“You Have To”


Every once in a while I like to analyze what I am saying in the classroom. Most of the time it is sparked from what I hear other teachers saying when they teach. Then I like to try it out myself and see if I can word things differently to make words work better for me with my littles.

One phrase I have been hearing teachers say a lot to young dancers is “you have to (do something).” “You have to sit down.” “You have to go over there.”  If I am the child, I am thinking I don’t have to. That’s what the teacher wants me to do, not what I have to do. I don’t have to. Right? Do we talk to adults that way? Hmm, nope, I don’t think so.

So, I think the word please works much better! “please stand up. ” It’s firm and to the point and a much better way of speaking to young dancers.

What do you think? Do you use this phrase in class? Will you consider making the change? I would love to hear!

p.s. this works in parenting too! 😉 xo


  1. Hmm… I will try this and see how the response is!! You have to doesn’t often come out of my mouth when I teach unless they are old enough to know better…. But this is probably a better approach for all ages!

  2. I agree! Even though we need dancers to listen and learn from us, we want to create a fun and creative environment. It is a fine line. I do think if you can create a mutual respect, your dancers will listen and respond to you.

  3. Please is wonderful. Also helpful is the positive reinforcement of the dancers who ARE listening to you – “Thank you Ella for sitting down. Thank you Zoe for sitting down. Thank you Lulu for sitting down.” Not only is it positive instead of negative, it repeats what you want in a non-threatening, non-judgemental way….pretty quickly, the littles who AREN’T sitting down start to get it! =)

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