One of my more unpleasant experiences with student dishonesty began when I had given a content test on Dickens’ Great Expectations. It was always my practice either not to count the test or give a makeup assignment if an absentee had a legitimate reason for missing a test. One such student told me that he had had a doctor’s appointment, and I simply asked him for a note from home to confirm that. When the note was not forthcoming and I pressed him on it, the student told me how deeply hurt he was that I wouldn’t simply accept his word. Never one to be swayed by such histrionics, I told him to get over his distress and produce the note.
Later, I called his mother to verify the reason for his absence. She asked me to ‘simply accept that ________ was absent for the test.” This non-sequitor really was of no help in my quest for the truth, so I asked her again if her son had had a doctor’s appointment during the test. Rather than replying, it was at this point she suggested that I had some kind of personality conflict with her son, and that he and I should try to resolve our differences. I assured her that such was not the case, and, as I recall, our conversation ended shortly thereafter.
What transpired shortly after really should not have surprised me at all. That will be the subject of my next post.