Hi everyone! I am currently in the process of seeking a full time teaching position, specifically at the secondary level. At a recent interview for a high school position I was posed a scenario and asked how I would handle the situation. I'm curious how others would answer. Here's the hypothetical scenario:
"Your class is in the process of taking a test, during which time you notice two students cheating off each other. At the same time, you catch a separate student throwing his pencil at a neighbor. Simultaneously, you spot another student in the last row who is crying at their desk. How would you handle this situation?"
I'm not a secondary teacher, but personally I would handle the cheaters last, you can always take care of them after the test is finished. For me, the first priority would be the pencil thrower as he is most likely to be causing others not to be able to do well.
My honest answer would be:
I would silently pick up the tests from both the cheaters and the pencil thrower and ask them to see me after class. Then I would hand the cryer a tissue and quietly ask her if she would like a pass to guidance (normally I would take her in the hallway, but you can't do that in when they're taking a test). I'd also let her know she could come back and speak with me after class.
I have only been teaching for 7 months, in a very challenging environment, but that's my honest answer. The reason why I would handle the cheaters first is b/c I think if the cheaters saw me 'distracted' by the cryer, that would open up the opportunity for more cheaters to become involved.
How did you answer?
I have never taught high school, but that's the way I would handle the situation in my elementary room. I would allow the pencil thrower to finish his test on his own time in detention after school. I would give the crier more time in class to finish. The cheaters are finished when I picked up their papers. Then, because I need to know if they have mastered the material, they would be given a different test, also in detention.
During the interview I replied similarly to Charlottesome. I said I would have taken the tests from the cheaters and indicated that they should see me after class to discuss their behavior and to also let them know that I would notify their parents that they would be receiving a zero. (But I was wondering later that, if it was their first offense, I shouldn't have marked a zero on their papers for the sections they had completed, then separated them and allowed them to finish the rest, as I am not an advocate of just handing out zeros.)
As for the student throwing the pencil, although it is not behavior I would expect anyone in a class of mine to engage in, I indicated that I would give them a warning not to do it again and then tell that student to also meet with me after class.
I said I would approach the crying student last since her seat in the back naturally took me past the other misbehaving students who needed to be addressed. Also, I wanted to be able to kneel beside her desk and take some time to quietly talk to her and explain that I could take her test for the time being and give her a pass to the bathroom or guidance, depending on the situation.
Another person I talked to about this question seemed to think it would have been more appropriate to address the crying student first, as it shows you have empathy/ warm relationship with your students. I addressed her last because I figured it would take the longest time to resolve and didn't want to be distracted from our conversation by worrying about the other misbehaviors which, in my opinion, were more potentially harmful to other students (ie. throwing a pencil).
I would handle the pencil thrower first, because that's a safety issue. Then I would go to the crier and ask if she was ok and if see needed to walk around or see her counselor.
After everything is settled down, I would go up to the cheaters, take their tests, and put zeros on them.