Is it Collaboration or Cheating? You Decide

Image may contain: textEnd of Grade testing is in full swing in NC. This means that for several hours every day until the end of the school year, our students will sit in quiet rooms taking exams. There will be two adults in each of the rooms whose sole purpose is to make sure they don’t cheat and to keep time.

It got me to thinking about how we are tested in life. So different from the process we have in school.

There are very few times in life when collaboration (you know what we call cheating in school) is not beneficial. If you are a pilot or a driver, or a contestant on a quiz show, you need to be able to make split decisions on your own and your decision needs to be the best answer of the ones provided.

I racked my brain this morning to think of other professions and other situations in life where we are not allowed to consult with others–professionals, loved ones, friends. Anybody who may have a different perspective on or insight into our problem.

Sadly, we are trained from a young age to go it alone. Asking for help is seen as a weakness. We should be able to figure it out by ourselves, cross our fingers, and pass the test.

We are ashamed to admit that maybe, we don’t know the answer. Maybe we are not strong enough to pass this one and so we settle for potential failure rather than accept that others may be better at answering the question or solving the problem at hand.

We are ashamed to ask for the support that we need to get through the test.


If we don’t think kids should have to deal with high stakes testing in a silo, why is it okay for adults to do it? Because we are older? Because we should know all of the answers? Because we should be strong enough to deal with it on our own?

It’s not. It doesn’t matter. We don’t. We aren’t.

Today, flip the narrative. You are not in this alone. You do have support and help. You only have to ask for it. In this test that we call life, you have unlimited “Phone a Friend” cards. Use them. And offer what you aren’t using to someone you love. Whatever test you are facing, I guarantee you’ll pass this test with flying colors.