Obligation or Opportunity?

Join other teachers each Tuesday,  and share a slice of your life.
Join other teachers each Tuesday, and share a slice of your life.

I say, “Yes.”


Leadership commitment? KMWP commitment? Pedagogical passion? Can’t say no? Need to feel important? Techy nerdiness? Need to be refueled?

I don’t know. The school year ended. Post planning ended. And here I am checking off the boxes of commitment/obligation. I am slicing about this to find myself, to find my attitude that I need. Let’s see…

Curriculum planning–check. Data retreat–check. More curriculum planning–not yet. Tech integration–still working on it. Tech eds and tech eds lesson blog–nope.  Plan lessons for elementary and secondary KMWP–in process. Rest and relaxation–not yet. Summer time with family–not yet.

When I am at a meeting or planning, I do try to be present in the moment and get what I can from the experience. Right now I have to remind myself of the words my principal shared earlier this year, words that he got from Jon Gordon, the author of The Energy Bus, a book I blogged about earlier.

“I get to…” Jon Gordon says we can shift our perspective/mindset by changing “have to” into “get to.” I did try out those words earlier this year, but I couldn’t seem to find the conviction needed to truly make the words sincere. “I get to grade this pile of essays.” “I get to collaborate.” “I get to polish this work that isn’t good enough for me.” “I get to stay up late and figure out how to differentiate.” “I get to try to figure out how to reach the summit of this unclimbable mountain.” I think I just inserted the “get to” into my sarcastic tone. I guess I just wasn’t there. I guess I didn’t shift a few other words to shift my attitude. I’m going to work on that cynic that resides in me. That’s a good project for summer. I get to try not to be such a cynic. Yup. Now, let’s see what this looks like tomorrow, this week, and next week. Maybe if I move each “I get to” forward until I get through next week that will help.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up, and I will remind myself of the “get to” attitude.

  • I get to help adapt curriculum.
  • I get to infuse technology.
  • I get to help make my school better.
  • I get to have a voice in what happens at my school and in my district.
  • I get to learn from others.
  • I get to collaborate.
  • I get to be a part of a model classroom technology initiative.
  • I get to grow.
  • I get to do a lot of stuff early in the summer, so I can rest later in the summer.
  • And Wednesday, I get to leave for Girls’ Weekend (yes, my husband corrects me–you’re not girls and that’s no weekend–he calls it Ladies’ Half Week).
  • I get to drive up to the lake house on Wednesday with one of my favorite GW friends.
  • Then, I get to leave for a day to go to TechEds.
  • I get to have a break from all those women I love, and I get to have time to myself.
  • I get alone time in the car listening to whatever I want to hear.
  • I get to go to my nerdy fun place and hang out with my TechEds group.
  • I get to go back to my girls for sun and fun and great company.
  • I get to go out on a boat on the lake if I need more “me” time.
  • I get to plan to teach some cool stuff for KMWP to teachers of a neighboring district.
  • I get to teach and learn with  teachers from many different schools.
  • I get to make extra money for all this school stuff during my off contract time.
  • And after next Wednesday, I get to toss aside my pedagogical hat for awhile and  spend time with my hubby and kids and do fun summer stuff.
  • And I get to buy something cool with some of the money–hey, that Apple Watch looks pretty snazzy.
  • Interesting how the simple shift in wording helps me move forward and transform obligations into opportunities. I get to write/slice to appreciate life. I get to share with teachers who slice, too.

Get to or have to?

Obligation or opportunity?

The choice is yours,

With each task,

small and large.

Choose wisely.

Enjoy life.

5 thoughts on “Obligation or Opportunity?

  1. Michelle Haseltine just shared a book titled The Crossroads of Should and Must a week or so ago. It touches on your ideas here, too, Maya, but in a sort of larger way, even changing what you do. I like your idea, shifting the perspective, but sometimes it is ‘have to’, isn’t it? You’ve started me thinking, especially this week when I am writing evaluations that “have to” be in by a certain time, instead of enjoying the summer days. Soon!


  2. mrssokolowski

    I love this post and I feel that shifting from “I have to” to “I get to” invites gratitude into your daily to-do’s. I was reminded of how privileged and special it is to have a secure (for the moment- I am in NY under Governor Cuomo’s swinging ax) teaching position. A friend of mine who taught with me all year and has been in my district for 4 years is being asked to interview, along with many others, for two positions available. What a gift to not be put under that scrutiny and anxiety about having to prove, in front of a panel of principals, why you are a good teacher at the end of June in a class that is not yours. My heart breaks for her and I hope upon hope that she will be selected, but her process and your post reminds me that I should complain less about what I have to do. I get to be in the classroom with third graders each day, a job I have dreamed about and feel destined to do. How fortunate and blessed I am to get to do all the teaching tasks that need to get done and get a paycheck that helps my family. I hope you find all your “get to’s” rewarding and thanks so much for sharing this perspective!


  3. I am tormented by this issue even in retirement. It is so hard for me to just enjoy each moment without thinking ahead to the moments to come. It’s hard to just BE. I’m going to take a look at the book that Linda and Michelle recommended in their comments.


  4. Love this attitude! Even for all the times I complain, I absolutely am thankful that I get to work at this wonderful job, that I get to live in this wonderful town (in the middle of nowhere…), I get to stay here with my three children while my husband lives and works many states away for six months… But I also needed the reminder to just enjoy the present. Thanks!


  5. Pingback: Mentally Tough Teacher | Meandering Maya

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