#6 Cheating Essay

Cherry Red Shame

The deep, sinking feeling of shame and disappointment swam channels through my stomach as I sat in the back of the classroom that sunny Monday morning. I looked down and felt my cheeks get hot, turning cherry red as I stared down at my Math test. I wanted to cry. “I cheated,” I said to myself; I couldn’t believe what I had just done. We have all had this feeling maybe once, twice, or maybe more in the span of our lifetime. Cheating cannot be justified because it is morally unacceptable, damages others, and is unfair to yourself.

Cheating is morally unacceptable. [erased attribution in error] says, “You’ll have an engineer say, ‘You know, what do I need to know about English Literature? I shouldn’t have to take this course.’” It doesn’t matter what class or course you are taking, you should have enough integrity to buck up and say, “No, I chose this class and should be able to take full responsibility for the outcome of my grade.” Keeping self- set standards and moral principles are very high set priorities for many people. Cheating  is lying to yourself, and to those that have put their faith and trust in you. The sinking feeling of guilt and shame seems punishment enough, yet it usually goes beyond this as those we love may begin to lose faith in us. Take President Clinton for example: even in office he was constantly cheating other people, including his loved ones. This proves that cheating has a big impact on peoples lives and will stay with you throughout your life and career.

Cheating damages others. Trust is a hard thing to earn back. Breaking someone’s trust is like snipping strands of  yarn out of a blanket; it gets harder and harder to hold together, and once it is gone, it might never come back. Taking credit for another person’s work is stealing and dishonest. In the article, Talking To Children About Cheating: Dishonesty Is Worse Than a Bad Grade, Jessica  Lahey states that researchers in a study found that almost half of all students have committed a “cut-and-paste-plagiarism,” passing it off as their own work. If you were asked to examine a classroom full of medical students that were taking their last exam to graduate, and noticed that one of them, sitting in the back of the classroom, had snuck the answers up his sleeve. Most likely only half of these students will pass this exam, including the boy that cheated. (Anyway, the majority of  people do not want to go to a doctor that cheated his way through Medical school.) Even though he  got a perfect score on the exam, he ruined the chances for other students that put effort into the class.

Cheating is unfair to self. Cheating is like popping your fingers; once you’ve started, it is very difficult to break the habit. And, yes, cheating is a habit; anything can become a habit if it is practiced or done enough. In the article 10 Reasons Why Cheating Is Wrong, Denise Witmer states, “Cheating makes the next learning step harder.” For example, imagine you were in a science class and never learned how to find the weight of an object using mass and gravity. Therefore, to pass the class you would either have to cheat again or completely start from scratch. Cheating can also cause a ton of stress. Constantly hiding and worried about getting caught is draining and extremely stressful to the body and the subconscious mind.

Some people may think that cheating is justifiable. These reasons might include that they are just going with the flow of their peers, or because, in order to obtain their status with a certain  group of people, they are doing it for a justifiable cause. This is what Dan Ariely has to say on the matter: “If somebody from our ingroup cheats, and we see them cheating, we feel it’s more appropriate as a group to behave this way, but if it is somebody from another group, these terrible people that we don’t associate with, an awareness of honesty goes up.” However, no matter how we trick ourselves or how we try to make ourselves believe, cheating is still, and will always be, morally unacceptable, damaging to others, and unfair to yourself.

Cheating can be a tricky thing. When we remind people of the morality of cheating, they automatically begin to see the big picture and stop it cold turkey. But we most likely won’t escape this life without cheating at least once or twice. The poor girl sitting at the back of the room on a sunny Monday had the choice to cheat. We all make mistakes and can learn from them if we choose to. Cheating is degrading. It makes you feel like you are worth nothing in this world because of the one terrible thing that you chose to do: cheat. And this is why cheating cannot be justified; it is morally unacceptable, it damages others, and it is unfair to yourself. Cheating can make people feel worthless and have low self-confidence in themselves.

