A New Teacher’s Dilemma*

Interesting situation that connects to my own research on the perception of authenticity of teachers by their students in which a distinction can be seen between being true to yourself as a person and being true to yourself as a professional.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In her first year of teaching English in a middle school where 90 percent of the students were minority, Elsie had planned a lesson that had students rotating through five stations answering different reading comprehension questions at each one. She floated around from station to station answering questions, clearing up any confusions, and making sure that the students were on task.

At one of the stations, Elsie had written the question: “If and when is it appropriate to lie.” The students at that station were talking about the question when Elsie arrived. Damion, one of the African American students in the group, asked Elsie–who is also African American–if she smoked weed.

“It was obvious that he and several other students expected the answer to be yes,” Elsie had written in describing her dilemma. She said honestly: “no.” She felt, however, that the students thought she was lying. She tried to…

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