Thanks to Row for the title of this post.
I was teaching this guy a few weeks ago. We were getting on fine but he must have picked up on the fact that I wasn't quite telling it how it was. He turned to me and said, 'Look Tom, I've paid my money so tell me the truth ok. I'm rubbish aren't I'.
That got me to thinking about teaching. It is a subject I am very interested in anyway, and I have watched a lot of people over the years trying to pass on information to their students in various different ways.
There is a bit of a tradition among a section of American horse trainers that they are slightly blunt, almost rude, or sometimes, downright rude to their clients. This is justified by the argument that you have paid your money so you deserve to be told how it is. I once heard a trainer tell this girl, 'You think you have good hands don't you, but your hands are rubbish. Your horse will hate your hands.' I don't like this approach at all - and I'm not so sure it's about helping the student learn, so much as making the teacher feel Big and Powerful. But on the other hand, and this is where I do worry a bit, I know I like people to like me, so it's not good tactics for me to make myself obnoxious, even if I do feel it is the best way to pass on the information my client is paying me for.
I am getting better at telling the truth. If I think it will help then I will say it, but I do still go out of my way to be as polite as possible. It's just a terrible ingrained habit that we English people have.