What do you do when a kid cheats? Or worse, steals?
I am away at a conference right now (it’s super cool, but that post will have to wait for the week to be complete), and I made sub plans for 4 days. I had a folder for each class for each day. Seating charts. Annotated keys. I left cocoa for my sub as a thank you.
Tomorrow the kids are taking a midterm. I know it’s more than awkward to have them take a midterm when I’m not around, but they know exactly what the problems are and have spent the past two months working with them. Each day was planned out with review problems like ones they had seen before to practice and a full key to check their work with at the end.
But that’s not the distressing part of this tale.
Today after school some students talked a custodian into letting them into my class, at which point they took a book (I don’t know which one) off my from stand and some papers out of my desk. One of those papers has been identified as a test given last week. I’ve not been given a clear picture of what happened next, but it sounded like the custodian realized he’d been led astray and reported the incident to the VP. I worry that they took more than was seen, as I know exactly where my key for the midterm was located. At this point in time, I don’t know who the kids are, and a part of me never wants to.
It’s such a breech of trust. It’s such disrespect to the dignity of the class. It’s compounded because I know teenagers; two did the deed, but how many were in on it? How many know, but will never say a word. And if these kids are willing to lie to an adult in order to steal from another adult they see every day, what will they be willing to do when they get older? That’s the real problem I have with the culture of ‘don’t snitch’. What do kids who get away with cheating now do when they are older? Clearly their integrity already doesn’t mean much to them. Will they go on to cheat at other things? Cards? Significant others? The secondary mortgage market? Maybe it’s old fashioned, but a person’s honor should mean something. I cannot comprehend their actions so I feel a bit at a loss to repond to them.
I’m completely re-writing the midterm tonight. In the daily emails I send home I’ll be letting parents and students know what happened. But beyond anger, I’m heartbroken. I work so hard to build up trust in my classes and try to connect with my students beyond the superficial student-teacher dynamic. To have students do this tells me how badly I failed at truely connecting with them.
Too much to think about. I’m not entirely sure how to deal with everything and I’m glad I have until next Monday to think about it. Right now my thoughts have too much vibration to them. Typing this out has helped calm down my physical vibration (I don’t respond well to strong, negative emotions). I work hard to not respond emotionally to students. They deserve to work with an adult. And that’s what I keep reminding myself: I am the adult, I am the adult, I am the adult…