Cheating: Bad Thoughts and Rotten Character

Jill sat in science anxiously while the midterms were being handed out. She still remembered the song she made up to remember the order of the letters on the test. The song was to the tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat,’ Animal, Animal, Cat, Boy, Cat. With her shaky hand she started circling letters;  A, A, C, B, C. She was so afraid to be caught, but she could do this, she was a good actress after all. All she had to do was take a deep breath and remember her song to help her cheat and get a good score. This is the mindset of most teenagers these days. In 2002, a confidential survey of 12,000 high school students was taken by the Josephson Institute for Ethics. 74% of those students admitted to cheating at least once on an examination in the past year. This cheating has to stop, it’s a crisis and it’s not okay. It should never be okay. Cheating can not be justified because it is morally unacceptable, it hurts the cheater, and it never stops.

Cheating is morally unacceptable, it’s lying, stealing, and it’s just not right. As Denise Witmer said in a recent article, “ Cheating is lying. It is showing a teacher that this is what your ability looks like, when you haven’t even done the work.” A test is made to ‘test’ someone’s abilities. When cheating, those abilities shown on the test are false. When cheating, someone’s work is stolen. Whether they were answers for a quiz or copying something off the internet for a paper someone is being hurt and stolen from. People everywhere cheat, but they do it in secret. They do this because they don’t want to get caught, they know what they’re doing is wrong but are doing it anyway. In a recent investigation by ABC News Primetime they talked to high school kids to ask why they were cheating. The students wanted their identity obscured indicating that they know it’s wrong and don’t want to be caught doing something bad. Cheaters know that they are lying, stealing, and doing something wrong but they think it’s okay.

Cheating is hurts the cheater. It’s self-degrading, Denise Witmer also said, “When you cheat you are telling yourself that you do not believe in your own abilities” Sometimes when people cheat it’s because they don’t think they can do it and when they cheat that self-degrading feeling just gets worse. Cheating doesn’t build self-esteem, it tears it down. Cheating is also very stressful. Also watching thinking that they could get caught. Always scared and afraid that they can’t pull it off. Cheating kills trust. If a cheater gets caught cheating no one is going to truly believe them again. It’s very hard to build trust and quite easy to break it.

Cheating never stops. In ABC News Primetime’s research a student at a top college in the Northeast admitted to cheating regularly. Cheating is addictive and once you start it’s hard to stop. One of the reasons it’s so hard to stop is because when cheating starts the basics often aren’t learned. If you don’t learn the basics it just gets harder and harder and the cheater finds themselves knowing less and less. When you can’t even do the basics cheaters find themselves cheating more and more. Dave Tomar is an academic ghostwriter helping students from grad school and college cheat. He said this in a current article talking about his job, “I was paid by would-be educators, developing teachers and even aspiring principals.” This is just one example of how cheating never stops. Dave Tomar spends his life helping teachers cheat. These people probably started cheating in junior high or high school and took their cheating habits into college and even their careers.

It is understandable why people cheat though. With so much pressure for good grades and eventually good jobs the stakes are high. ABC News Primetime talked to a high school student named Spike this is what he said about cheating, “Grades can determine your future, and if you fail this then you’re not going on to college, you’re going to work at McDonald’s and live out of a car.” This is a good reason to justify cheating but that still doesn’t make it okay. As Jessica Lahey talked about in her article, “Talking to children About Cheating: Dishonesty Is Worse Than a Bad Grade,” A bad grade can be better than being a cheater and being dishonest. It’s just not worth it to go through all the stress and damaging effects of cheating.

In conclusion, cheating is something that is not morally okay and knows it.  cheating damages self-esteem, and  cheating isn’t just a one time thing, it goes on and on. There is a famous quote “Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch your words, they become actions, watch your actions, they become habits, watch your habits, they become character, watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” If cheating starts to be included in life it gets harder and harder to stop. If it’s okay to be untrustworthy, dishonest, depressed, unintelligent, or otherwise a cheater then most of America is in the right spot. But these aren’t really good qualities, good qualities include being positive, trustworthiness, intelligence, honesty, benevolence, and many others. These are the qualities that everyone should strive for. And with these qualities it will be better to get good grades so cheating is no longer needed. If these qualities are promoted across the world it would be a much better place. Stop cheating and promote good qualities. Good qualities promote good thoughts, words, actions, habits, and overall good people. Which is what we want right?


Works Cited

ABC News. “A Cheating Crisis in America’s Schools.” Primetime 29 Apr 2013. Web 3 Jan 2014.

