Q: I read with interest two recent columns, one concerning a yeshivah secretary and the follow-up by a high-school teacher regarding help in marking tests. I teach at two schools, and someone else marks my tests regularly. One high school hires a woman to grade tests, and she receives her salary from the school. For my other job, I hire a workmate at my own expense.
In the past, I would instruct the girls to use numbers instead of their names on the top of their test papers. But lately, because of technical difficulties, the girls have used their names on their papers. I would therefore like to know:
Do I have an obligation to tell the girls that their tests were marked by someone else?
Does it constitute lashon hara if the one who marks tests is exposed to the girls’ names on the papers?
If I transgressed, how can I do teshuvah?
A: The reasons for this are: If you hire a person to grade your tests, you should go back to your original method of identifying tests by numbers and not by names. It would probably be correct to do so in both circumstances, even when the woman who marks is hired by the school.
1. It is questionable if the hired woman is considered a staff member, because marking is a teacher’s job, and the woman is merely serving as a substitute for this aspect of the job. Even when the school pays the woman, it is considered a financial agreement and doesn’t give her authority as a teacher.
2. There is no heter to expose the girls’ names if you can employ the alternative of asking the girls to use numbers instead.
It would not help to get the students’ permission for this arrangement, because even if they would agree, it would be for lack of choice. It is proper to do teshuvah for the past with viduy, remorse, and kabbalah al ha’asid. It is recommended that, when you tell the girls to use numbers instead of names, you tell them the reason for it. You can then use the opportunity to ask for mechilah in case this arrangement caused them damage or pain.