I know he’s lying to my face.
He made the assertion. He’s standing there boldly. He must have been told that sustained strong eye contact is the superior way to do it.
I call his bluff. “Oh, you wrote in your planner? Show me.”
He opens his mou – “Don’t you dare lie to me again, or I’ll write you up.”
“I didn’t do it.”
“Well, you better get started then. Bell’s about to ring.”
It’s something insignificant. A benign attempt at laziness. If a more challenging child had done the same thing, I might even have made light of the situation. “Okaaayyy, I hope you wrote down that you finished a book and you (whisper voice) liked it.”
But I didn’t expect it from this one. I know it’s a normal childhood thing to do. I was a terrible liar. My mother would stare me down and my lip would quiver. I would try to forge a signature, but it was so obviously written carefully. Determinedly. The shaky, loopy font couldn’t possibly belong to any self-respecting adult. Certainly not my mother.
Maybe it’s good to test whether you can lie effectively. The early failure prevents you from practicing. I remember once when a Kindergarten student told me “your eyes are lying to you,” rather than taking responsibility for dumping his juice on the floor. The difference was that the Kindergartener believed it. He thought his version of events was truth and mine was fiction.
My student today knew what he was doing was wrong. It’s what made it so easy to tell that he was fibbing. So even though his deception felt disconcerting, even sinister, at least we agreed that we exist in the same universe. One where you should fill out your planner even if you don’t feel like it.