Monday, February 16, 2009

When students lie...

One thing most teachers hate is being lied to. Worse than being lied to is being lied to repeatedly. Worse than that is the student who sticks by his/her lies.

Back in May of '96 I was disappointed by such a student.

Perhaps one good thing to come out of the occasion was some insight and a poem (which I discovered today in an old folder):

A String of Lies

When I first discovered his lie,
I thought backward:
When had today's lies begun?

He said,

Teacher, I have to pee.
I have to pee real bad.
I couldn't use that restroom: the floor was wet.
I couldn't use that bathroom: I just couldn't pee.
Okay, I did use that bathroom, the second time I tried: I peed.

I thought,

He had to go so bad that it took him three tries in two different bathrooms?

And then he met the girl.
And then they made goodbyes.
And then he returned to class… until the summons came.

Well, he stuck to his lies from first to last, even with the vice-principal.

Oh, maybe he didn't kiss the girl in the hall afterward.
Oh, maybe it was just a hug.
One maybe, in a string of lies.

No admission of anything of course, and certainly no remorse.
One honest eye-witness but many denials.
A forced apology: soul-less and insincere.

When I first discovered his lie, (Three tries to pee?)
I thought backwards:
When had his lies begun?

Before today, I'd guess.
Before me, I thought.
And that helped.

And then I thought forward,
When will his lies stop?
When will the truth begin?

Or will it?
With me?
With whom?

And then I thought,
Does he believe his lies?
Does he see the string?
Does he care?

Well, wherever he goes: there he'll be.
Creating a string.
A string of lies…
And broken trust.

Until he sees.
Until he cares.

1 comment:

  1. As a pastor I hate it when people lie, as sometimes they do.