The official website of educator & arts patron Jack C Richards

When the Teacher Doesn’t Know the Answer

Question:

Submitted by Elham, Bushehr, Iran

How do you respond when someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer? Should a teacher say he or she doesn’t know the answer?

Dr. Richards responds:

I suggest where they can look to find the answer. Teachers are not walking encyclopedias. You should be frank and say, “I’m not sure of the answer to your question but let me check and get back to you on that one.” Students appreciate teachers who are honest and who accept that they still have things to learn.