DEAR ABBY: I'm a busy, 72-year-old substitute teacher in the elementary grades, and I do my best to make a difference with the limited time I have to spend with each of the many groups of students I teach in various classrooms.
I realize that I look older than other teachers and, every once in a while, a student will ask me my age. It may be an inappropriate question, but these are youngsters who may not have learned about such sensitivities. Ignoring the question doesn't make it go away and undoubtedly would puzzle the student who asked it.
Is honesty the best policy in such cases? I'm open to suggestions as to how to best handle this situation in the future. -- AN ARIZONA SENIOR
DEAR ARIZONA SENIOR: There are certain questions that are considered rude to ask. A person's age is one of them. If these students have not been taught that lesson at home, then it falls to you as a teacher to enlighten them.
Your answer should be, "My dear, that question is inappropriate and should not be asked of someone who is an adult." Say it gently with a smile so it does not seem like a rebuke.