After preaching the virtues of honesty to my own five children through the years, I received quite a shock when I returned to college as an older student.
Test time came and I studied like crazy afraid I would disappointment myself or, God forbid, have to tell my children that I’d flunked a test. And so I memorized every possible answer and actually found myself looking forward to seeing how well I might do on the very first test I’d taken in over 25 years.
My heart raced while I sat quietly with my trusty pens as the professor passed out the tests. I glanced up as he then left the classroom.
As I scanned the exam, I began smiling because I knew so many answers.
Just as I was about to fill in the blanks for the first part of the test, I heard whispering across the room. Within a few minutes, the students were openly discussing the answers. By the end of the test, several shouted the answers so everyone could hear them. I gasped. I could not believe that they were openly cheating and that no one was around to care.
Near the end of class, the professor walked back in and happily took up the test papers, dismissing class.
I waited until the end of the term. My moral code could no longer be quieted. After much thought, I wrote the dean a letter describing the situation and my experience. I never received a response.
When I became a professor myself years later, I never left the room.