Larry was one of those kids who always thought the rules applied to everybody else and not him.  He was sneaky and never missed an opportunity to bug his fellow students.  I couldn’t trust him so I had him sit right up front next to my desk.

    One day as I was giving my computer class a theory quiz I noticed Larry was trying to sneak a peek at my answer key.  Because he sat near my desk, if he stretched his head just so he could make out what was written on my desk.  At first I had the urge to tell him in no uncertain terms to keep his eyes on his own paper or get a zero.  Then I had a better idea!
     So he wouldn’t notice I carefully put a blank quiz sheet on top of the proper answer key.  Then when I saw him trying to ‘sneak a peek’ I pencilled ‘ANSWER KEY’ in large caps on the top of the quiz.  It was a twenty question multiple choice test.  As I was circling a  wrong answer for each question, I saw Larry surreptitiously squinting at what I was putting down on the fake answer key. I had him!
     When finished, I left the sheet out in plain view so Larry could easily cheat.  Getting up, I stretched and walked over to the window and looked outside.  I announced to the class; “ten more minutes to go.”  One of the other students tried to get my attention by pointing to Larry while pantomiming copy cat motions.  None of the kids really liked Larry’s ‘high and mighty’ ways.  As, I winked my eye at the young lad, I loudly told the student to keep his eyes on his paper, not wanting his dislike of Larry to tip my hand.
     At the end of the test I collected all the papers.  Larry had a smug self-satisfied look on his face. He thought he was going to get a perfect mark.  I gave the class a reading assignment and said I would mark their quizzes right away so they could see how they did.   Larry was smiling at me saying; “Mark mine first, teacher.”  I looked at him, picked up the fake answer key and ripped it up. Larry wasn’t smiling any more.  With the real answer key in hand I started marking his paper.
     As he watched me make big red X’s beside each question on his paper he got really angry.  “You can’t do that to me – you’ll get in big trouble!”
     “What do you mean Larry?”, I asked.
     “You put wrong answers down on the answer key and left them so I could see them”, Larry protested, “That’s not fair and you’ll get in trouble!”
     “Larry, I can put anything down I want on my paper at my desk, which you shouldn’t be looking at and copying.  That’s called cheating.  The only way I can get in trouble is if I marked your test using the wrong answer key.  I didn’t do that.  I threw it out and used the right answers.  You should be more particular about what you copy when you cheat!” 
     I finished marking all the quizzes and poor Larry was the only one who failed – with a zero too!
     The next day the Vice-Principal called me down to speak with Larry’s mom who thought it was terrible that I would trick her son that way.  For her it was beside the point that her son was cheating.   If I didn’t give her son a pass on the quiz she would go to the Superintendent and then I’d be in trouble.  The Vice-Principal didn’t think that it was a good idea to get the superintendent involved, may be I should reconsider the mark of zero.  I declined.
     “I won’t have any problem explaining it to the Superintendent.  Maybe he won’t be as confused as you two seem to be,” I replied.
     Sometimes life hands you an opportunity to teach a very good lesson to someone who really needs it.  Any teacher worth his or her salt will rise to the occasion.  Sadly, not everyone will see it that way.  Fortunately, peoples’ threats tend to be as empty as they are morally challenged.  Larry’s mom never went to the Superintendent.  The Vice-Principal got all scared for nothing!
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