I know that someday you'll find better things.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Coup

I've noticed a trend in math class. On the first day of class, every seat was filled. Last Monday, at least six chairs were vacant. Four-- possibly more-- people got up and walked out in the middle of class, too.

At first, I thought it was the flu, and I was grateful that I'd brought my own hand-sanitizer and Clorox wipes.

But the trend has continued. Those who were absent haven't reappeared, and those who left didn't look sick.

A growing faction at the rear of the room has been growing increasingly restless, and I recently overheard this conversation:

"What'd you get?" asked Sunglasses.
"A 40. You?" replied Weird-Beard.
"If we all fail, there will have to be, like, a major curve, right?"
"I don't know, dude. Seems risky," said Sunglasses. "Maybe we should organize a cheating ring or something."

This may not have been life-or-death like the lifeguard cheaters, but I was not going to sit by silently and give my consent to what they were planning.

From my desk in the front row, I whirled around to face the subversive clan.

"NO!" I interrupted, startling the whole pack, "There will be no cheating ring. If you do that, you'll ruin it for the rest of us-- the ones who are failing authentically. I will support your first plan, but your second idea is unethical and dishonorable. If you're really doing so poorly, at least do it with dignity." 

Since I now had the attention of every student in the room, I took the opportunity to address them all. I wasn't going to let anyone jeopardize my chance of passing this class.

"Everyone, just keep doing what you're doing. Keep trying, keep failing--one way or another, it will all be okay. We're all going to be okay." 

As I spoke, I tried to pause and make eye contact with each one of them. We can pretend it was to give them some personal encouragement, but there was a part of me that was mentally telegraphing: don't you dare mess this up for me because I will find you, and I will make you sorry.

Ugh, college kids. 
They think they can make math pain go away by cheating? 

Math problems are temporary.
Honor is forever.

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