However, in recent weeks a particular ugly specter arose which needs to be addressed. That specter in this case is called Lies.
One of the most infuriating things for me is knowing when teachers, administrators and other educational professionals lie. It may be a small white lie or a huge million dollar lie but it is still a lie. Lies cause a great deal of damage to any working relations. But, I feel the most destructive place for lies is in the classroom and a school. As teachers we are viewed as models for the students. Students watch every move we make and internalize what they are viewing.
Teachers are in a very powerful position. I had an intense discussion with a mentor of mine over this point. As a teacher we are put in roles of authority and often placed on a pedestal of "expertise and knowledge." Parents defer to us for our expertise and knowledge. What a powerful position!
There is an element of trust that is built between teachers and parents. Parents, including myself, place a great of deal of trust into the schools with the hopes that our children will be educated, respected, loved, and are kept safe. What a powerful position!
Is there anything more hallowed, more valued in any society or culture, than the sacred responsibility of teaching? Is any responsibility, besides parenthood, more important to our thriving than the shaping of young minds? As teachers we are given the responsibility to mold character, and to nurture the ability to make wise and valuable choices. What a powerful position!
The moment a lie starts then trust and power begin to erode.
Lying requires a lot of effort and energy to remember the story. A truth is much simpler to remember. When a person lies, especially a teacher or administrator, they are trying to hide, figure out a believable version of the opposite, give a convincing performance to sell that lie. Then they must remember the lie for the rest of eternity. Lies cause stress and anxiety. This is why the polygraph test is so valuable. The polygraph test picks up the subtle changes the body goes through when a person lies. For Behavior Profilers, who read body language, we are trained to notice the subtle cues of a lie and stress is one of the cues.
Why is Lying Wrong?
1. Lying diminishes trust between human beings.
2. Lying is bad because it treats those who are lied to as a means to achieve the liar's purpose, rather as a valuable end in themselves. Think how this is applied to a student. We expect the students to show respect to the teacher, but how do you expect them to show respect if the liar is disrespectful?
3. Lying is bad because it makes it difficult for the person being lied to make a free and informed decision about the matter concerned. How many parents have made decision based on false information. The Common Core Curriculum and the Race to No Where come to mind.
4. Lying is bad because its a basic moral wrong.
5. Lying is b ad because it corrupts the liar. Telling lies becomes a habit thus it balloons into other avenues.
What harm do lies do?
As I mentioned before a lie erodes trust and individual power. But, it also hurts feelings, others and society. Lies deprive a person of control over their future because they can no longer make informed choices, take a correct course of action and made informed decisions. Imagine taking that power from the student and the parent.
Remember the old Aesop's Fable the Boy Who Cried Wolf?
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, "Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!"
The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.
"Don't cry 'wolf', shepherd boy," said the villagers, "when there's no wolf!" They went grumbling back down the hill.
Later, the boy sang out again, "Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!" To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.
When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, "Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don't cry 'wolf' when there is NO wolf!"
But the boy just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.
Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, "Wolf! Wolf!"
But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't come.
At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn't returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.
"There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, "Wolf!" Why didn't you come?"
An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.
"We'll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning," he said, putting his arm around the youth, "Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!"
Once a lie is made the person who has been lied to because wary and any long term credibility is at risk.
I am rather exhausted shielding my children and family from the continuing lies perpetuated by the "experts."
Is Waldorf Education perfect? No, but they do have a level of standards for their teachers that is exceptional.
1. There are no Unions to protect the teachers. So, all Waldorf teachers enter their employment knowing they are "at well employees." Explanation on how teachers are evaluated may become another post.
2. All Waldorf teachers share their personal biographies with their students and their families. WHAT? Yes, a Waldorf teacher begins earning their families trust by sharing their personal biographies. It becomes pretty evident when the teacher's biographies do not match their real world.
3. TRUST!! TRUST TRUST! To earn the students and the families trust honesty is key. Rudolf Steiner even lectured on the importance for the teachers to be honest, genuine and their authentic selves. Rudolf Steiner recognized how destructive dishonesty was to children and lectured extensively on this subject. This subject is part of the Foundation courses in any Waldorf teacher training.