Not Friday

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

That about sums up today, it's not Friday and as such, I'm having an impossible time finding a redeeming quality about the day.

So, before each unit test for 3 of my 5 classes, I play a review game using a powerpoint program that works like Jeopardy. Sometimes there's a slight lag and if you're watching really carefully, you can catch the right answer. And since it's done on a timer, the first team to get the answer right gets the point. Silly me, I thought that the opportunity to see the answer, and then cheat, was too small, or that if it was noticeable, someone would tell me.

Instead, this morning I discovered that all 3 of these classes are cheating to get the bonus points offered for being the winning team. These are the only bonus points I give out and they're cheating to get them, not learning, cheating. And these games take me easily an hour a piece to put together, and it's all for them, I get nothing out of it. And not only are they cheating, but once they figured out how to cheat, they told others, so instead of one small group of people, it's at least 20 kids.

I'm just disappointed. I thought better of them and I foolishly trusted them. I know it's not like cheating on a test, but it's cheating on something that I spent a lot of time on, something that was meant to be fun and useful for studying. And that's really upsetting.

To make matters worse, I talked with some of the other teachers about it at lunch, expecting some sort of sentiment of sympathy and instead I was told that it was my fault and that I had no right to be upset about it. Furthermore, I shouldn't talk to the kids about it, I should just go on like normal. One of them told me I was "being ridiculous." And yea, maybe it's not the end of the world, but it's big to me and I think I get to decide when I am and am not allowed to be upset about something. 20 of my students breeching my trust is a big deal. Maybe not to them, but to me it is.

And I just couldn't shake that conversation. I was upset about the cheating and then I was upset about the teachers, who are really some of my good friends. I was nearly in tears by the end of lunch and excused myself early to try and calm down before the next class.

I also have had a wicked headache since, um, Sunday and now today I have a 2 spots on my face, one just below the right side of my lips and one just above, that are tingling all. the. time. Like pins and needles, only ON MY FACE.

And I just want to lie in a small hole and cry myself to sleep, but, oh right! I have another fucking test tomorrow. Yes it's the last one, but it's also the biggest one, and it's also the one I've done the least amount of work for because 6 tests in 9 days is way too effing many.

I'm just ready for this week to die. To die a horrible, painful death. Instead, it has 2 more days which will involve studying, avoiding co-workers, stern lectures to students and, unless this face thing stops tonight, a call to the neurologist.

Someone stop this week, I want the hell off.


Tiffany said...

Who care what it was about- cheating is cheating.

Ignore it?


That teacher is obviously incredibly jaded.

How is their behavior your fault? Cause you thought outside the box? Trusted them to try something new?

I'd be pissed too.

Ashley said...

You have every right to be pissed, and I think the students need to learn that cheating is NOT okay, and it's NOT something that they can get away with easily.

I think the best idea would be to explain to your classes that due to some students poor choices, you no longer will be awarding the bonus points for the review games. I think that is fair, and those students who were cheating are going to learn that you piss a whole lot of people off by not playing fair...

Keep doing the reviews. The students who dont cheat probably really appreciate it. And in my opinion, if they're learning something from it, then you're doing your job...

Louise said...

Don't talk to them about it? Ignore it?

THAT is what's ridiculous, not you wanting to address their cheating! It makes absolutely no effing difference if this was a test or a frickin crossword puzzle, cheating is cheating.

Ashley's right. Something like "I'm disappointed, guys, but I have to stop giving bonus points, because a few of you made the choice to cheat. If you're disappointed, too, talk to the cheaters, not me".

Kay said...

Hope your head and face feel better. Hang in there! Almost the weekend.

Cathy said...

How many more days of school? You should have a count down - do the paper chain and RIP one off each day to know the end is in sight!

Tomorrow is Friday - hang in there :)

Marin said...

That is cheating and you have every right to be pissed. Ridiculous.

Eliza said...

(Also a teacher with Chiari here).

Your fellow teachers are :-P. Happens all the time; I get hurt that my trust has been violated, and I get treated like I'm some naive fool for ever trusting a child (I've been teaching for over 10 years but look really young, and I'm still fairly new at this school, and, despite even being a department head (and being pretty awesome at what I do ;-) ), I have colleagues who can't seem to grasp that I'm not 21, fresh out of college, and/or completely green, not that any of those things would justify such treatment, either).

I had a similar issue when I discovered that the computers were set to autofill, so the online fill-in-the-blank parts of the computer quiz I had devised were fairly useless after the first class. Although, :evil laugh: they were kind of awesome for the kids who'd had clueless ones on the computers before them. No pity for those cheaters! It took SEVERAL periods for any student to mention, "Hey, the computer is filling in the answers as soon as I type the first letter." Yeah, I felt dumb! (Since there doesn't seem to be a way around it, now that they know how to turn the autofill preference back on, I was thinking it could pretty entertaining to just pre-take the quiz on each laptop with some absurd answers and then seen how many of them actually used them. But, I guess it would also eventually give them the right answers if someone gave it).

Alas, I certainly HAVE become more jaded and less trusting over the years, but it still feels like just as much of a slap in the face when you think you have this community and you realize that they will cheat and lie anyway, and it hurts when your colleagues don't have those expectations or think it matters when that trust has been violated. Sigh.

Btw, from what you're describing, I think I have a different kind of Jeopardy program set up, using PowerPoint. It has its problems, as well, but if you're interested in sharing, I'd be happy to send it along to see if combining parts from each might make a better program. Send me an email if you're interested. (Not sure if this links to my blog, but I don't use it anymore. Followups should go to my email, though).