People cheat, we fudge the scores to win in games, we pretend we have trained for 40 min when it really was only 35min, we sneak that piece of chocolate into our mouths even when we are the only one who cares. We basically take short cuts to make life easier or more pleasant for ourselves. And as long as we just deceive ourselves and no one gets hurt it may not be a big deal.
But when a student cheats it’s a different matter. Of course we all know that students cheat, in fact studies show that more than two thirds admit to cheating on exams, homework and assignments. And interestingly enough people with history of plagiarism as students are more likely to cheat on their partners, defraud on taxes and not follow the rules in workplaces later in life.
When I discovered that a student handed in an assignment that had been copied and pasted I not only felt lied to, but was all so annoyed over the fact that he thought I wouldn’t notice. Now I am left with the decision over what to do and I am very unsure.
On the one hand I want him to learn a lesson, teach him that every action has consequences, something he will hopefully take on board and remember later in life. And on the other hand I don’t want to be too harsh, as he is only a second year student and the main reason behind cheating is feeling too much pressure.
However as cheating does change how a person views right and wrong, I think it better to fail him on the one paper, talk to him about the reason why and hope it makes a change. After all I believe that honesty is too valuable to throw away and the only way you can succeed in life is to be truthful to who you are, not cheat no matter how high the temptation and always remember there is a right and wrong.