To a teacher, it's like a slap in the face. But not the refreshing wake up call kind. The kind that can be interpreted as "What you have committed your life to and have a passion for seems totally meaningless."
The word "seems" is my interpretation, on purpose, because they really mean "is totally meaningless" but I refuse to take it that way. I have used many responses in the past but since this is a family blog I will not repeat them here.
I teach at an all male high school so what I have used recently has developed from their possible interest in sports. It begins with a question (don't most interesting things?):
Do you play a sport?
"Yes. I play ______."
(If they say no, I ask if they play an instrument and change the questioning accordingly)
Excellent! Are you preparing for a game soon?
"Yes. We are getting ready to play _______."
Oh my, they are pretty good. Have anything special planned? I promise not to call their coach.
Smiling. "We have a few things that may take them by surprise."
Really? Isn't that extra work? Why don't you just do the same things each week?
"Well, coach saw some things on film and thought this may help us win the game."
Wow! Are you going to use them again next week? Next year? In college? In the pros? Why would you waste all that time? When will you ever use those again?
"Oh man! Anyway, this is different."