The biggest tale of hypocrisy


For the past one month in school, I have become a stricter teacher  than what I ever have been . I repeatedly tell  the children in my class (often to their dislike) the various ways in which ‘good and smart people’ behave. I have given rewards for positive behavior and consequences for negative behavior , in a bid to condition the kids of my class into what is considered as socially accepted behavior. It is a famous adage that to preach, one has to lead by example and I believe that this applies to a teacher more than anyone else . When you are responsible for the development of 40 odd students who look up to you , it becomes inevitable for you  to show them how it is done, be a true leader.

Unfortunately in this exercise , I realized that my ideals ( other people refer to them as idiosyncrasies) are quite opposed to what I expect ( or more of  what I am expected, as a teacher) from my students. For instance, I never believe in having a bath in the morning. A bath should be fine anytime of the day as long as it is taken, but according to some people ( read mother) , this is highly indecent. I also never believe that you need to be dressed immaculately and precisely, because in my random opinion, it makes you a rigid person, not open to ideas. I also do not believe you need to sleep at 10 pm in the night and wake up early and study in the morning. I also do not believe that you need to sit in a place quietly, without moving and study without the occasional chit chat with your friend sitting next to you. I don’t believe in organization , and I actually like things disorganized because I find even in chaos , there is a pattern. Many of you might conclude that I have acquired these ideals due to the time I spent in a spoilt environment( read IIT hostel) and might even label these as  wrong habits. On the subject of what is right and what is wrong, I would strongly urge you to read this rather absurd post of mine and give it a thought.

So what should I do in such moments of conflict? A parent came to me the other day , and complained about her son not having a bath in the morning before coming to school everyday. She asked me to advise him and correct his ‘indecent’ behavior. I literally chuckled when I heard this. ( The parent assumed I was laughing at the child, luckily and could not see the real reason for my chuckle). I put on a straight face , and told the kid , “You know why I am always energetic and never sleepy. That is because I have a bath everyday in the morning.That is what smart people do, if they want to learn more and not be asleep in class. ” I lied through my teeth. Although I am not proud of it , I am not ashamed of my act either . Three days later, the parent comes to me and thanks me for my advice, which had apparently brought a change in the kids habit. I told this to my mother and she wishes I had a teacher like me.  😛

This is the simple strategy I have adopted in my class and it works to a large extent. If I have to make kids do something , which I don’t agree with , but certain stakeholders do, I simply become a hypocrite and a liar. I simply make them believe that I have done the same thing every single day of my life. I tell a tale so convincing and with such conviction that I find it hard to believe it myself that I don’t agree with the very same principles. The words of a famous doctor came to my mind:

Words of wisdom

Let us face it.  Everyone is a hypocrite,  in one way or the other. Why not out it to use to effect what is considered by many positive change in kids , so that they can lead what is considered by many as a better life.  Leading by example is too tough and sometimes in contradiction to the values that I developed , that I cherish, that I do not want to give up. Hypocrisy is the only solution to my problem . All that I need  is to be careful enough to hide my real principles away. Not a difficult job for a hypocrite.

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8 thoughts on “The biggest tale of hypocrisy

  1. Siddhant says:

    Awesome dude.. This was a real interesting post 🙂

  2. Is it good for the kid that he started taking bath everyday only in the morning. But that was not his preference to begin with? It was what his parents wanted him to do.
    Does it make the kid any more better suited for the world? Does it make him smarter or stronger or healthier or more ethical?
    I still think you should preach “what you believe in”, if not “what you practice”. You could tell him “Taking a bath early in the morning will make you feel fresh throughout the day. And you won’t feel as sleepy in the class”. A logical and persuasive argument may not be as effective as leading by example, but I think it is the right thing to do. Don’t you?

  3. ashwinknan says:

    Yeah, I totally get it. This was intended to be a satire , but apparently it is not such an obvious one at that.

  4. Ashish Vora says:

    What happens when your students read this post ? 😛

    • ashwinknan says:

      I assume at some point or the other they need to learn being hypocrites, so reading this might be a good start to them and the first time I shall have led by example .

      It actually is quite paradoxical. Teaching them to be hypocrite , not by leading by example, but by being a hypocrite. But then you are actually leading them by example by actually being a hypocrite.

  5. Ojas Patil says:

    An important question you will have to think out for yourself is, what will you teach your own son/daughter?
    Here will you consider yourself (and your views) to be the majority stakeholder, or will society be the major stakeholder.

    • ashwinknan says:

      Excellent question. I was surprised why no one asked this earlier. I would never impose my personal value set on anybody. I know that my values work for me because of some inherent traits in me, which I cannot be certain everyone has. My very reason for letting kids have their basic principles ride with those of the society is that I believe it will make life easier for them in the short run. There are bound to be rebels, and in the long run, I will definitely have everyone figure out their own values and principles. And it applies even to my own son/daughter, if any.

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