Thursday, November 29, 2007

Answering Personal Questions Asked By Students

A few years ago a new teacher came to me upset because the students wanted to know if she drank alcohol and if she believed in sex before marriage. I have heard the students talking about these kinds of things before. I believe in “honesty is the best policy” but I also believe that if I don’t feel comfortable answering the question that I tell them this also. I have admitted to drinking alcohol but that I believe in moderation. From this, we have had a lesson on alcohol abuse and drinking and driving. I never wanted to lie to them and then have them see me buying beer in the grocery store because then I would have no credibility with them at all. In the same fashion, I state from day one that I will not discuss sex or anything illegal with them and I stick to this. I do not want them to talk about sex issues among themselves in my class unless it is in a specific planned lesson. By doing this I feel that I am teaching them that there are appropriate places to have certain discussions. I guess I’m a conservative but I was brought up to not discuss certain things in mixed company. Many of us older teachers learned this from our parents but when students are growing up in a home where 2 parents are working, possibly in 2 jobs, sometimes the finer points of social skills go untaught. As teachers, we need be good role models for our students by teaching them honesty as well as handling tough situations appropriately and that it is okay to not answer personal questions.

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