Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheater, Cheater, Dumpling Eater

A couple weeks ago, Ben and I proctored for some fellow teachers' exams.

Before coming to Sias, I barely knew what proctoring was and really had no idea what it entailed. Lucky me is getting lots of practice here!
I totally should have been a P.I.

Due to the huge issue of cheating among students, reinforcements must be called upon to catch them in the very act and turn them into the authorities (i.e. teachers).

However, the only time I ever saw cheaters in my life was when a lady who worked in the building next to mine was definitely having an affair with a married man (my office had very large windows and a nosy coworker, me.).

Nevertheless, we are all required to proctor a few times each semester to enforce the law of academic honesty. 

Us teachers are pretty much split 50/50 about how we feel. Some enjoy the thrill of discovering a hidden cell phone or uncovering cheat sheets hidden up a sleeve. Others, myself included, hate the tedium of it and are entirely unable to catch more than shifty pair of eyes.

This time around, the proctor in the class next to mine caught two cell phones and suspected a girl of hiding notes in her blouse. Me? I uncovered an old steamed dumpling hiding inside somebody’s desk. Don't worry, I didn't eat it.

It becomes even more awkward when I know the students who were taking the exam, and they become really excited to see me…unless they realize I’m there to make there to make already an stressful situation become even more so by closely monitoring every neck stretch and yawn. 

In all serious, schools in China and America (see: A Cheating Crisis in America's Schools) are dealing with this very troublesome problem. 

The students here are under an overwhelming amount of pressure and some are even encouraged by their parents to cheat.

Sias is trying to very hard to combat this epidemic through the proctors and stricter penalties and even a jumbotron of shame (giant screens that show all the names of students who have been caught cheating) but many students fail to see how cheating is even wrong. 

A few weeks ago, a girl was wandering the halls of Peter Hall distraught because she had been caught cheating in her exam. She was looking for the proctor to beg/bribe for mercy. While I did feel sympathy for her, but I also knew, given the chance, she probably will cheat again. 

As it turn out, I might be teaching an Ethics and Morals in Leadership class next semester. Since I am passionate about justice and doing right, I am excited but nervous about how to approach it in a culturally-aware, but also straightforward way. Should be a fun challenge!

Right now we are in Xi'an for a few days before heading to The Philippines via Hong Kong! We will try our best to keep everyone updated on our travels and adventures!

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