16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, January 25, 1912: Gave my ear to a free-for-all lecture this afternoon. It was delivered by Mr. Teacher, the chief part of which was about cheating on examinations. I’ve been so worked up at this, although Conscience tells me not to. Anyway I believe it is time to stop, and do better in the future. So now, I will try to bid adieu to all ways of crookedness and get the things in my head instead of having them on paper.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
My grandmother cheating on tests!! . . . .Grandma, what were you thinking?
Sometimes it’s hard to interpret what Grandma wrote without judging her. Grandma was 16 and about 40 years younger than me when she wrote this diary entry. I’m looking at this entry through the lens of a mother and I can’t completely wrap my head around why a teen would decide to cheat.
I want to think that the world was a simpler place a hundred years ago—and that students were less likely to cheat back then. But I’m not sure. This is the second time Grandma’s mentioned cheating in the diary.
On February 7, 1911 Grandma wrote:
Some of the boys at school found the teacher’s Latin questions in examination, and we all expect to make a good mark. I do at least, but I might be fooled as some cheats are.
And, the next day, her diary entry said:
Had some of our exams today. Came out all right in Latin. Our arithmetic wasn’t so easy though.