Monday, November 07, 2005

There Are Reasons

A Stardeo Thoughts Update

As we approach the holidays, I look back and see I've been very busy this past year. I taught overload in the spring. I taught Art Appreciation for the first time this summer. This fall I started Graduate School, seeking an M.A. in Studio Art with a concentration on Interactive Design or Graphic Design. I'm also teaching full time! A one credit overload again!

School (Grad School) is around 82 miles away from my house. I spend quite a bit of the day in this car two days a week. I found that music can make me dazed/sleepy on that long drive, so I have developed a love for Audiobooks. (For the Holidays you can get me Audible Credits.) I've listened to quite a few. The book I'm currently listening to is The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan.

This brings me to my thoughts. Those that remember me from a couple years back may be familiar with my demeanor: short, precise, high expectations, and no tolerance at all for cheating. With my experience in the classroom with cheating: on tests, papers, on art projects including copyrighted materials, I continually asked, "Why? Why are these people cheating?"

The Cheating Culture answers this question with: the Culture. And an attitude of cheating. I saw this on the mud, as well. I used to get absolutely lit when people cheated, and brought down the hammer of Mota upon them. Looking over the attitudes of cheaters in the classroom, and the messages sent to cheaters in our society, I am glad I did. Cheaters are often given a pass, littler more than a warning or "tsk tsk". This sends the message to cheaters that it can be gotten away with, and a message to those that don't cheat that there is no reason NOT to cheat.

I used to hear it from other people on ROM...when I'd punish for cheating:
"Everyone cheats, you can't expect them not to."
"They just got caught, but others don't, so it's unfair to the person who got caught."
"I think everyone else is cheating, so I need to cheat."
"If I don't cheat, it takes me forever to get a level."
"I didn't think it was cheating." (A ploy for ignorance. My students often claim this one, when the academic honesty clause is printed on the syllabus...)
"Cheating makes the game more fun."

And it shouldn't be rewarded with a slight warning or a "that's okay." It deserves a severe punishment. I'm actually glad that so many people hated me for enforcing the rules as tightly as I did. Not because it may or may not have made the game more or less fun, but because it sent a message that cheating was wrong. Cheating is bad. Cheating hurts other people, and at some point hurts yourself.

Cheating should be punished.

I hope that some of those individuals I punished for cheating got the message. That when they were in school, or on the job, or with their significant other, they did not cheat. That they did their school work, performed their job with pride, and remained faithful with their loved one.

And those individuals that did not learn from their punishment? If they are in my hands, I will punish them. If they are not, I hope the best for them: to learn to not cheat.

Signed, Stardeo