Sunday, November 23, 2008


Ackh! It's a few weeks until the students have to start thinking about and studying for (cough cough) finals. For the past couple of class periods in precalculus I haven't really gone over new material since they were getting ready for a test on graphing all the trigonometric functions. Instead of not assigning homework, I decided to assign OLD topics and grade on accuracy instead of just completion like I normally do.

The first assignment was on function notation, and the current one is on function composition. I gave them the stern teacher face of "don't show up and say you don't know how to do it. Look at your old notes and look at the book examples and look at the web, but LOOK and recall and do something for yourself." Gee. My face is expressive.

Anyway. I was giving the graphing test on Friday, and the homework was due, but I didn't collect it until after the test. Some students finished early and were doing various things. Two friends started to look suspicious. I saw one pass back a paper to the other. Then I saw the other surreptitiously copying her paper. Crap. I walked over and quietly said, "do not do that! That is a zero for both of you. Do your own work.". I was so mad. First for her doing it, and equally for thinking that I'm so oblivious, that I can't notice what's going on.

I debated talking to both after class (I didn't). I had the whole speech prepared in my head about how once you lose someone's trust, it's very hard to gain it back. But I settled for the unhappy glances their way and the ignoring of them and a total change of my demeanor towards them after the test was over, and we were going over other concepts. I'd had a hard enough week, and I didn't want to deal with more stress.


  1. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Don't you get SOOOOO brassed off when the little sweethearts pull a stunt like this? I think you handled that really well.

  2. I take cheating as an insult to MY intelligence. How dare you THINK you can get away with that!

    How is now? I'd love to hear what the follow up is. What are the consequences?

  3. I had 3 in an AP course cheat while I was standing at my doorway talking to an administrator. They were talking SO loud, that other students (who were ticked off that they were being so blatant) turned them in. Plus, I saw them and heard them do it. They tried to "cry" their way out of it by saying they violated my trust and blah blah blah. I'm still mad about it - these kids thought that I'd never actually hold them accountable because I've known them since they were 12. I made them split the lowest grade between the 3 of them. I said, "You worked on it together, you should share the grade." I think they'd have preferred a zero or a disciplinary form.

  4. Anonymous8:21 AM

    Ackh! Bunch of poos. I like the splitting of the grades idea.

    During tests, I walk around and make sure eyes are not wandering and cheat sheets are not used. I rearrange my "grouped" desks into neat spaced out lines. If I catch someone (it has not happened but less than a handful of times in my 11+ years), I take away their test and they get a zero.

    I have had students skip on test day; they get a zero.

    For the homework cheating .... I haven't outwardly done anything, but now my manner and attitude has changed towards these girls.

    Ms. Cookie

  5. I also give out zeros on tests, homework, and classwork when I catch students cheating. I will not let them make up the assignment either. I like the idea of giving students a zero if they skip the test day, but teaching middle school, I think I am pretty limited to this. If I ever teach higher level high school courses where students are more responsible for their attendance, I will definitely implement this.

    I think I want to work on changing my communication with the students if I catch them cheating. I want to make sure the students know how much they have disappointed me. I think this will work well with the students that tell me that I am their favorite teacher.