“Remember class, tomorrow is the spelling test,” Mrs. Conroy said to her second graders as the bell rang to dismiss them.
Josh had the list of words to study tucked away in his New York Yankees backpack. When he got home he was going to study the words. He wanted to ace this test. His older brother Aaron had always gotten good grades. He wanted to get them too.
He was almost to his family’s front door when his next door neighbor, Katlyn, waved to him.
“Josh! We’re playing softball, and we could use a right fielder.”
Josh thought to himself. He needed to study. But he loved baseball. It was his favorite sport.
“Yeah, I’ll play!”
He could study after dinner.
The Problem Starts
The game was great too.
Josh’s team was winning when his mother called from the house.
“Josh, it’s time for dinner.”
For dinner, his father made tacos. His mother madeSpanish rice, which was always very tasty.
“How’s school going?” his father asked.
“Good. I have a spelling test tomorrow.”
“Be sure to study. You want to keep up those great grades,” his mother added.
Aaron smiled and said, “I always aced spelling tests. I’m great at spelling. G-R-E-A-T.”
The whole family laughed.After dinner, Josh went up to his room to begin studying. He had just opened up his spelling book when his brother walked in.
“Hey Josh, I could really use a second player on Spaceship Destroyers. We need to defeat the evil Robot Team.”
That sounded like fun. Spaceship Destroyers was one of his favorite video games.
“I kind of need to study,” Josh said.
“Oh come on, it’ll only take a minute. Don’t you want to be king of the universe?”
Josh and Aaron made a great team too. They battled the Robot Team through several different galaxies. It was a fun game. When Josh looked up at the clock, it was almost 8:30. His bedtime was 9:00.
“I need to go study,” Josh said.
Things are about to get worse.
“No, wait. We’re almost to the 10th level. If you leave now, I might have to start all over.”
“But I really need to study.”
“Oh, you’ll be fine.”
Josh looked up to his big brother, so he knew he had to stay and play the game. Josh was a good speller. He’d be fine.
That night in bed, Josh felt worried. Would he do well on the test? He wanted to make his family proud.
The next morning, he felt fine. Yeah, he’d do well on the test. He knew he would.
When he got to class, Mrs. Conroy was waiting at the front of the room.
“Good morning everyone. I thought we could start the day with the spelling test.
Are you all ready?”
Josh and the rest of the class shouted, “Yes!”
“Good,” Mrs. Conroy said, smiling. “Okay, I’ll read the words aloud, and then you write them down spelled correctly.”
Josh grabbed his pencil and a blank sheet of people.
“Okay, number one: president.”
Josh wrote “p” and then “r.” But what came next? Oh no.
“Okay, number two: sandwich.”
Josh wrote “s” and then “a” and then “m.” Wait, was that correct?
“Okay, number three: calendar.”
“Josh looked at his paper. Did “calendar” start with a “c” or a “k”? Oh no, he didn’t know these as well as he thought. But he had to get a good grade. His parents expected that. His brother always got good grades. He wanted to be smart just like his brother.
“Number four: computer.”
Josh didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to spell that either. Josh noticed Brook next to him. He was a good speller. Maybe he could look off Brook’s paper. But wasn’t that wrong? Josh knew it’d just be this one time. He’d study more next time. He looked up at Mrs. Conroy whose eyes were on the paper in front of her. Josh’s desk was far in the back. She wouldn’t notice if he looked over at Brook’s paper. Josh snuck a glance and saw how to spell “president.” He wrote the letters down on his sheet: p-r-e-s-i-d-e-n-t. He then saw how to spell “sandwich.” He wrote that down too.
“Number five is pancakes. Josh, what are you doing?”
Josh looked up at Mrs. Conroy.
This can't be good.
“Josh, come with me.”
Josh felt a sick feeling in his stomach. He got up from his desk and followed Mrs. Conroy into the hall.
“Josh, were you cheating?” Mrs. Conroy asked. “Please tell me the truth.”
Josh swallowed and said, “Yes.”
Mrs. Conroy looked hurt. “Josh, you know that’s a bad thing to do. That’s not like you. I’m disappointed.”
“But wait, I can explain.”
Josh told what happened the night before. He talked about the baseball game and then the video game with his brother. How he meant to study, but ran out of time. He was only going to cheat this one time.
Mrs. Conroy said, “That doesn’t make it right. Cheating is never right. You need to make time to study. Maybe you have to turn down games. Promise me you won’t cheat again.”
He knew he was telling the truth.
“Josh, I’m going to have to give you a zero, but because you were honest with me, I won’t call your parents. And if you keep your promise to me, I’ll let you take a make-up test next week with different words.”
“Okay, I will. Thank you.”
Mrs. Conroy and Josh walked back into the classroom. The other students looked at him. He had cheated. He had done a bad thing. He knew in the future he needed to study, and that he should never look on other people’s papers again. He wanted to get good grades and make his parents proud, but doing it the honest way was the way to do it.