Students and Cheating: the Reasoning Behind it all

All of the practices and activities leave barely enough time to get homework and studying done. This doesn’t always lead students to make the best choices.

Students and Cheating: the Reasoning Behind it all

Peyton Brownlie, S2 Journalism Student

The bell rings. Students take their seats, and the teacher eyes them all. They squirm in their seats as the teacher starts to hand out the packets of paper. Some fiddle with their pencils while others grab their calculators from their bags. The room is deathly silent.

Emily Grain (not real name), was amongst the students, fiddling with her nails.  Once the test was handed to her she looked down at it and became pale. She had not had time to study and was not prepared for this math test but had no way out of it. “I felt like I had no choice but to cheat,” she said. “I was going to fail if I didn’t.”

Students, like Emily Grain, struggle with managing their time. They are unable to fit in study times when they have different activities to get done during their days. Due to the unavailable time, they resort to other options to avoid failing. They don’t want to go home with a failing grade so the pressure builds up, and they retreat to cheating.

I felt like I had no choice but to cheat, I was going to fail if I didn’t.”

— Student

Emily Grain struggled with this problem and explained the struggles she went through before and after the dreaded math test. She is like many other students at Central. She’s in band, plays a sport, and has a job. Her afternoons are filled with sport practices and perfecting her instrument while her weekend is filled with her job hours. The time adds up and work starts piling up, stress starts to overflow and most students don’t know what to do. Grain, just like others, didn’t know what to do.

“Logically, I knew I could ask teachers for help or even extensions,” Grain said. “But I thought they would think less of me in their classes.”

Other students in situations like this have also expressed the fear of being seen as someone who isn’t as on top of things or someone who isn’t good enough for the classes they are taking. 

“I was actually caught when I was cheating,” Grain said. “It was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life and there were obviously other ways to go about the test, but I panicked in the moment and just decided to pull out my phone and google a few things.”

Grain admitted that her math teacher did in fact catch her cheating and asked her to stay after class. Her teacher talked to her about it and told her she would be getting a zero on the assessment. Grain claims that she understood why the teacher did that and looking back she said that she deserved it. 

“Thankfully, my teacher was understanding enough to talk to me about why I did it,” Grain said. “Instead of giving me a redo on the test, she gave me a zero. But because I explained that it was my first time cheating and that it was due to the lack of time I had to study and prepare for the test, she let me do a separate math assignment to help bring my grade back up.”

Unlike Grain’s teacher, most don’t do this for students and Grain knows that. She just says that she is happy that her teacher gave her a second chance as well as a way to help bring her grade up. 

Her teacher also helped her create a schedule for all of her activities. “It was really smart,” Grain stated. “I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. The chart helps me a lot even now. I write down my schedule for the week on Sunday nights, and then fit in study and homework time in between all of my activities and job.”

Even almost two years later, Grain still uses the chat that her freshman math teacher helped her come up with. She has also googled for more ways to help her mine management during the school year and has adapted other resources as well. “I would google something along the lines of ‘how to handle time management in high school’ and just read through articles for hours on end seeing which ones would work for me,” she said. “Things like these aren’t helpful to everyone though. I have shown many of my friends different resources and they all use different ones that work for them.”

Emily Grain plans to keep using the chart that her teacher helped her make as well as other resources she has found helpful over the years. “I just think everyone needs to find what works for them. From there on out, it’s a lot easier to get anything and everything done.”