I caught 3 students cheating on my final project this trimester and it was disturbing. I followed protocol, which includes commenting on the incident in PowerSchool and contacting their parents. Additionally, I should give an option for another project that is worth a significant percentage lower than the current one but this all happened the last day of class.
Out of the three students, I emailed one’s parent and called the parents of the other two. When talking to the last parent about the incident she asked why he did it? Unfortunately I didn’t know. Shoukd I have asked him? Was I too quick with my 0%?
When coincidentally bumping into the student, right after I got off the phone with his mother, I asked him why. He hesitantly replied, “because you wouldn’t help me even if I asked.” Wow! I immediately argued in defense but in retrospect he was right. I had challenged this student to work independently and use his critical thinking skills so much the opposite happened and he looked to survive in my class and pass by any means necessary, hence cheating.
I learned a few things from this experience and they are as follows:
- Use occassional check-ins with students to see their understanding, their motivation level and lastly their courage in seeking help from others especially the teacher
- Always follow up eith the parent/guardian when academic dishonesty is the case.
This student, his mother and I have grown in understanding each other and I hope the student feels more comfortable in asking me for help in any other subject.