When you don’t know the answers to the test questions and you ask the person next to you, that’s cheating.
When you copy the answer off the people sitting next to you, that’s cheating.
When you text a classmate and ask them the answer that’s called cheating.
When I tell you it’s not ok to copy or get the answers from another and you tell me that you didn’t do that, that’s lying and cheating.
In todays, public high school classroom, cheating is very common. Many teachers have learned not to see it because not seeing it makes their lives easier. They don’t have to make a phone call or explain to a parent why a test grade is a “0” and have the parent insist their child doesn’t cheat. We humans all believe what we want to believe for good reason or at least we think it’s a good reason. Protecting one’s job, keeping one’s sanity, are good reasons to avoid acknowledging what is happening around us.
I wish I didn’t see so many students resorting to old-fashioned cheating sometimes with new technology, but I’m a witness. Children often cheat. People cheat. Lying about it or not seeing it doesn’t change what it is.
After a day of witnessing rampant cheating, I confront my son and ask him,
“Have you cheated on a test?”
He hesitates. I prepare for the answer I know will follow. I know he is going to say, “yes.”
He knows I am full of righteousness and he knows better than to lie. “I did last year, all the time. . .”
The pause and the silence tell me that if he cheats this year, he is not eager to admit it. I know it’s possible.
I tell him, “If you don’t know the answers and get an “F”, that is an honest “F”. It’s the grade I prefer. Cheating is wrong. I don’t want you to do it. You are cheating yourself when you resort to that method of getting by. It doesn’t feel good. It’s a temporary fix for ignorance. It’s a cheap fix. Do your own work. Rely on yourself. It’s ok not to know everything. It’s never ok to cheat.
I remind myself that at least he didn’t attempt to deny it or toss out a bald-faced lie.
Boldly announcing this to the world may not set well with everyone. I’m ok with that. I’m actually a little peeved that cheating is so common and there are so few consequences. What are we really teaching our children?