A friend of mine used to teach physics at secondary school. Once, as she was watching her students take a test, she noticed some of them were cheating. She didn’t want to disturb1 them, so she waited until it was over. She decided to give the students a chance to do the right thing. She said: “I’ve seen four of you cheat. If you stand up now, I promise there won’t be any consequences2.” After a while four students stood up. Four DIFFERENT students…

Sounds like a joke, right? It seems impossible to beat cheating. It seems silly to even try.
Now it is quite interesting to see that there are different kinds of cheating. Consider cheating on a partner, for example. We all agree that it is nothing to be proud of. And how about cheating at work to get more money or a higher position? Everybody hates colleagues who do so, and politicians are especially hated for the common feeling that they cheat on us. On the other hand, we can talk about cheating at school with a smile on our face, and almost consider it a brave thing to do.
The thing is, cheating at school is easy and the consequences of being caught aren’t as serious as ruining a relationship or losing a job. What is more, everybody has already been in the situation of at least thinking about cheating at school as we all have been students once. School cheating seems to be a common practice you can’t avoid. Or can you?

    • Laziness. Nobody likes duties and hard work, especially young people who are very sensitive about being told what to do. So why should they spend hours over the books if a crib3 can do the job?
    • Lack4 of interest and motivation. Students often justify5 cheating by saying that they will never need all the information they are supposed to learn. Unfortunately for them, it’s not up to them to decide about that (and I’m afraid it often isn’t up to their teachers either).
    • Popularity. Come on, who’s more popular among teenagers: a hardworking student or a cocky6 rebel? A lot of students cheat just to feel cool.

Even though school cheating might seem harmless7, it isn’t as simple as it looks. The habit of cheating is dangerous. If you get used to getting the easiest way out at any cost, it may be easier for you to become a cheater in more serious situations later on. Technically, there’s no difference between the different kinds of cheating after all!

  • Stop to think:
    • What would you do if you were the teacher mentioned at the beginning of the text?
    • Do you cheat at school? Why yes or why not?
    • Do you know anybody who doesn’t cheat? How do you feel about people who don’t cheat?

Miroslava Dubanová

VOCABULARY: 1 rušiť – rušit; 2 následky; 3 ťahák – tahák; 4 nedostatok – nedostatek; 5 ospravedlniť, odôvodniť – ospravedlnit, odůvodnit; 6 drzý; 7 neškodný