I am so sad. I don't know what else to say. Every year I start off with the highest of hopes and expectations for my students. Their potential sparkling in their eyes. And every year I am disappointed. Not because I discover a lack of potential, far from it. I've always believed that my students have the capacity, with hard work, to accomplish any goal they set out for themselves. What I am disappointed by, year in and year out, is the willingness to take shortcuts, to co-opt the work of others, to take from others. To lie, cheat and steal, without so much as a thought for the damage done to others and to their own integrity.
These have become major issues on our campus in the last few weeks, and we are only 4 weeks into the school year!!! Some students have been caught emailing requests to trade assignments while others blatantly copy their classmates work in front of their teachers. This is disheartening and unfortunately it doesn't end there. I returned from a training day to find that my students had cleaned out my candy jar in my absence. I wish I could say that this is the first time. Each year I hope it won't happen, but this is the 5th incident in as many years.
I am not so much shocked that students are cheating or stealing candy. These behaviors have been around for a long time. I don't see them disappearing any time soon. I'm worried at the ease at which these offenses are being committed. The seemingly complete lack of remorse. The willingness to continue the behavior despite being confronted.
I told students of my discovery of the missing candy. While a few looked surprised, most had no reaction and some even smiled! I explained to them how disappointed and sad I was that someone would steal from me and explained that I had no choice but to assume they were all guilty and, as a consequence, there would be no more candy for the rest of the year (I used Jolly Ranchers to encourage students to bring back signed tests.). While this insures no more candy is stolen, it doesn't take away my sadness and disappointment.