Preventing Cheating in LiCalsi’s Latin Classroom

Even with the stresses of high school, most students know that cheating is not acceptable. However, every year many students get caught and have to face the lasting consequences of an oftentimes one-time error.

Latin teacher Lynn LiCalsi is known to be one of the teachers to take the most precautions against cheating, while maintaining one of the most unique philosophies.

“[Teachers are] setting [students] up,” said LiCalsi. “The same multiple choice tests year to year to year and you never change anything. Students change, so teachers should change as well. Teachers need to make it not possible for students to cheat.”

LiCalsi implemented her policy because she was aware of the cheating that occurs\; however, LiCalsi has seen students continue attempting to cheat no matter the changes in her rules.

“I think [LiCalsi’s policy regarding cheating] is useful. It stops you from being able to look at people in front of you or behind you,” said junior Morgan Agnew.

Agnew has had LiCalsi every year and although she personally has not seen anyone get caught cheating, she along with others is aware of the prevalence of cheating throughout the school.

Other students, such as junior Elli Gerwing, have seen firsthand the cheating that occurs in LiCalsi’s class.

“Yeah, I have seen kids cheating [in LiCalsi’s class]. There used to be one person who used to leave his binder open with all of his notes and when [LiCalsi] isn’t looking he’ll flip the page to the page he needed,” said Gerwing.

Some students will find a way to cheat, even in LiCalsi’s class.

“I’ve seen a lot of interesting stuff. I’ve seen students with things written on the label of a gatorade bottle. So the bottle is on the desk so you’d never think, but the student keeps staring at the bottle. So it was pretty obvious. Other kids write stuff on their bodies. But I always catch it. I even caught it in a French class. I was walking by and I just knew. So I told their teacher, ‘hey I think this kid is cheating,’” said LiCalsi.

LiCalsi has been teaching for thirty three years, and has been able to easily catch students cheating over time.

“I notice things very fast,” said Ms. LiCalsi. “For example, there was an incident, once, not necessarily this year, where I was answering a question for someone and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone [flip their paper], and I knew, there was paper. I just knew it. So I went over, and I said, ‘could you please lift your paper?’ and the student knew and said ‘I’m sorry.’”

Despite her stories about students, LiCalsi still believes that students don’t want to cheat, but rather, cheating is a result of extreme external pressures.

“Their parents cause [students] to cheat. Because I think their parents put tremendous pressure on them. They put pressure on them to get As, to think A is the only thing their child should get. Kids have so much pressure on them from their parents, their own parents. Let the student in the safety net of Fairview have success and failure. And failure is fine because it’s a part of learning,” said LiCalisi. “The best thing Fairview does is that it prepares you to stand on your own two feet.”

However, Gerwing believes there are many possible causes to cheating.

“Wanting a good grade but not studying,” and other preventable choices, can lead to people cheating, said Gerwing.

Although, both Agnew and Gerwing agree with LiCalsi that for some students cheating isn’t as easy to prevent because of extreme stress put on them by others.

By preparing students to be independent, Fairview also puts tremendous pressure on students. Teachers like LiCalsi do their best to prevent cheating\; however, oftentimes teaches have to go as far as trying to change students’ mindsets about grades.

LiCalsi said, “it’s not like we’re against you trying to catch cheaters, we’re trying to educate the community that really, I tell them, ‘If you bomb a quiz, it’s better to just bomb it and then fix it later, let’s fix the problem than to compromise your integrity and to really stoop so low, it’s just not right.”