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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So today I was finishing up a reading packet about holidays with my first graders (age 7 I believe), and a kid had to share that she knew that people who celebrate Hanukkah don't believe in Jesus. The rest of the group had to immediately talk about their religion as I put away supplies, thank goodness they didn't ask me.

I really don't want to make it a big deal, but I don't want to lie to kids either. Brushing off the subject is only going to make them more curious. Kids can either be polite or not with this issue, especially when an Atheist/Agnostic kid is involved, and in the future I'm certainly going to want to help those kids.

What do you think I should do if this topic comes up again, and I'm directly asked about my religion? Should I just tell them the truth, then redirect? Is a white lie appropriate (I don't know if my Fi can follow that). Should I use it as an opportunity to push tolerance? (I could see parents getting annoyed with that). What do you think?
 

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MOTM June 2015
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You don't have to lie, but you can always redirect and avoid. I would guess that religion is probably not the only topic that will ever comes up that you have to avoid delving into. Most parents, I would include myself in this group, would not want the teacher talking to their kids about religion.

I am a Christian and I don't ever remember any of my school teachers getting involved in religious conversations with students. I believe it would be highly inappropriate. Plus, if you choose to share your atheism with students who are from religious homes, it may very well turn their parents against you. They may believe you are trying to undermine them and influence their children to take a path that many will believe is gravely wrong. I think it is in your best interest to avoid the topic.
 

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I've never met a teacher who couldn't avoid, or redirect personal questions with ease. I suspect it's because they have to do it so often. And I think you should get used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't have to lie, but you can always redirect and avoid. I would guess that religion is probably not the only topic that will ever comes up that you have to avoid delving into. Most parents, I would include myself in this group, would not want the teacher talking to their kids about religion.

I am a Christian and I don't ever remember any of my school teachers getting involved in religious conversations with students. I believe it would be highly inappropriate. Plus, if you choose to share your atheism with students who are from religious homes, it may very well turn their parents against you. They may believe you are trying to undermine them and influence their children to take a path that many will believe is gravely wrong. I think it is in your best interest to avoid the topic.
For sure going with the avoid/redirect route. You have to keep parents on your side. It's just kind of sad, I guess. Teaching tolerance/diversity to future generations is a way I want to serve the community, but maybe not with this subject quite yet. Plus the kids aren't really mature yet, so nuisance in opinions will be ignored.

As for the second scenario (I didn't really explain it as such) where it's religious kids vs. one or two atheist/agnostic ones, do you think I should get involved? Just shut the conversation down all-together?
 

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MOTM June 2015
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For sure going with the avoid/redirect route. You have to keep parents on your side. It's just kind of sad, I guess. Teaching tolerance/diversity to future generations is a way I want to serve the community, but maybe not with this subject quite yet. Plus the kids aren't really mature yet, so nuisance in opinions will be ignored.

As for the second scenario (I didn't really explain it as such) where it's religious kids vs. one or two atheist/agnostic ones, do you think I should get involved? Just shut the conversation down all-together?
I could be wrong, but I don't think most kids at that age would be really dogmatic in their beliefs one way or the other. I would eavesdrop and only involve myself if it became necessary (ie they lingered on it, or it looked like it could head into a disagreement). If it looked like it was heading into a heated or more than cursory conversation, I would just shut the conversation down.

The kids are not really old enough to have figured this out for themselves yet(agnostic/atheist/religious), and anything they spout at each other will be based upon what they have been taught at home. Trying to infuse anything overtly different, will in all likelihood be confusing to them. My .02 worth.
 

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Don't lie. You can simply say that many people believe different things. And it doesn't matter what we believe as long as we're respectful of the beliefs of others even if you don't agree. No need to avoid or lie.
 

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Tell them it's against the rules for you to say anything about religion.
Because technically it is.
IF they're curious, let them be, just make sure you tell them that they can't ask you.

Bam
Problem solved.
 

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So today I was finishing up a reading packet about holidays with my first graders (age 7 I believe), and a kid had to share that she knew that people who celebrate Hanukkah don't believe in Jesus. The rest of the group had to immediately talk about their religion as I put away supplies, thank goodness they didn't ask me.

I really don't want to make it a big deal, but I don't want to lie to kids either. Brushing off the subject is only going to make them more curious. Kids can either be polite or not with this issue, especially when an Atheist/Agnostic kid is involved, and in the future I'm certainly going to want to help those kids.

What do you think I should do if this topic comes up again, and I'm directly asked about my religion? Should I just tell them the truth, then redirect? Is a white lie appropriate (I don't know if my Fi can follow that). Should I use it as an opportunity to push tolerance? (I could see parents getting annoyed with that). What do you think?
Say that you think there isn't one right way to believe or not believe and that the children should come to their own conclusions and develop their own faiths or lack thereof as they grow and begin to figure themselves out and what they think their place in the world might be but that regardless of what they end up deciding, they should always respect and accept or at the very least tolerate those who believe differently than they do because everyone is entitled to put or not put their faith wherever they wish.

It's not a lie and it's not disclosing your personal beliefs so it's a win-win for you. :proud:
 

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I've done a bunch of my grad school work in education and development classes and the best response to this question I've seen is that its controversial enough that you will want to stay out of telling them your beliefs (just like politics with students). And just like you'd talk to them about politics - present all sides and try to let them critically think and form their own conclusions. Ends up being a good lesson in tolerance and diversity, too (which for that age group seems like the most valuable thing you'd get out of all that).
 

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So today I was finishing up a reading packet about holidays with my first graders (age 7 I believe), and a kid had to share that she knew that people who celebrate Hanukkah don't believe in Jesus. The rest of the group had to immediately talk about their religion as I put away supplies, thank goodness they didn't ask me.

I really don't want to make it a big deal, but I don't want to lie to kids either. Brushing off the subject is only going to make them more curious. Kids can either be polite or not with this issue, especially when an Atheist/Agnostic kid is involved, and in the future I'm certainly going to want to help those kids.

What do you think I should do if this topic comes up again, and I'm directly asked about my religion? Should I just tell them the truth, then redirect? Is a white lie appropriate (I don't know if my Fi can follow that). Should I use it as an opportunity to push tolerance? (I could see parents getting annoyed with that). What do you think?
If I were in your position I wouldn't lie or tell the truth. I would say nothing and tell them that I'm not going to answer those kinds of questions. For example, if they started asking about your sex life how would you respond?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
If I were in your position I wouldn't lie or tell the truth. I would say nothing and tell them that I'm not going to answer those kinds of questions. For example, if they started asking about your sex life how would you respond?
*in Capt. Picard voice*

Why do you know about sex lives? You're all 6 or 7 years old!!!

I hear you though.

I've learned very recently that at that age, they don't remember you not answering the question, and then they forget it was a question in the first place.

I also have learned not to trust my attempts at nuance at that age, nor to take things as personally.

Maybe part of it is that I still want validation as an Atheist, outside of my family and friends. It's not on my future students to give me that; that would be petty and selfish of me.
@Jetstream Aya, you can probably close this up. Thanks all for the advice :).
 

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I don't think religious topics in general belong in a grade school classroom, which kind of includes atheism. You could simply tell them to talk about it during recess or at home or whatever and that they shouldn't bring it up during class.
 
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