Sharing is (not always) caring


Older sibling Mary Mikaili (right) helps her younger sister Marina Mikaili (left) with an assignment. Mary made sure Marina understood what she was teaching, so she could do well. (Courtesy of Mary Mikaili)

Claire Chu, Staff Writer

   It’s quite normal for an older sibling to pass down tests and assignments to their younger sibling. Other than receiving good grades, it really isn’t contributing to their success.

    If you’re a student taking a difficult class, it’s nice to have someone with experience tell you the personality and difficulty of that teacher. However, students don’t consider if the assignments passed down to them were done incorrectly, or if the teacher graded them differently a couple years back.

    “[My younger brother] likes to do his own work,” senior Alex Nickerson said. “He probably wouldn’t trust my answers anyway.”

    Even when you give your work to a sibling, it might be incorrect. Additionally, it’s plagiarism. Why not learn the material yourself and see what you know or don’t know, rather than copying?

     “I have never passed down assignments,” junior Mikayla Flores said. “Assignments have really helped me to study for a class, and I wouldn’t want my sister to slack off by not studying and blankly copying an assignment without processing what she is writing.”

    In the perspective of an older sibling, it may be more difficult to be the “guinea pig” and enter a class clueless; therefore, you feel that your siblings will struggle.

    “Students who are the oldest or only child are at a slight disadvantage because they have not had a person tell them about their teacher from firsthand experience,” freshman Ayra Moin said.

     However, if your older brother or sister was able to figure out the procedure of a class, it shouldn’t be a problem for a younger sibling.

    “You’re usually able to figure out how the class runs within the first week, so I don’t stress much,” Nickerson said.

    I get it, sometimes it’s easy to grab the already-completed homework and refer to it because it’s already finished and scored. Sometimes, we get busy; we get lazy. While siblings often want to help each other, it is more rewarding to understand a concept by challenging yourself.

    “I think it’s an important skill to be learning while growing up–how to learn teacher’s expectations by yourself,” freshman and brother to Alex Nickerson, Andrew Nickerson, said.

    You are allowing your teachers to compare you and your sibling side by side when you use the work from your sibling because you are showing their knowledge.

    “Any time a student doesn’t complete their own work, they are missing out on building his or her own skills,” English teacher Rachael Johnson said. “Some students are tempted because it seems like the easy way out or ‘not a big deal,’ but without learning how to do something themselves, they might be setting themselves up for future hardship, struggle, or even failure.”

    Many teachers will take roll on the first day and recognize siblings right away. Sometimes, a student they previously taught behaved poorly, so that character lies on their current student. Contrary to that, teachers will have students whose siblings were successful in their class, so that is expected out of their student now.

    “I would say I consciously think about it if I recognize the last name, …but [Monte Vista] teachers don’t get class lists until the day before school starts, [so] there’s not really any time for me to seek any background on any students,” Johnson said. “Everyone gets a fresh start with me regardless.”

    From a teacher’s point of view, they enjoy to know students personally without any prior knowledge. They want to know how each student individually learns, not how their siblings learn. By duplicating your sibling’s work, teachers will approach you with the set of strengths and weaknesses of your sibling instead of yours. That will hurt you rather than help you.

    “I haven’t passed down assignments to [my younger sister] because they usually change and I throw them away after I’m done using them,” senior Mary Mikaili said. “It doesn’t help her to do that anyway.”

    Whether teachers compare you to your sibling or not shouldn’t matter if you show them who you are, what you know, and what you don’t know. In some cases, you are compelled to work harder because you are have expectations set from your siblings. Other times, siblings set a bad example, but you want to present the true you.

    “As a little sister myself, I make a conscious decision not to compare siblings because I know how special and different each person can be,” Johnson said.

    Try your best not to let teachers ingrain characteristics into their minds. They will only teach you differently if you showcase your differences. Present yourself with your knowledge, your understanding, and your success.

    “Everyone’s unique in their own way, nobody’s the same,” freshman and sister to Mary Mikaili, Marina Mikaili said. “We are all completely different especially with different personalities.”