Teaching Tip – You Have 3 Choices, Always

I’ve been extremely busy this month with work, Script Frenzy, an AQ course that I have been taking online, and other personal obligations. So today, I reworked an earlier post from a few years back. It’s a really good one that you can use to help your students make good choices in life. I hope you find it helpful.

The Power of 3

Three summers ago, I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It is an inspiring book and I have taken one of his ideas and made it fit for the classroom.

Tolle tells us that all of our problems in life are simply situations. How we react to these situations is what causes the drama and pain in our lives. He goes on to tell us that there are three things we can do in every situation. The three things are; we can accept the situation, we can fight to change it, or we can run away.

I presented this model to my class to help them make wise and safe choices. I demonstrated it with a personal example. I related to them a time when I was outside doing a duty at recess time. I had to deal with a situation where a student swore at me.

1) I could accept this and let her swear at me. I don’t need to let words bother me. Who cares if she’s swearing at me?


2) I could take her into the office and make sure that she sees the principal for her actions.


3) I could walk away and just ignore her.

Of course, before you make any decision, you should think about it, weigh the pros and cons, and then act. Once again, three things.

1) Accept it – If I let her swear at me. She will think it is okay to show disrespect. Other students might see this and begin to show disrespectful behaviour to me as well. I don’t deserve to be treated this way at school and probably shouldn’t put up with this behaviour.

2) Change it – I can take her into the office so she realizes how serious this is. The principal will make it clear that she needs to be respectful and not swear at school.

3) Walk away – If I walk away, I am actually giving her permission to swear at me. Maybe she will realize it was wrong, maybe she won’t. It could keep happening.

So now I have weighed my options and can safely chose to go with number 2. It is the best decision. Of course this model is overly simple. I could have changed it several different ways. I teach my students that the best decision is a fair and respectful decision to both parties. Taking her to the office is fair, respectful, and safe. Once again, three important things.

We should all be able to remember the Power of 3.

3 things to do in any situation (Accept it, Change it, Walk away.)

3 ways to make a decision (Think about it, weigh the pros and cons, and then act.)

3 ways to know if you made the right choice (Is it fair, respectful, and safe?)

I might be overly simplifying Tolle’s message but I really think this works. It is a great model for making decisions. It is easy to remember. It helps us to realize both sides and make a fair, respectful and safe choice.

Don’t forget to check out all the other great Teaching Tip posts. The Table of Contents Page has them listed by order of appearance and by theme for easy surfing. Enjoy!

4 responses to “Teaching Tip – You Have 3 Choices, Always”

  1. Hi Chase .. that's great that you're teaching this in class .. it's definitely what we need .. there's too little respect around, or too little care about others and too little listening to others needs.

    The simple way you've approached this is great .. threes – the power of 3 .. definitely .. enough, but not too much.

    Good for you .. thank you – Hilary

  2. Hi Hilary,

    I got a comment on Twitter about this post that said I just passed the problem off to the principal in my story there and that I should have taken more ownership of the problem.

    Of course, the office isn't a place I normally send the students. I think it works better if I can deal with it personally.

    The problem is, the kids know that we teachers don't have lot of power. Other than detentions or homework, I can't do much and some kids just don't care.

    It's hard being a teacher in this day and age but I do my best and I try to teach the kids about more than just the academics.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Chase .. crumbs .. people don't relate or think to what's being said do they?

    It's all very well having instant this and instant that .. but we still need to be in that position to think ..

    Oh dear .. and yes frankly doing anything with anyone else is so difficult these days! Let alone reprimanding them & trying to teach respect, care etc for others .. so that they can benefit later in life ..

    Good luck – and all the best – Hilary