This was a response from my dad that frustrated me to no end as a child. We would ask, after he made a request of us, "Do we have to?"
His reply was always, "No, you get to!"
I understood where he was going with his response then and gained a somewhat greater appreciation for this response as a parent. However, as a teacher, I have renewed and even excited passion for this phrase.
Recently, it seems the students want to check and see if I'm really serious with my request of them. So, I reply with my serious tone and face that they don't have to do the activity but rather they get to. I want them to know I'm not trying to be smart, but rather that there is an alternative.
Finally, today, one of the kids asked me, "Mrs. Green, why do you make it sound like we have a choice when we really don't?"
Ah, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived.
What followed was a wonderful and sincere conversation about attitude, perspective, and how we handle things that come our way.
It was one of those moments where a few kids look at you like you're crazy because something in their life keeps them from seeing the positive side of things. However, you could see the light bulb turn on for many of the students.
Those are the teachable moments. The kids didn't learn a thing at that specific moment about English, but they did hear a lesson about keeping a positive outlook and perspective is everything.
Sometimes it's not about the standards we teach but the lessons the kids learn.
Thanks for the lesson, Old Man. I know it will continue to frustrate and enlighten children for many years to come.