Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Goal of the week: Timing the lessons effectively. So far, it's not been going so well. I managed to do it perfectly on Tuesday and fail the rest of the week. There's still hope.

Topic of the Day: Cheating!
I've been fairly lucky so far. I haven't run into much blatant cheating. Of course, there's probably a whole bunch that goes on under my nose... but I remember that high school was like that. The kids do stuff like that because they don't understand the importance of what they're doing.

Today, I had a student steal another students poster (big project), erase her name, put his own on it, and turn it in as his own work. I caught it because I had helped the first student create her poster so I knew what it looked like. That, and it was very distinctively her's.

I was livid. I hate cheating. If you do something like that in college, it's a good way to get thrown out of the school and lose a lot of money. If you do it in the scientific world then you don't have a career anymore. Plagiarism is considered the very worst of all sins - except maybe being unable to get published.

I pulled the student into my room and confronted him. He just smiled and admitted that he'd done it. He was very cool - like it was all a joke. I gave him an out. I told him that if he wanted to not get suspended for plagiarism and theft then he could write me a 4 page paper on why cheating isn't good for a student and how he'd feel if it happened to him. He just laughed and said to "write him up." I was stunned.

I'm still stunned.

Then the thought occurred to me. He doens't get very good grades. He doesn't turn in homework, really, except when he does it with other people. I think he might be functionally illiterate.

He might have been smiling because he was nervous about being found out. I feel like a jerk if that's true because the "out" I gave him wouldn't have been an out at all. I need to start offering "community service" for the kids as an out - where they come in after school and help me clean and grade to get out of trouble. That, instead of a paper, would be more effective because it'd keep them out of trouble and they'd hate it so they'd not misbehave again.

But I still feel like a jerk.

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