In 6th grade, I thought I was wrongly accused of cheating on a spelling test. Before the test, the teacher told us to not talk about the test with another student since our class wasn’t the only class that needed to take the test. If she discovered us talking to another class’s student about the test, she’d count that as cheating and we’d get zero.
This was the process. After finishing our test, we hand our test paper to the teacher. Then the teacher shuffles and randomly hands a paper back to students to grade. After going over the answers, the teacher collects the tests again.
At first, I thought the teacher was just being lazy but after I had my fill of teaching, I realized she did it to save time as well as help us learn. At least for me, it made the answers stick better.
Anyway, after the class corrected the papers and handed it back to the teacher, I turned to person next to me and said, “Man, that was a hard test. Did you think so?” I didn’t speak loudly. The person next to me shrugged. She was a smarty-pant.
A ripping sound across the room got my attention. The teacher was sitting at her desk ripping a piece of paper. She stared at me. I gulped. Was that my exam she just ripped in half? Did she heard me? I wasn’t talking about anything specific, I was just asking a fellow classmate a general question.
I wanted to ask her but I was afraid of the reaction. In the meantime, I wanted to cry. How would I explain a zero to my parents?
I had the same teacher for the following class and for the next period, I sat in the back, quiet and sad. I didn’t want to know whether she had really ripped my test. I just wanted to go home and cry.
That weekend, I was a nervous wreck. My parents did not know anything because I kept it from them. I didn’t want any more pain than I was already suffering, at least not when it’s all based on an assumption. I just had to wait until Monday to find out if my assumption was true.
Monday came in a blink of an eye. It was time for the teacher to pass back the test. I patiently waited for mine. I told myself, “it doesn’t matter. If it’s true, I’ll just go talk to her after class.”
It wasn’t true. She arrived before me, smiled, and handed me a test. “Good job,” she said. I turned over and saw a solid 100%, my first 100% on a spelling test, after being in the country for less than two years. Not bad. I smiled back at her as she moved on to the next student.
I’m laughing as I retell this event now. It was terrible that I made so many assumptions based on nothing then, just like my mom now. 😀 However, through this situation, I did learn something. Always follow instruction. When a teacher says don’t talk to others about the test, obey that instruction, at least until the teacher is out of sight. Also, there are many types of cheating. Most importantly, don’t cheat!
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