Assignment 5c. Cheating in School: My Personal Story

Cheating in school (Image credit: Please claim this if it’s yours.)

Cheating in school varies from copying off your best friend’s test to full-blown copying and pasting in your school final project. But it doesn’t stop there. We all have friends who cheated or cheated ourselves- maybe not in final exams but copying off your friend’s homework for some participation marks is nothing unheard of. What’s troubling is if we cheat, we don’t learn.

But what would lead someone to cheat?

Some possible scenarios (Personally experienced the first three myself):

  • After spending HOURS on the work, it’s accidentally deleted minutes before it’s due
  • You forget your homework at home & and the teacher doesn’t believe you
  • Half the class is cheating- why should you get lower marks than the cheaters when you worked hard
  • I have to get into the university of my choice
  • Parental pressure- ‘My parents will kill me if I fail another exam.’
  • Plain laziness

The list goes on and on and on.

My Personal Story

Note: The names of the people involved are changed to protect their identities. 

I grab two pens from my pencil case, my palms cold. My palms always get cold before tests. Mr. Stone, the grade 10 Hospitality and Cooking teacher hastily hands out the midterm test papers.

“Don’t cheat,” he mumbles, staring into space. He hurries out the door.

Wow. It’s almost as if he’s encouraging everyone to cheat. Shalini and Katrina openly exchange answers. I scan the room. I see three girls copying from the textbook across the room, giggling. The two guys in the corner are practically writing each other’s papers. It’s team work all the way.

Shalini taps my shoulder, “Want some answers?”

“No, I’m good. I’d feel way too guilty if I did.” I stare at my paper, “Besides, I actually studied.”

Shalini shrugs, “You’re pretty strong to say no.” she smiles encouragingly.

She asks me some of the answers- Of course I help her. She’s one of my best friends. How can I say no?

“Katrina, the answer to number five is braising, not boiling.” Shalini murmurs.

Katrina swiftly jots down. Shit. I wrote down boiling. I scratch out my answer, correcting it to ‘braising’. So much for feeling “way too guilty.”

I gaze across the room at the clock. 5 minutes left. I glimpse at Shalini and Katrina. They noisily scribble down answers. I sit back in my seat, contemplating my moral dilemma.

I wrestle with the two voices inside my head. It’s an inner-monologue of an overly tense teenager in test taking anxiety.

It’s just a cooking test! Just ask the answer for the last question. Screw honesty! It’s not like  you’re Ms. Perfect.

Maybe, but cheating is cheating. Your parents would be ashamed if they knew. Is this the kind of person you want to be?

No… But is it fair for the cheaters to have an upper hand? You’ll get lower marks than the cheaters. That’s NOT fair!

I grumble, staring blankly at my paper. My writing looks like chicken scratch. There’s so many words crossed out, it looks like some kind of crazy, intentional pattern. I flip my paper over and rest my head on the wooden desk.

cheating school kids

To Cheat or Not to Cheat…

A funny video about cheating.

Okay, so in the end I did technically cheat in that cooking test since I crossed out my answer from ‘boiling’ to ‘braising’. By some miracle, I still ended up with a better grade than Shalini and Katrina in that test. Will I ever cheat now? No. There’s no need. I  feel proud when I’m honest with myself. Everyone is capable of achieving  greatness without cheating, so why cheat? Just reach your potential! Besides, failing a test makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. Maintaining your honesty and character does. I finally know something now I didn’t back then.

cheating in school, homework

Education should NOT be only about grades. It’s about knowledge. It’s about applying what we learned, even outside the class room. The brightest person doesn’t always get the best grades. Sometimes, your memory fails you. Sometimes, you have a shitty day and can’t focus. I think school and college education is there to shape us into critical thinkers. There are classes where I felt I learnt nothing where I got 80s. There are also classes where I got 60s (Math) but learned a whole lot, though I struggled. Our education is to teach us to think critically and to question and challenge common assumptions. Even if you don’t get the best grades in class, you can still achieve great things. Just look at Bill Gates! He was a college dropout, just like Steve Jobs. But their inner drive to succeed and innovative thinking is probably what made them into some of the richest billionaires.

On a side note, Steve Jobs gives credit to what he learnt in his college calligraphy class for helping him form the typography for Mac computers. It just goes to show it’s what you make of your education that truly counts!

dad doing child's homeworkHave you ever cheated in school? Why? Why is there such a overwhelming emphasis on only grades in our education system? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and ideas!

education Assessment Comic - Climb tree

Assignment 4d. Bill 78, The Anti-Protest Bill: Oppressing Freedom

What if the women’s suffrage movement never occurred? What if Gandhi’s nonviolent protests against the British rule never happened? Or Rosa Parks’ Montgomery Bus Boycott? These are examples of great positive change that only occurred because of peaceful protesting. What if our very right to protest was taken away? The right to protest and assemble ensures our freedom. If we lose our right to oppose, we’re inevitably living like puppets with no control over what’s most important to us

About Bill 78, Quebec’s Anti-Protest Bill

518 people arrested by police during the protest against Bill 78

On March 18, 2011, students learned about the Quebec provincial government’s plan to raise university fees by 75% (a staggering $1,625 tuition hike). Students opposed the LARGEST tuition increase in Quebec’s history. On April 27, 2012, the Quebec government offered to expand the tuition hike over a span of 7 years, though the tuition amount still remains unchanged. The student groups rejected the dissatisfying offer. The protests continued.

In an attempt to stop the growing number of student protesters, the Quebec government officially passed Bill 78 on May 18, 2012. They were hoping it would be the end of the student protests. It wasn’t.

As a university student, I support anyone protesting against tuition hikes, anywhere. Everyone knows educations is a RIGHT- but when only the rich can afford it, what the hell is the rest of the world supposed to do?  It’s bad enough balancing school and work, living on minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet and drowning in debt by the end of your university education.  When Canada can spend $1.1 billion on the G20 Summit, why can’t it reduce tuition prices? Or at least stop the tuition hikes.

Bill 78 forbids more than 50 people from assembling, picketing and protesting near University grounds, or the rest of Quebec, without notifying police about all the details prior to the day of the protest.

The fines for disobeying bill 78 include:

  • $1,000-$5,000 for individuals
  • $7,000-$35,000 for student or union leaders
  • $25,000-$125,000 per day for student or labor organizations
  • Fines doubled for second/subsequent offenses

 Bill 78 is nothing but another way to shut people up– Last time I checked, Canada is supposed to be a free country

Even if tuition hikes doesn’t effect the older generations, Bill 78 certainly does. People are not sheep to blindly follow any new law. Everyone should have a voice and a role in shaping the law. After all, the law is meant to protect the people, not oppress them. 

250,000+ Against the Anti-Protest Law in Quebec

Visit for the video transcript.

The passing of Bill 78 resulted in Quebec’s largest illegal protest. More than a quarter million people participated in the protest against Bill 78. The protesters were not only students, but from all walks of life. 

While I was browsing through some comments on a Youtube video about Bill 78, someone mentioned this famous poem (poem originally in relation to the Holocaust). I think it speaks volumes about the whole issue surrounding Bill 78.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller, a pastor who opposed Hitler and  the Nazi regime

If we don’t stand up for others’ rights, who’ll be there to stand up for us? Maybe that’s the logic behind Quebec’s largest illegal protest- it’s to protest against oppression itself.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments are always welcome!