Rob Knop over at Galactic Interactions posted a nice thread on “funny cheating stories.” Here’s mine:
My favorite cheating story was as much about the botched follow-up as it was about the idiocy of the execution. Back in the late eighties when I was a High School teacher, I had a Trig & Analytic Geometry student ( a Junior) who undertook the oh-so-traditional strategy of writing the identities and other formula on the palm of her hand, which she then proceeded to consult regularly throughout the test period.
I said nothing throughout the test, but on the way out of class, asked her to step into the teacher’s lounge that happened to adjoin my classroom, and took a quick photocopy of her hand and had her sign it. Having received my code of conduct and ethics handout along with the starting syllabus, she acknowledged that according to our earlier agreement, which she had signed, she would receive a zero on the assignment in question, that I would contact her parents to discuss the problem, and that any future cheating would result in a failing grade for the course. I tucked the xerox page into my grade book, and we both went about our day, rather depressed and disappointed.
Later that afternoon, I was called out of another class to report immediately to the Principle’s office, and realizing I hadn’t yet had a chance to contact my student’s parents, I collected my things, handed the class over to the substitute who had arrived with the summons, and made a mental note to follow-up after my meeting.
Well, as soon as I entered the Principle’s office, I was confronted by two very angry people, who were introduced to me by an obviously irritated Principle as the parents of my cheating Junior. Before I could even say anything, the father literally stood up, slammed his hand on the conference table, and shouted at me, “How DARE you falsely accuse my daughter of cheating?!” I was absolutely shocked, and must have stood there with my mouth open for about 10 seconds while I thought of, and then discarded several choice responses, and ended up not saying anything at all. Instead, I just reached into my grade book, pulled out the xerox sheet with my student’s signed and formula-laden palm, complete with finger prints, and flipped it onto the conference room table.
Then it was Daddy’s turn to just stand there with his mouth open. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Asian person turn so red before or since. He apologized profusely and listened attentively to my report and recommendations, and even remembered my ethics sheet from the beginning of class. He ultimately left the room muttering under his breath about the “talk” he was going to have with his daughter who not only was caught cheating, but had been caught lying to her father in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
So which would any of you parents think was worse, and what would you do about it?