March 30, 2011

happy happy happy gone gone gone

happy happy happy Mr. Plagiarizer dropped and is gone gone gone

That's the big news.  It was not before I spent close to 2 hours putting together copies, and writing the letter to the VP of Student Services, but at least it was before I had to grade his (potentially plagiarized) research paper in three weeks.  He pulled another 43%-er out to sea with him (they always walked together), and she dropped too.  I talked with the third 43%-er today, and he thinks he'll drop because quite frankly he doesn't really care if he can write because he just wants to pass my class (I kid you not.  He said that.)

The last 43%-er started crying when she looked at the score of her latest essay (not an illustrious showing, shall we just say.  I stopped grading her errors on page two after the count hit 26).  She waited for me outside the classroom, and we talked about her paper.  She became angry, accusing me of stupid requirements that "no other teacher on this campus" would require her to do.  Some of these (there were a few) were:
  • writing in a consistent point of view (POV) I don't allow them to use "you" in their papers--call me old school but I think formal composition is a good skill to have tucked away
  • requiring a thesis (which she kept referring to as a topic sentence)
  • insisting on structure in the paper.

She's a dynamo in front of the class--always poised and able to speak clearly and keep the class' attention.  I don't like to make the students cry.  I certainly don't grade their essays thinking "I wonder if I can make them cry."

The final shot was she pointed to her paper and said, "I could turn this paper in anywhere else on campus and get an A, but you?  you?"  She sputtered.  "If it weren't for you, I'd have an A in this class right now!" 

There were a few other things said, and I felt bad for her.  Bad that her meager effort was not getting her what she wanted.  Felt bad that her 9th grade skills were not enough to help her pass a college-level English class.  Felt bad that a young woman who had missed roughly a third of the class sessions and was nearly 15 minutes late every day thought that just wanting it would  get it done.

I can't help a lot of things.  Her grades stand.  I'll be in that classroom again on Thursday minus two and maybe four students.  I'll show them MLA and thesis construction for argument and formal POV and topic sentences and insist on proper spelling and punctuation and sentence construction.

Just like the rest of you.


  1. I am so astounded by how some students think just wanting something is the way it is gotten. I am confused by their thinking that "you" are the problem...and that "you" are against them. I am worried that they think that but for "you" their standards would be okay.
    Grrrr. Stand fast and firm! Thank you for doing so!

  2. Oh, and I LOVE the picture! What happy, happy, joy, joy, joy!

  3. Good for you staying true to what you know to be important! It always amazes me that some students think that just because they have always gotten A's means they don't have to earn them anymore!

  4. The tragedy is that the young woman probably believes what she said, truly! I'm glad you stick to what you believe you should teach. Remember there are others in your class, others who are learning and doing well! Sorry for the upset though; it's never easy.

  5. I would call this generation "The Entitlement Generation." Good for you for sticking to your guns. Our students need to learn and grow, not just pass through.

  6. Right...totally your fault! I wonder what other teachers on campus would actually say to her if she showed them the paper. I suppose she'll find out when she tries to take the class from someone else.

  7. "Felt bad that a young woman ... thought that just wanting it would get it done." I love this line. Just love it. You have articulated her actions perfectly. So glad you have standards. The world needs you.