Sisson reminds students to be women of integrity

by: J1 Reporter Nyayian Biel

“Eyes on your own papers, girls, because you are women of integrity.”

Anyone who has taken a test in any of Ms. Susie Sisson’s classes, from Women’s Studies to Honors American Literature, has heard this saying before every single test and quiz. The actual origin of this quote was spontaneous and did not come about because of a specific incident. As Sisson puts it, “I said it one year spontaneously, I don’t think I really planned for it, but I liked it.” She continues to say this to remind girls to stay true to their values and integrity.

When it comes to academic dishonesty of any sort, teachers all have similar opinions on it. They advise against cheating and have no qualms giving out the designated amount of points with a big, fat zero on the assignment, test, or quiz. Sisson is no different. She understands and knows how tempting it is to cheat, but believes that cheating violates the student and who they are. She has two reasons why she advises against cheating: 

Emilie Dankert ‘21 listens attentively to Sisson’s lecture.

1. Cheating has consequences that make it seem not worth it. When someone is caught, they receive a zero instead of, at worst, a failing grade. This zero would bring a person’s overall grade down more than the failing grade.

2. Cheating is not a good option because it is also a violation of a student’s integrity, “As humans we have the choice of being honest and trustworthy, when students choose to not be trustworthy it is really frustrating.”

There is also a stigma associated with failing, which could be a reason why many students decide to cheat. According to Sisson, some students along with being desperate to have and retain an “A”, are probably unprepared, so they panic and worry.  In the end, the means of cheating seems to justify the end result of a passing grade. This leads to a student “passing” but they are left with little knowledge of what they were actually tested over.

Lily Dugan ‘21 taking notes as Sisson lectures about Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

At Marian, students question whether discipline points really deter a student from cheating. Although there are no perfect solutions to eradicate academic dishonesty, Sisson believes that the current system is sufficient. The points, as of this year, have gotten a little more severe and could lead to expulsion. This more strict policy, to Sisson, is a little more helpful in keeping girls from cheating. 

Sisson has not had an isolated incident of cheating to spur on an entire quote, but she feels that an affirmation of the moral values each student possesses is helpful in keeping students trustworthy.

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