle to stick to the script, it ultimately keeps me from lecturing and it keeps a positive tone. It might be boring or cheesy, but I’ll stick with my key phrases as long as they work. What phrases do you rely on in your classroom?

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