“Do I have to finish this assignment before recess?”
“Do we have to do the whole page?”
“Do we have to write in cursive?”
When the question is asked with a ‘have-to’ qualifier, it sounds painstaking as if the act of ‘having-to’ is such a chore that nothing but drudgery comes to mind. When my students ask me a “Do I have to…” question, I have a comeback line…”Ask me that exact same question but this time, replace the word ‘have’ with ‘get’.” The look on their faces are usually of genuine confusion as the question in their mind was formulated with ‘have’, so re-wording is often a challenge.
“Do I get to finish this assignment before recess?”
“Do we get to do the whole page?”
“Do we get to write in cursive?”
Oh my goodness…what opportunity! Their questions are now poised in such a positive fashion that self-realization is generally recognized. I look at my students with a big smile and respond, “Yes!, you do get to finish this assignment before recess!” “Yes!, you do get to do the whole page!” “Yes!, you do get to write in cursive!”
Internally, my students know they were required to ‘do’ the work I assign, but I suppose just like everyone else, we typically choose the path of least resistance. If we can ‘get-by’ with less, why ‘do’ more? That’s ok, but now any self-imposed negativity is removed from the question. I’m thinking that’s a great life-skill, seeking opportunity where none seemingly exist.
Tomorrow, I am scheduled to return to school and prepare my room for summer. The rooms are set to be sprayed with an atomizing disinfectant in a few weeks. No, returning to my classroom is not something I really want to do right now. Germs have me apprehensive about being in the very physical space that I have not occupied for over 7 weeks now.
I am breathing, I am here. I get to go to school tomorrow.