Tomar, Dave. “How I Helped Teachers Cheat.” New York Times 9 Nov 2013. Web 5 Jan 2014.

Lahey, Jessica. “Talking to Children About Cheating: Dishonesty Is Worse Than a Bad Grade.” New

York Times 19 Dec 2013. Web 10 Jan 2014.

Witmer, Denise. “10 Reasons Why Cheating Is Wrong.” About.com Teens 2014. Web 17 Jan 2014.

Is Cheating Really Ok?

For most people cheating is everyday life, it comes natural like breathing. It should not be that way. In “The Cheat," by Amy Goldman Koss, eighth grade students do it without thinking. Others think a lot of what they are about to do, kneading it over and over in their head. When they start thinking about it, logical  reasons pop out and they realize it is not a good idea all together. Cheating is not okay because it is morally unacceptable, damages others, and hurts the cheater.

Cheating is morally unacceptable.  Its gotten to a point where it is embarrassing enough that “Joe a student at a top college in  the Northwest who admits to cheating regularly, wants his identity obscured” (ABC News). If cheating was attractive, he would want everyone to know his name and that he cheated. Cheating is morally unacceptable and people realize that, but we really try to ignore it. “We need to promote integrity. To get students to understand why integrity is so important, as opposed to policing dishonesty and then punishing that dishonesty. Because they can beat the system” (ABC News). It is true, when teens get punished they don't think much of it. When you make it “cool” to be a person of integrity, it will be more appealing rather, than not doing it because you are going to get punished.

Cheating damages others. “After a budget shortfall because of cheating, a school in Philadelphia of three hundred and four million dollar shortfall forced the school district to cut nursing staff by about 40 percent, a twelve year old girl died of an asthma attack. To say that Philadelphia’s students aren’t getting what they need is a offensive understatement” (Tomar). Cheating can damage people whether it is the cheater gets a A and the truthful student gets a B, to a the most extreme, a death. “In 2004, it was revealed that more than 500 students in an Birmingham, Ala., high school had been urged by teachers or principals to drop out of school before the test, for fear they would bring the school’s scored down” (Tomar). Even teachers chea, teachers were once kids. A lot of kids in school cheat.“So you can imagine my complete lack of surprize every time a newspaper headline reports another teacher cheating scandal” (Tomar).

Cheating is unfair to yourself. Some cheaters think they have to cheat or they will fail. What if this isn't true for them? They are smart enough to figure out ways to cheat and getting away with it. They mind as well  use that time to study and find a way to memorize your notes or do something useful to help them. “If they approach it honestly, they’ll learn far more in college than they think they can. But more than that, they’ll come out of it better, stronger people” (ABC News).  When people cheat, they are not really a A student, you're a failure even if you did know some of the material. “Dishonesty undermines future success. When a cheater cheats its not actually learning the material, the cheater will be behind when the next unit begins” (Tomar). When a cheater cheats once they will probably cheat again.

Sometimes the world makes it seem like cheating is okay. “Joe admits to cheating continually. In his view he is just doing what the rest of the world does” (ABC News). A lot of people do not think it is a big deal to cheat. They don't even think about the causes and effects of what they are about to do. If someone got caught cheating in a job, they would get fired. Cheating comes with consequences, and a lot of them are not always good. A lot of those times those consequences are long term and you can not get rid of them.

Cheating is not okay because it is morally unacceptable, it damages others, and it is unfair to to cheaters themselves. Who wants a teacher who cheated all the way up to being a teacher? Who wants a lawyer who cheated in law school? No one. We cannot have cheaters in society. The world thinks it is okay to cheat as long as it does not interfere with them. When actually nobody wants to be cheated. No one. If people do not want to be cheated people need to just stop cheating!

Work Cited

ABC News “A Cheating Crisis in America's Schools.” Primetime 29 Apr 2013. Web 3 Jan 2014.

Lahey, Jessica. “Talking to Children About Cheating: Dishonesty Is Worse Than a Bad Grade.” New

York Times 19 Dec. 2013. Web 11 Jan. 2014.

Tomar, Dave. “How I Helped Teachers Cheat.” New York Times 9 Nov 2013. Web 10 Jan 2014.Witmer, Denise. “10 Reasons Why Cheating Is Wrong.” About.com teens 2014. Web 17 Jan 2014.