I Blame the Teacher (Updated)

I was enjoying my not-so-healthy healthy lunch—Baked Lays and a Diet Coke—when I overheard a conversation between two guys as they walked down an otherwise very quiet hallway. I looked up to see two seemingly average college students: sweatpants, hoodie, baseball cap. Neither was dressed very warmly, but it was the first semi-nice day in a long while so that’s understandable. What intrigued me was not their clothing, but their topic of conversation.

“The questions I got wrong were the ones I copied and pasted the answers to.”
“Yeah, I copied and pasted and I got them wrong too!”

I can only assume they were discussing a previous assignment or test on which they scored poorly because of their lack of judgment. I don’t know what class this was for or who the guys were but I give props to that professor.

Every student who glances through a syllabus at the beginning of a semester at UNK (and most other schools) will see an “Academic Dishonesty” section located toward the back of the syllabus. Academic Dishonesty is a fancy word for cheating which, I’d venture to say, all students are acquainted with. If they haven’t cheated, they know someone who has and have looked the other way. A lot of teachers are basically doing the same thing. I won’t say all teachers because that’s not fair. Some do a great job, like the aforementioned copy-and-paste catcher. But there are those who say they are trying to prevent cheating when they are really just turning their head in the opposite direction. Here is where the blame lies.

I know, I know. It’s not just the teachers fault. Shouldn’t some blame lie with the student? Obviously, yes, but that’s like blaming a 6-year-old for putting your cell phone in the fish tank—he knew what he was doing was wrong but he did it anyway. Nothing will change if it’s left up to students to stop themselves from cheating. A 2002 CNN article reported about 75 percent of high schoolers cheat, and you can pretty much bet on that transferring onto college.

We all know teaching isn’t easy and when you’re faced with a bunch of kids who are thinking about cheating, it’s important to lay down some rules. These tips can save teachers from a few cheating catastrophes—and possibly a few headaches.

Walk around the room while students are testing. Test days may seem like opportunities to get grading done but when teachers are concentrating on grading homework papers, students know they aren’t concentrating on them. Teachers should get up and take a stroll around the room. You don’t need to stop behind a student’s desk and make them nervous. That’s just rude.

When a student is caught cheating, don’t make it a secret. Teachers have to make sure the other students know that they don’t take this stuff lightly. If caught during a test, rip the test in half–the more dramatic, the better. Nobody wants to be embarrassed like that.

Be suspicious. Too many students get away with cheating because a teacher may not want to accuse them of anything. An “accidentally” open binder is there for a reason. Walk over to the binder and close it. Remove extra papers from a desk. The student will know why you did it and if it turns out they weren’t cheating, then at least you’re being cautious.

So there you go. Follow these simple rules and you’ll have academically honest students in no time! Alright maybe not, but perhaps they will learn to steer clear of cheating. It’s like I always say, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.” OK, full disclosure: I stole that from Sophocles.

 

So there you go. Follow these simple rules and you’ll have academically honest students in no time! Alright maybe not, but perhaps they will learn to steer clear of cheating. It’s like I always say, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.” OK, full disclosure: I stole that from Sophocles.

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About sambates

UNK student, Mormon, Vegetarian View all posts by sambates

2 responses to “I Blame the Teacher (Updated)

  • alisonlerae

    I disagree. I don’t think it’s fair to put the responsibility on the teacher. If I student wants to try and get away with cheating to just get through a class, they’re going to try and cut corners later on in life. At some point we have to stop being high school students and turn into young adults. Cheating is childish, and if the student keeps that mentality, they’re going to have to confront it in one way or another.

    I liked the beginning- starting the column with a conversation you witnessed. It made me feel like I was sitting there with my Baked Lays. It kind of threw me off though, when you started talking about tips for teachers. I thought you were going to talk about how idiotic those students were.

  • skylardyan

    I like you’re view that teachers should be aware of how easy they make assignments can make cheating a better alternative than studying.
    Although, sometimes while I’m taking tests (and not cheating) the teacher stares across the classroom. I’m not going to lie-it’s creepy. It’s like someone is probing your thoughts and really, it gets distracting. I think there has to be some balance of supervising and creeping on students!

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