TeacherLingo.com is an educational community where teachers share their worksheets, lesson plans, printables and other original teaching resources.

Teaching Resources created and sold by real teachers.

Login to TeacherLingo.com        Create Account on TeacherLingo.com
Visitors are welcome to view but to post you will need to register first. Registration is free and only takes a minute.
Please remember to follow our Terms of Use.

Can You Handle The Truth

Last post 12-29-2018, 5:37 AM by KristineWatson. 3 replies.
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  •  01-28-2008, 7:21 AM 32507

    Can You Handle The Truth

    As an educator I am glad that I have had the opportunity to touch the lives of my students. I am also very happy that I have had the chance to speak the truth to them about their abilities and point them in the right direction. Here is a story that that I posted on my blog at www.behavior-management.com about the truth.

    One of the things that I’ve noticed today in society is that everyone has a problem with the truth. I don’t mean we walk around lying all the time, but we are always afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or becoming entangled in some sort of confrontation with the person we are speaking with or better yet the person we’re living with. Sometimes we are concerned about someone’s reaction to us so we bend the truth or poke around trying to figure out what that person wants to hear. It really starts to become a problem in personal relationships when couples are afraid to make their desires known for fear of a break-up or a divorce.  People can have a problem with the truth on the job, when a supervisor might worry about an employee’s reaction to a poor performance evaluation; in education a teacher might be worried about a student’s or parent’s reaction, and then could easily award grades that are not in line with the student’s performance.

    When I was in high school my guidance counselor called me down to his office and pulled out my grades. He said, “What do you want to do when you’re through with high school?” I told him that I didn’t know, and then in the next breath, thinking that I had to tell him something other than the truth- that I wanted to be a bartender, I told him that I wanted to be a lawyer. “A lawyer,” he said, pointing to my grades, “These are not lawyer’s grades. If I were you I would start to think about doing something else.”  I walked out of his office, and wasn’t the least bit offended. I didn’t even think about going home and telling my father that my guidance counselor said I wasn’t smart enough to be a lawyer.  I never said one word to my father. You know what? The guy had actually told me the truth, and the truth really did set me free. I started to look honestly at my abilities, and I was able to acknowledge the fact that I hadn’t worked hard academically for my first three years of high school.  I started to really think about my future realistically.  My guidance counselor made me take a hard look in the mirror, and come to terms with what my abilities and my attitude really were. He told me the truth, and I appreciated that. 

    Well, in 1977, my father sold the bar, and I became a teacher that same year. I really enjoyed teaching. I was a special educator so I didn’t always have the cream of the crop when it came to my students. In fact, my students were usually the worst behavior problems in the school and could really get to me on some days.  But overall I developed relationships with the kids, and things seemed to always go pretty well. As I progressed in my career I noticed that things were changing. I was expected to put up with more and more behavior problems, and everyone was giving me some excuse for a kid’s deviance. The catch phrase that seemed to be in vogue about 20 years ago was, I really like this kid, but I don’t like his behavior. Was this the truth? I don’t think so. Is it really possible to like someone and not like their behavior?  The truth is we don’t like the person because of his behavior, and people need to be made aware of this in a considerate way. A person is his behavior, and the two can’t be separated. I can give you the names of people who are well known in society for absolute deviance, and you tell me if you like them, but not their behavior.  Let’s try Charles Manson, Scott Peterson, Jeffrey Dahmer, or even Adolph Hitler. Can anyone not like their behavior but still like them as people? No, we don’t like them period.  The perception we have of a person is based on his behavior. The truth is if the behavior is not likeable we probably will dislike the person. People need to know that if their behavior doesn’t change, then others won’t want to develop meaningful relationships with them, and ultimately won’t like them.

    Very recently a student came into my office (I was working as an interim principal) and began to discuss with me what he wanted to do after he finished high school He wanted to be a doctor That is a terrific goal for a young person. Well, I asked him what he scored on his SATs. He told me he scored about a 400 on each section.  I was thinking in my mind that a perfect score is 800 on each section, and a pretty good score would be about a 650 to 700. I knew something right then and there; he wasn’t going to be my doctor. I proceeded to pull his grades out and found that his math and science grades were C’s and D’s. I of course wanted to respond with the same question that my guidance counselor asked me. Do these look like a doctor’s grades? But, based upon the culture and society’s norms I couldn’t ask that question. I immediately directed this student to the entry requirements that colleges have for their pre-med program, and ultimately medical school. He discovered the truth on his own, and came back to me and thanked me for helping him realize that his study skills needed improvement, and that he needed to take and re-take the college boards. The truth made him aware of his own weaknesses and how much harder he was going to have to work in order to achieve his goals.

    Society seems to want to withhold the truth and make everyone believe that they are smarter than what they are and that their behavior is based upon circumstance, their environment, or lack of therapy or medication. Facing the truth about my abilities and my work ethic put me on track and helped me choose a good vocation and helped me to understand how I needed to improve my work ethic.  Subsequently, instead of floating through life unsuccessfully from one job to another, I worked hard in college, graduate school, and then as an employee. So the next time your kids come home and say that their teacher told them that they have to work harder, or their work is unacceptable, or that their behavior is unacceptable, or they better consider going to a county college rather than Dartmouth, thank that teacher for doing something that is a rarity today- speaking the truth.  

    <a href="http://behavioral-management.com">for more about Jim
    Burns http://behavioral-management.com/</a>
  •  03-27-2008, 7:18 PM 47405 in reply to 32507

    Re: Can You Handle The Truth

    Ha ha, this is awesome I couldn't agree more with what you have stated. Society controls a lot of things and our society is too tabou on many issues.  Honesty is one.  I think that is awful what students can get away with at my school without much for a reprocussion.  People need to learn early what they are going to be able to be. With a ton of work yes students can become anything they want to be. However, students/people need to at least here the truth because it is sad that I can't even call a parent and tell them their child behaved rudely without being told I must be a bad teacher or I should be able to handle them better (of course it is my fault that the student doesn't respect adults...). I just wanted to say that I agree!
  •  08-20-2018, 11:10 AM 909949 in reply to 32507

    I was reading

    I was reading an essayhave.com review and i saw your post's link there and came here.Your blog is so good for teachers.My friend is a teacher, I'll tell her about this.
  •  12-29-2018, 5:37 AM 911205 in reply to 909949

    Re: I was reading

    Its true and for the first time I got to read such realistic post.There are very few people who can handle the truth.Just keep posting more relevant stuff.Thanks. My team of madisonwhoswho really likes your post.
View as RSS news feed in XML