Sandra schmid has been a teacher for 19 years. Currently, she teaches a first grade class at the henneberg elementary school in garitz. Principal bernd czelustek brings 26 years of teaching experience to the job. For the saale-zeitung’s theme week, the two talk about how the truth works in everyday school life – even if it’s not always easy, of course.
For example, is a teacher allowed to look when children ask her if she used to copy their homework?? "Lugen always sounds so hard", says schmid and laughs. But, of course, she is in a dilemma: either she tells the truth in such a case and is not a good role model, or she lies – and is not a good role model either. "I have never been asked that before. But if, I would probably answer that I also once wrote off, but naturally regretted it afterwards." Admitting mistakes openly. A teacher should also.
Good reasons for a luge?
"The subject is much more complex than can be presented only in black and white. There are different shades of truth and lies", thinks czelustek. That’s why every case should be looked at closely. Does the teacher tell the truth? Is it perhaps a mistake?? He deliberately leers? Not every luge is the same as a luge, there are gradations. "Sometimes it’s just about getting attention, like when a child says ‘I’m sick’ in class", he says.
What about squealing or lying in distress?? Is it okay to report your classmate to the teacher or is it better to lie so that he doesn’t get into trouble?? "This raises the question of motive. Why is something told to you?", says czelustek. If it is only about harming the other person, tattletale is not okay. It is a different matter if the purpose is to prevent another bad thing from happening.
It becomes extreme when children lie to protect their parents. "The children get into rough conflicts", reports schmid.
Evasion is relatively common in the classroom, for example, when students have to explain why they did not do their homework. Some people pretend to be ignorant and claim that they didn’t know there was a homework assignment, or they blame others: "I often hear that mom didn’t put the worksheet in the book bag," says the principal, tells schmid. "Then I always answer: is this your homework or your mom’s??", says czelustek.
Learning to take responsibility for mistakes
"There are children who think they can get through life more easily with eyes", says schmid. Younger children in particular are not yet able to assess the consequences of their words. "We try to teach them not to be afraid of the truth as such," he says, declares it. It is better to admit to having done something wrong than to lie about it. It is helpful not to put the children under pressure, to give them time and to offer them the possibility of making amends. Schmid often observes that "many of them are willing to admit it and are then almost happy to admit it because of their guilty conscience." Czelustek agrees: "the children’s conscience is a reliable authority here."
To bring the truth correctly
Learning to tell the truth is one thing. Another is to learn how to speak the truth correctly. "Someone who tells the truth relentlessly all day long, soon nobody likes him anymore", says the principal. For example, if the food at grandma’s house did not taste good: is a little emergency lie appropriate so that grandma does not get sick?? Or is it told in such a way that she still feels that her food is appreciated?.
Philosophizing in class
The topic of truth is also found in the teaching. "The starting point is fourth-grade religion, when we talk about the ten commandments", says czelustek. Values education is a fundamental part of elementary school. Moreover, for some years now, "philosophizing with children" has been on the agenda in the curriculum. Such abstract and complex topics can be taught quite well to elementary school students, says schmid. Of course, it must be simplified. "One is to take real-life situations and let anyone who wants to say something about them." This often leads to good conversations that stick with the kids. "My experience is that they also tell such things at home", says the teacher.