I'm a 6th grade Social Studies teacher.  The topic of religion as a part of culture comes up all the time.  Today during a discussion of Greek myths, a student (a 12 year-old girl with a sweet smile) asked me if I believed in god.  I paused and said, "Well, sure."

I felt that I was having a discussion with a child about Santa or the Easter Bunny.  I didn't want to be the one to tell the child that all the adults in her life have been lying to her.

This has been bothering me all day.  When this comes up again - I'm sure it will - should I lie as I did today, or should I tell the truth?

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I think you should tell her gently that different people belive in different things, and that it is really personal question what you cannot discuss in the class. On the other hand, if I would have been there in your boots, I might have said that I'm atheist, and if you want to know what it means you should talk with your parents. :)

We had teacher for a while when I was about 11-12 and she discussed with us of satanism. Where were really interested, but this all happened in secret not in classroom. And the girl might be kind of unstable, since I seem to recall that she belived have seen demons, or something stupid like that.

Our neighbor has a 13 year old boy. HIs mother once told me that Baran likes me and my sister so much because we are only persons who talks to him like an adult person (except his family). Than I noticed that when I speak to him he really listen to me pay attention what I say.He respects me.

 All children are already atheist. We make them to believe in god in time.

If I were you I wolud tell the truth like telling a grown up person

Kids of any age certainly do not enjoy being talked down too. I agree with your last sentence.

While I cannot know all of the circumstances you face (what the social pressures are like in your community, does the school administration support the teachers or does it attempt to impose conformity, etc), given nothing what you've told us I'd not lie to the student. At most, I'd tell them that that is a question I am not allowed to answer in class. If they ask why, I'd ggive a very brief overview of the secular principles in play, then get back to the main lesson. You could probably tie in the Greek gods to the bit on secularism, talking about how some people believe in one god, some people believe in other gods, and other people \don't bellieve in gods and the secular part is to keep people from using the schools to push their particular beliefs.

Do what you have to do in order to keep your job.  However - you can also make your position very clear by how you say what you say.

Children absorb and take seriously what is said in a solemn tone or with great enthusiasm.  So, be enthusiastic about evolution, the natural body processes, etc.  Be as boring as possible when having to mention anything that has to do with creationism or Intelligent Design.  They'll get the picture. 

When confronted directly with questions, you could always say, "We're not allowed to talk about that here" all secretive and whispery.  Likely you'll draw a blush from the child, so quickly move on to the next topic. 

"...be enthusiastic about evolution, the natural body processes, etc.  Be as boring as possible when having to mention anything that has to do with creationism or Intelligent Design.  They'll get the picture. ..When confronted directly with questions, you could always say, 'We're not allowed to talk about that here' all secretive and whispery."

A lot of christians think passive-aggressive verbal manipulation is okay too, to present their agenda.  It's not.  This is devious and unacceptible no matter the subject.  If you can't answer a simple question without trickery, why answer it at all?

Unless you are prone to any sanctions, simply tell your pupils the truth. The girl you mentioned did not ask you whether there be a god, but simply whether you personally believe in the Christian god. So what should be wrong with telling her what you truely believe?

She asked you what you believe. There was no need to lie about that. It might not be appropriate to insist that no god exists but you are perfectly at liberty to answer this question with honesty. 

The best time to tell the truth is at your retirement party.

Tell the truth, but leave immediately after :-)

I think you should tell the truth. 6Th graders should be able to understand people think differently and I would hope by that age they understood differences in religion or beliefs.
I think it might also be good for the kids to see a positve role model that doesn't belive in god.
But it is a thin line and unfortunately some patents get bent.
I really think being honest could even help kids that might think that not believing in god is something wrong with them or something they need to hide too.
Good luck. Hope I helped a little.

Tell the truth, but tell them it is a highly personal choice.  You will teach them all to stand up for what they believe, even if it's unpopular.  Hopefully it also teaches them to question, which should be the main focus of education anyway...

I hate being lied to, i was in 6th not to long ago, I wasn't dumb, most of them can probably handle it.


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