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

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4 thoughts on “Assignment 5c. Cheating in School: My Personal Story

  1. Hmm interesting topic. I was in a similar situation once. Grade 9, Phys Ed exam, all girls in the class. Me being the most in-

  2. Oops lost internet connection for a sec. Anyway, since I was the most un-athletic person in the class, I was depending on the written exam to get me a good grade. Lo and behold, I knew almost all the answers. I’m almost done with the exam, when I hear a low voice callin out my name; looking around the room, I see a couple of girls to my left staring at me expectantly. My brows furrowed? I give them a questioning look. “What’s the answer to number 12?” come the question in a hurried whisper. My eyes widen and I quickly glance at the teacher, who is sitting at her desk, busy reading a book. I shake my head, turn around and pretend I didn’t hear their question. A louder PSST catches my attention a couple of mins later, and they ask me the question again. I shake my head more vehemently, mouthing NO. They glare at me with cold eyes. I turn back around, write the last answer, hand in my exam and walk out of the room. Turns out they failed the exam. I nd up feeling a bit guilty, until I find out they got caught cheating in another class.

    Cheating is certainly more widespread than most of us like to think, and is certainly a lose-lose situation. You might get a buyer mark now, but what have YOU actually learnt? While I agree that exams are definitely not the best evaluation tool, they’re one of the most efficient ones. So unfortunately we’re stuck with them. I guess more vigilance on the part of exam supervisors might deter people, but not always. Although, now with some of the tools profs and teachers can use for papers and essays to ensure they aren’t recycled or worse plaigerized, that sort of cheating is probably less of a concern. It’s sad though, because there good students out there, who don’t cheat, but the playing field is made uneven because of the ones who do. You had a lot of courage to avoid cheating, and now admitting that you may still have indirectly done it.

    Wish more people had the courage to not give in and take the easy way out.

    • Actually, you sound a lot more braver than me. Honestly, my high-school self would probably have given in and just told them the answer (which is stupid) but you did the right thing. True, I think cheaters do have a tougher time copying essays- for instance, I hand in a NON-plagiarized essay and still get “15% match” in turnitin.com, mostly matching random common phrases and links. Thanks for reading and for your insightful comment!

  3. I like that comic at the end! It’s kind of saying that since we as people are a mixed box, why are we tested using the same methods. Just because someone is a top performer on the test, doesn’t mean they are they are the masters of the material. Interesting…well i had to adapt to all sorts of gruesome tests and totally messed some up but also did great on others. I’ve seen some major cheaters at college and have soo wanted to report them but I didn’t want to be responsible for getting them suspended or kicked out. Cheating gives me the jeebies, I cant do it either.

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