The Value of Honesty

Wang Zhijiang

PureInsight | October 22, 2007

[] When I was a
sophomore, there was a new class called "Experimental Analysis." We
heard from the juniors and seniors that Teacher Li had a good temper
and was kind. More important, she rarely allowed her students to fail.
That brought us joy and comfort.

Sure enough, Teacher Li was just as easygoing as we had heard. She
always smiled and was very concerned about our learning. Many students
in our class went to visit her at her home. Everybody admired her.
However, she was very strict toward us in class and emphasized that we
must follow the rules, our reports must be accurate, and we must take
learning seriously. All together, this was a pretty good class.

I started feeling uncomfortable when we turned in our reports. I only
got 4 or 5 points out of a possible 10 points every time. If this
continued, I understood that I might not make a passing grade. It also
meant that I would be the only student who ever failed this class. When
I looked at my classmates, they got 7 or 8 points. Some even got 9.5
points. I was envious and terrified at the same time. However, I knew
that I was very serious while doing my experiments and I did my reports
according to the rules.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, my grades stayed about the
same. I was getting more and more scared. At last, I knew that it was
hopeless except for the possibility that she might be very

The terrifying moment finally came. That was a very cold afternoon and
my heart was just as cold as the weather outside. Teacher Li passed out
the reports and said, "Our class is about over. I think that everyone
is very concerned about their grades. I would like to report on the
situation regarding your reports and the grades."

Her words hit me like thunderbolts. My moment of embarrassment was
about to come. I could not listen to what she said any more. I thought
about the effort I had put in for this class and felt quite depressed.
I almost felt that my tears were about to flow. I had only 47 points
and was probably the only student who would not pass. My heart was
sinking lower and lower into a deep abyss.

I collected myself after a brief moment. Teacher Li said, "Most of you
had very accurate figures which agreed well with the contents of our
class. In addition your had only minor experimental errors. Therefore,
your grades are quite high, except for only one student. His grade is
kind of low."

All of a sudden, I knew that she was about to mention my name. I also
heard that other students were whispering. I could imagine how they
were looking at me and I lowered my head in misery.

However, I did not hear my name yet. Teacher Li continued, "This
student is very serious, his experiments were well done. However, his
figures show great difference and are very far from the standard
answers in the book." Suddenly, she raised her voice, "The results of
his experiments are very close to mine. Class, I don't understand.
After 30 years of teaching, I have rarely obtained such accurate
answers. With our equipment, the experimental errors should be greater.
But every one of you had such great accuracy every time. Therefore,
there is only one explanation. You obtained your figures from the books
or you made them up and they are not the true figures. Because of this,
I think that I will give him 100 points."

After I heard that, I was shocked. My mind was blank and my heart was
so moved. I raised my head with tears in my eyes and looked at Teacher
Li. She, too, was looking at me with understanding, confidence, and
support in her eyes. I did not remember when my tears blurred my
vision. I knew then that, even though there were tears in my eyes, I no
longer had to lower my head.

 Teacher Li continued, "Class, you are the college students of the
new era and will have a great future. I only want to remind all of you
that, before you become successful, you should learn how to be a human
being, how to take responsibility, and not to give away what is the
most precious within you. I hope that you all remember this: Honesty is
worth one hundred points."

The entire class was quiet, everyone, and including me.

Translated from:

Add new comment