On cheating

So over the weekend, I sent out a bunch of emails to local schools, asking if they’d like for me to come visit and speak to some classes.

Then yesterday, I do a post on bullying, and I mention that I let people cheat off my tests in seventh grade.

Not my smartest move.

(Not that I got called on it or anything. I’m just saying. This is one of those things that occurs to me in the middle of the night.)

I despise cheating. I don’t even like cheat codes in games. (Except The Sims. You totally need more Simoleans to set up a sweet pad.) It feels like a lazy shortcut. If you’re going to cheat, why bother?

In Spark, one of the Merrick brothers gets caught cheating, and he has to deal with the fallout from that. He has his reasons (just like I had my reasons back in seventh grade), but it’s still wrong.

Have any of you been caught cheating? Have you ever cheated and gotten away with it? How did you feel about it?

Later this week, I’m going to do a post on working with an editor. (Hi, Alicia! *waves*)

8 thoughts on “On cheating

  1. One of the bullying parents I’ve been dealing with this year began to be a problem when I caught her son red-handed cheating on a test. She came in and told me that he “didn’t understand” the test was over. I informed her that I had much greater faith in her son’s intelligence level than to believe that. Ever since, she’s been raising Cain.
    Just yesterday, the dance teacher informed me that she’d had her kids work a week in the computer lab on research papers on famous dancers. When she graded the papers, she did a very cursory check for copying and found that 10 out of 38 kids had copied and pasted their essays from one of two sources. When she gave those kids zeroes, parents began coming unglued over it.
    I’ve been teaching long enough to tell you that almost any kid will cheat — for many different reasons — if giving the opportunity to do so.

  2. I plagiarized a paper in 4th grade. I’d forgotten about the assignment and simply copied out of the Encyclopedia Britannica. My teacher knew right away and gave me an F. I learned two things from the experience: (1) don’t plagiarize and (2) stay on top of your assignments. When I was growing up, I didn’t have my parents hovering over me asking if I’d finished my homework, if I had any upcoming projects I needed to start on, etc. So I learned at age 9 that I was accountable for my own work. We cripple our children now by “helping.” Lisa’s examples above prove this if looking around any classroom in America doesn’t. We’re all raising “Cain” in many ways: kids who expect to be rewarded for work they haven’t done.

  3. One of the frustrating things as a teacher is how many school administrators aren’t willing to fight the battle against cheating. Luckily the school where I am right now takes its Honor Code very seriously. In a certain school where I taught a YA author you might see every once in a while (in the mirror), I had a girl turn in an essay on a famous mathematician that still had the automatically printed Encyclopedia Britannica copyright at the bottom. She hadn’t even bother to remove it. The response from the administration was that it was just too difficult to police those kinds of things, and that it couldn’t be considered a disciplinary offense because it was strictly academic.

  4. OMG! The stories about cheating from a teacher’s perspective just blew me away! I can’t believe parents would stand behind their kids cheating. What a shame. I’m firmly of the mind that kids need to learn to fail, including consequences for their actions. It’s maddening to think that other parents don’t feel the same way.

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