How do we trust?

A teacher started a new job at a primary school.  At the end of the previous term, one teacher – a veteran of twenty years at the school – had been arrested and subsequently charged with serious child pornography offences.  The school had arranged large-scale counselling for all the pupils, full school assemblies addressing the issue and individual class question-and-answer sessions.  The pupils were not told precisely what the teacher had done, only that he had done something very bad.  The new teacher, in her first week at this school, had to answer the pupils’ questions.  One young boy asked her an incredibly advanced and difficult question.  He asked:


“If we trusted him and he did this bad thing, how do we know we can trust you?”


  • How on earth could she respond to this question?
  • How would you respond?
  • What can an answer to this question reveal about the nature of trust?

4 responses to “How do we trust?

  1. A question like that needs to be answered honestly.
    The teacher should tell the student that anybody can abuse trust. Be that as it may, you should always be open to trusting people in spite of the consequences because in a world where nobody trusts anyone, everybody is disconnected from everyone else and then there would be no love in society.
    I think trust is when you give you are truthful to someone and assume what every they communicate to you as truth.

  2. I’d tell the student that one bad case (where the teacher broke the student’s trust) does not make a rule. There are so many people in the world, its ridiculous to assume they are all the same. The odds are that not everyone can be trusted (as proven by bad teacher) but nor should nobody be trusted… for there are also good examples of people being trustworthy. Its a mixed bag. Therefore its not black and white, you just have to take your chances. You’ve just got to decide whats the better option for you; to trust and possibly get hurt, or never trust and therefore never have any meaningful relationships.

  3. The reason why the student doubted the new teacher was because of that student’s past experience of the ‘bad teacher’. I believe that trust comes with time; you trust a person if they have proven to act consistently on their values.

  4. I partially agree with Melanie; trust develops over time, and certainly it takes time to trust someone if you have been wronged before. However, there are degrees of trust, depending on the circumstances and the intimacy of the relationship. If I fly, I trust that the pilot will fly me safely to my destination, to the best of his ability. That is a trust that comes naturally and without further consideration. If the plane were to crash then my expectations of flying might be diminished, but I would not because of this never trust a pilot again.
    Trust has to be earned in personal relationships. The closer we are to a person, the more intimate the relationship, the easier it is to break an established trust.

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