Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cheating for the Lord

You'd think Jesus would
have helped Chris find
a more obscure source to
cheat from!
Chris Chen (not her real name, ethnicity, or possibly even gender), was one of those sit-in-the front, make-smarmy-small-talk lackeys in my "basic skills in the sciences" course.  The class is designed to bring low-performing students up to speed with the level of memorized detail and application to problems required to pass the introductory science classes required for any degree.

Well, Chris handed in an assignment in which she was supposed to list three main points from a previous lecture -- any lecture at all. Instead, she presented details I don't cover in class, using perfect grammar and spelling. A simple web search found the content at (get this) the textbook web site.

In a summary of this activity and others, she was supposed to say which (if any) of the note-taking exercises was the most useful and why. Chris said, in a paragraph exhibiting the same degree of literacy as the pleas quoted here recently, that all the exercises were useful because they would help her achieve her goal of spreading the word of Jesus to other students.

I don't care a whit, or give a rhyme, about my students' spiritual beliefs. But it does amuse me when people proselytize values they don't live up to. And while the gospels don't quote Jesus specifically about plagiarism, it does seem to me that this student didn't treat her neighbor (me) as she'd wish others to treat her (i.e., honestly), or render unto Caesar (publicly funded remedial education) what was Caesar's (actual work).


  1. Cheating for Jesus. That would make an interesting bracelet. Hypocritical religious nuts are so annoying.

  2. Replies
    1. Yep. I didn't need to reach into the New Testament.

  3. Having a student plagiarize from the textbook is a weird feeling, similar to and almost as bad as having a student plagiarize something you wrote. It's like what goes through your mind when your car is stolen.

    Eyes to brain: "Something is seriously wrong here. What is it?"

    Brain to eyes: "You're right, but it's too big for me to put into context. Please back up and look around."

    Eyes to brain: "It's not there. It really should be there, but it isn't."

    Eyes and brain in unison: "AAAAAAK!!!"

  4. Hypocrisy as a sin is overrated. Dislike the student for cheating as much as you would dislike any student for cheating. Don't get more pissed off because the student has high standards.

    Nobody lives up to the teachings of Jesus. You should try, you will fail and you should ask forgiveness.

    1. I dislike the student for being smarmy, for cheating, and for shrugging when I confronted her with it. The layer of religion amuses me, and I thank Chris for a good story.

      Hypocrisy is unique to the human condition, and surely I've been as guilty of it as the next person despite my high standards. I still find it amusing, whether it's a student who professes to religious values or the one aiming for a career in law enforcement years ago. I busted him for glancing at notes strategically sticking out of his backpack on the floor. My students can thank him for my policy ever since of "all bags around the edges of the room, not at your feet."

      As for Jesus and his teachings, I agree that nobody lives up to them.

      As for whether I should try to be a Christian,
      it surprises me that a CM correspondent is proselytizing in a comment; this blog has been remarkably diverse and tolerant with respect to different faiths.

    2. Oops. That's not what I meant in my last statement. To clarify, if you wanted to be a Christian, then you should try, you will fail and you should ask forgiveness. My point was that being a Christian means never achieving the goal of being perfectly faithful. Therefore, it is inappropriate for other people to hold a Christian in contempt for failing to achieve that impossible goal.

      It was meant as a conditional statement, though i now see that it needed to be more clear. Since I'm not a practicing Christian, your interpretation didn't even enter my mind.

    3. BB, I see how that last statement could work as a conditional with an implied "The idea is that . . . " preceding it. If we tried to make everything perfectly clear here, we'd sound like lawyers or, even worse, members of Congress.

    4. It's dishonest to claim to hold yourself to a standard you have no intention of actually trying to meet. You're trying to get credit for having high standards, not for meeting them. Having high standards just means you have to work harder to meet them and you have more to lose when you don't.

      Holding other people in contempt for not meeting your disingenuous standards is a higher level of contemptible, but at least this student hasn't been accused of doing that.

  5. So, she thinks she attempting to reveal Christ to people by being dishonest, hmmm?

    Sounds like more trash from Mars Hill to me.

  6. Only tangentially connected, but I saw a Facebook post in which a student exhorted others to do "onto" her as she would do "on to" others.

    1. But that begs the question... Who brings the napkins?

    2. Sounds like the era of AIDS prevention when they'd say "On[to] me not in[to] me."

  7. By the way, thanks for the graphic and great caption.