Saturday, October 17, 2009

Handling A Cheater

I caught Mickey trying to cheat on this week's exam. The first thing I did was move the girl he was cheating from away. I don't think she wanted to give him answers, but, Mickey can be a little frightening and she was probably afraid to say no. Then, instead of yelling at him and taking away his exam I sat next to him and said I was disappointed that he did not have enough confidence in himself to do the exam by himself. I told him that I watched him all week, saw his classwork and the problems he did at the board and I knew how good he was at the stuff we were doing. I kept pushing my belief in him and my belief that he failed in the past because he never really wanted to do well.

Instead of getting angry at being caught, he smiled at me and started working on his own.

I haven't looked at the exam yet, but I know he beat the 9 he got on the last test and he answered almost all the questions.

It's going to be a rough year with Mickey and I am still not sure how it will end up but for now, he is coming to class every day and on time. He's not working all period, but he is working and going to the board to do problems. And, I don't have to tell him to take his hat off anymore. I might actually succeed with this kid but I'm not getting my hopes up yet.


ChiTown Girl said...

See, and THIS is why you get those awesome emails!!!

Noel said...

It's sad that your enlightened approach is not more widely shared. Instead it seems that the trend is toward criminalizing more and more behaviors, so that no one even stops to ask why someone might be cheating.

I think this is all very much part of a continuum that extends through notions of "intellectual property" that are threatening to make us prisoners of our own minds. Creative expression is strangled by draconian interpretations of copyright. People die of treatable diseases thanks to cold-blooded application of patent laws. Academics fear collaboration lest their ideas be "stolen", and educators turn into plagiarism police whose focus has shifted from the meanings and the thoughts behind words to the legalistic question of who "owns" the ideas.

It's great that at least some people like yourself are still able to avoid this madness and simply help people, giving them the benefit of the doubt that they want to learn and grow, not "steal" and cheat.