Consistent Teachers = Confident Learners

By Monica O’Donnell

Consistent Teachers = Confident Learners

Consistency is crucial for the confident student. You provide the consistency and your learner will grow in confidence.

So, put down your latest teacher-book-of-the-month read.

Bookmark that educational research journal for later.

Continue that “crushing” game during your next professional development.

I am joking! Do not stop learning.

Teachers cannot stop learning the best practices for our changing world. However, there is one area of teaching that does not need tweaking.

That is…drumroll please….Consistency. Do not reinvent the wheel.

Whether you are in the brick-and-mortar or online setting, your students expect, crave, and thrive in a consistent environment. I only re-invent the wheel for my actual lesson. I keep everything else predictable.

My students receive their greeting and chitchat with me while waiting for the two-minute timer to alert us all to start time.

Our communication guidelines, which are always, displayed beautifully in my desired theme settings, can be recited by me and my students in our sleep.

However, they set the stage and remind us all about the important safety rules of communicating appropriately.

This would happen in my brick-and-mortar classroom as well. We started off every day with our pledge to ourselves, our classmates, and our classroom. I thought I would never forget it, but as soon as I typed that “we started off every day with our pledge to ourselves,” it left my brain.

I remember this and this only, “Today is a new day.”


Okay…So, today is a new day. I don’t remember the rest. Let’s use my mom’s favorite euphemism to explain this, “I had a senior moment.”

Other moments students expect are scheduled ones. They love the familiar.

It helps shy ones pop out of their shells and veterans shine.

After the guidelines, we move on to the agenda.

Yep. The same. Every time.

1. Warm-up

2. Goal

3. Lesson

4. Recap

5. Questions

My warm-up is typically a mini-lesson. No need to bore you with the details, but I try to do something familiar for my students.

Maybe we had a probing question that now has an answer and I can share.

Maybe we focus on a struggling skill that I noticed over the last week’s composition conferences.

Maybe it is the random question I came up with at midnight, as I was tweaking the PowerPoint.

I just like to warm-up the students.

Maybe they just woke-up and need a wake-up call.

Maybe they are about to hop in bed and need to burn off their last bit of energy before they hit the sack.

Speaking of rousing, my lovely teammate, and fellow blogger, Anna Peacock-McLaughlin, enlightened me with the idea of the goal-of-the-day as well as, recap and questions. The students and I love sharing our daily goals from folding laundry, to avoiding mom because she wants to read your essay, to attending back-to-back class connects so procrastination wins over work, or maybe just wanting to “hang with their favorite teacher and peeps.”

By goal time, most students have graced us with their presence or Blackboard has finally allowed them in the classroom, and we can get the party started.

The lessons vary, but they usually revolve around some alliterative phrase created in five seconds. Let’s review my last five Class Connect titles,

“Grammar Gallery”

“Anecdotal Antics”

“Raise Your Rhetoric Right-hand and Repeat After Me”

“Powerful Prepositions”

“Victor Verbs.”

If they aren’t alliterative, they rhyme.

Take, “Revising Cookies for Rookies” or “Rubricicious Judicious with a Hint of Delicious, for example.”

Don’t even ask…

I “got” a problem…literally…here’s another title,

“Getting Sick of Get and Gotten…Got it?”

So, I admit. I make titles up just to bring in the numbers…it’s all about the title.

After the title has been made-up in a matter of five seconds, I spend the next five hours determining how to tie it into my “real” class connect topic.

Maybe I need to work on my time management.

However, I am a classic consistent doer.

My lessons are not glamorous, however, I try to make the slides pleasing to the eyes, and follow some sort of theme.

One of my personal favorites…I played doctor and prescribed my poor writers some WWS SKILLS.

“Write On My Graffiti Wall” – We “tagged” each other with our best writing skills.

I am pretty sure I listened to Pandora© Radio while creating this PowerPoint.

Talking on the microphone, writing on the whiteboard, discussing in the chat box, showing off our new haircuts on the webcam, and occasionally using the polling tools, are the expected norms in Mrs. O’s class connects.

I am not a fan of the “dog and pony show,” rather real conversations and real teaching.

Take this chiasmus…”You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can trick an old dog.” Right? Agree? No…

How about the spoonerism “hiss and lear?”

You know…”Listen here?”

Oh, that’s right. You don’t speak Mrs. O.

You would only understand if you attended her class connects.

You show up.

You make it part of your routine.

You learn her system.

You trust your teacher.

You participate and you give yourself to whatever silly title Mrs. O has planned for you.

Wrapping up the class is as important as setting it up. Since Mrs. Anna Peacock-McLaughlin, my pal, introduced to me this idea last year, I end all classes the same way.

For the recap, we share with our peers “What you learned, what you loved, what you will try.” It is easy and because the students know it is coming every time, I like to think that they prepare themselves for that slide every time.

Subconsciously, they might say…”Hey…there I go. There is what I learned. I’ll be sharing that with the class later. Note to self.”

The great Jim Henson said, “[Students] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

Be consistent in routine, so you become that trusty teacher they remember for all times.

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  1. can you do a post on ‘creating a schedule’ and be really descriptive please? i’m too much in need. im an icademy studnet, really unorganized. Help me.


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