“Can I Use the Bathroom?” and Other Public School Memories

Nice intro-spectionals

Dysfunctional Literacy

My daughter told me this week that she asked her teacher, “Can I go to the bathroom?” 

Her teacher said, “I don’t know.  Can you?” 

Some things never change.  40 years ago, we asked the same question, and our teachers gave the same response.  I’m sure 40 years before that, students and teachers did the same thing.  I’m sure nothing will change 40 years from now. 

One side of me knows that precision in language is important, but another part knows that a teacher has to be kind of a jerk to use the “I don’t know, can you?” response.  This isn’t being judgmental.  If anybody deserves to be a jerk without being judged, it’s a teacher.  I’m sure teachers at some point became tired of explaining the difference between “may” and “can” every time a kid asked to use the can, so this was a short, snide, and sweet…

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