To Cheat Or Not To Cheat This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Little Johnny Walker isn't doing so well in school these idays, and although he's only in elementary school, he is already beginning to feel the pressure of getting good grades in school. He painfully remembers what happened last term when he brought home a "D" in math, and, as he sits at his little desk, he is wrought with fear: fear of failing another math quiz. The quiz is passed out and all the kids begin writing with their pencils, except Johnny. His palms are sweaty; his face is white; and he doesn't understand the quiz at all...then, Johnny catches a glimpse of Davey Jones' paper, the smartest kid in the class, who sits directly in front of him...I'll just copy a few down, Johnny thinks, and he passes the quiz.

This kind of situation is probably familiar to many kids; and, more often than not, cheating seems the only way out for these kids. It is important to realize, however, that it is not all Johnny's fault for cheating. It is a combination of things that causes such a situation to arise. One is that too many parents fail to look beyond the grade on the report card, and they don't seek the reasons behind the grade. Also, parents use negative incentives in an effort to force their children to do well in the classroom. The result leaves the student fearful and confused. The student might become afraid to say s/he doesn't understand how to divide numbers, for example, because s/he fears being punished for it. The child might forget the true purpose of school: to learn, because s/he thinks the grade is all-important, and nothing else matters. That's not to say the grade is insignificant, but it doesn't reflect everything that occurs in school.

Cheating, if not stopped in elementary school, can continue into high school, and become a serious problem. Students become very devious in their methods of cheating, for instance, sticking notecards to the bottom of their shoes, writing on desks, or their hands or arms, or going to sharpen their pencil and looking at others' papers. Teen-agers also learn which teachers are inattentive and which are not, and which kids they can cheat off of. Students may try many lines to copy homework off another kid, like, "all I need are the last few answers," or " I just want to check my answers with yours." (yeah, right).

The more students cheat, the more they become dependent upon it, because when they cheat, they don't learn, which catches up with them, especially in subjects like math and languages, where learning is cumulative. It also becomes harder to cheat, and, eventually, it all breaks down and they get caught or begin to fail in their subjects. When it comes time to take college entrance exams, they realize how little they have learned, and the result is they don't do well, don't get into a decent university and get a mediocre job in society.

So, in the end, we all see how true the saying "Cheaters never win" is. Cheating is wrong because it promotes terrible work habits and because no knowledge is gained from doing it. Succeeding on your own is a great confidence builder, but cheating can actually deprive a student of self-confidence, and guilt can result from feelings of dishonesty. As one can see with perspicuity, nothing good comes of cheating, and those who take part in it are only cheating themselves. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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