There are at least three points of irony that I can find in this story. Let me know if you can find any more.
On Monday, I caught two students (we’ll call them A and B) cheating on a paper. Basically, it looked like one of them had written a paper and the other had taken it and modified it…enough so that I may not have noticed they were way too similar for nothing fishy to be going on except that 1) They were right next to each other in my stack and 2)Both of them made comments(repeatedly) about the American Revolution being between the States and France. France. No wonder they revolted!!
So I pull the students aside on Wednesday and said, “I’m interested to know why you guys turned in such similar papers.” I showed them the overlaps, and they both swore they had no idea why they had happened. The strange thing was, I had the sense that they were both telling me the truth. I knew that something had to have gone wrong, because half of the points in the paper were verbatim the same, but I also thought that they were both telling the truth.
I took the papers home, looked at them again, and decided that one kid (A) must have written the paper and B must have gotten ahold of it somehow, cut parts out, and turned it in on his own. It also just so happens that B is something of a wannabe gang banger…I think he’s actually a good kid, but he has that LOOK, if you know what I mean. I’m not racist, but he looked like the type of kid who would try something like cheating, just to see if it would work. To be fair, though, I decided that I’d rather err on the side of mercy so as to not punish someone who wasn’t guilty. I was going to tell them that I’d grade the papers this time, but that if I saw anything like this again, they would not only be in trouble for that indiscretion, but for this one as well.
Then, last night, the night before I have them in class again, I got emails from both of them. Turns out, they both had crises the night before the paper was due and freaked out. They went on the school’s bulletin board system and both found the only student paper that they had access to (they’re not supposed to have access to each other’s papers for reasons like these), copied it, made a few changes, and turned it in to me. In a stack. With B’s on top of A’s.
When I finally figured out what had happened (including the fact that, when I had approached them on Wednesday, I had asked them just about the only question I could have asked where they could tell me the truth and still not get in trouble), and wrote them emails dictating the appropriate discipline, I laughed. And I’ve told the story all day, and many other people have laughed.
This goes to show you, boys and girls, that God hates cheating.
I love my students. If only because they provide comic relief for my life, I love my students.