Thursday, April 26, 2012

Being Open and Honest

door(Today’s post is for the letter O in the A-Z challenge.)

I have always believed that it was important to be open and honest with my students. At the beginning of the year, I would tell them this and try to be true to my word. Yet, I always had a disclaimer. I told them that I would not discuss any sex, drugs, or illegal activities of any sort. I didn’t feel that I was willing to risk my job in a discussion of these topics in any way.

My students were very curious about my life. Sometimes they would test me and ask me questions that many teachers have lied to them about. Let’s face it, unless you are a pathological liar, students can tell when you are lying or if you are insincere. They ask me if I drink alcohol and I’m honest with them. I drink but I drink in moderation and I won’t drive at all if I had anything to drink. I don’t feel that I am wrong in being honest with them about this because drinking alcohol is not illegal. Some of my colleagues are horrified that I was honest with my students about this. What if they had seen me at a grocery store buying beer or wine? Wouldn’t I be modeling hypocrisy to them?

I think being open and honest with my students is very important. If I don’t want to answer the question, then I just tell them that I feel it is too personal and I will not answer it. I feel that it is important to show them that it is okay not to answer certain questions if I feel uncomfortable answering them. It is much better than lying about my answer!

I feel my students respect me more when they know that I will be open and honest with them.

We have had a lot of important discussions where my students have really shared with me their feelings about having a disability. Many have said that they didn’t feel comfortable sharing this with other teachers because many of their teachers tell the students that they are wrong for feeling this way. Or they are told that things will get better or all they have to do is work harder, study harder, try harder and their disability will disappear. I basically tell them that they have a disability and they need to learn to figure out a way to succeed in life with this disability. I don’t try to ignore the disability or make the students feel like it is their fault they have a disability. I think some of the reasons some teachers lie about dealing with a disability is because they are uncomfortable with disabilities and they don’t understand them.

I think it is so important for teachers to be open and honest with students. If you can’t answer them honestly than be honest enough to say that you don’t feel like you can answer the question. Don’t avoid it or lie. That is the worst thing that you can do.

How do you feel about this in the classroom? Please share.

mage: 'مرگ چون پرواز است'

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