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?
My mom is retired now but she taught public school for about 40 years and my father is also retired but he was an Episcopal Priest. Before you judge negatively believe me when I tell you that both of my parents raised my siblings and me with very secular values. My mother would have told the child politely that her personal beliefs were not her business. I don't think it is appropriate for teachers to lie nor should they discuss things with students that should be discussed by the child's parents instead.
What I would briefly say, and what I have said to my children is, not to believe something just because somebody says so or writes it in a book. If a thing is true, then there will be proof for it. Question everything.
As far as lying to kids ... yep, i have. Once when my son was very little and he wanted to go to the park. I was pooped that day so I told him that the park was closed..