The story that follows keeps running through my mind, disturbing my inner peace. It occurred several weeks ago while I worked. As a teacher I take plagiarism seriously. Repeatedly, I explain that it is cheating and ultimately a form of stealing. Yes, stealing. When students cheat, copy another’s work whether from some famous author or from the student by them, they are stealing from that person, and in reality cheating themselves, cheating themselves from learning what may have proven to be valuable information or a needed skill later in life.
Several weeks ago, a former, talented student asked to observe my classes as part of his assignment from a college class. He sat in on a couple of classes, many of the students already knew him, and I explained his purpose in being there. At the end of the day, while we chatted about the past and his excellent grades when he attended my English class, he informed me that he frequently writes not only his own papers but also the papers for another student, who was also a former student and perfectly able to write decent papers himself. He told me that the student for whom he writes these papers pays him either with money or beer. Too astonished to adequately respond, I kept silent. However, this continues to haunt me, not only because my opinion of the student plummeted but also because he plans to be a coach and teacher himself. Will he later realize the unacceptability of his behavior, how unethical and immoral? Will he change when he becomes a teacher himself?
I also remain unhappy with myself for not saying something to him immediately. My shock really is not an excuse. I now promise myself that if I do see him again soon, I will definitely explain my dismay and sadness with his story. I also wonder why he told me? Regardless, I worry for the future if this is the type of person who will replace current teachers. I also wonder how many current teachers find this sort of behavior normal, acceptable.
Probably only school teachers and students will relate, but since school was out a couple of days ago, I have to really think to know what day it is. You would think I could remember because today is a busy day and last night’s sleep was interrupted by lightning, tornadoes, crashing rain, and hail. Tonight they predict more of the same. I live out in the country; I cannot hear the tornado sirens going off. About 1:30 am, my daughter calls from her basement in town. The tornado sirens had gone off and she and my grandson had gone to the basement. Honestly, hail worries me more than the threat of a tornado because hail is relatively common here. Little hail won’t destroy my steel roof or break the numerous banks of windows in my house, but large hail…I don’t want to even think about it, especially since the company from which I bought all these windows went bankrupt.
It’s humid, really humid. We here in semiarid country are not used to humid. Feels like you cannot quite ever get dry. Clouds come and go and I am guessing tonight will be a repeat of last night. I do not need a weather forecaster to tell me that. But it’s green, really green, emerald green, an infrequent site here too much of the time. At least, I won’t have to worry bout wildfires like I did two weeks ago.
My daughter was called in to work–she’s a nurse, my grandson is eating a grilled cheese sandwich–I use artisan bread and cook it in olive oil. Gives grilled cheese a whole new meaning. In two hours we will go to friend’s house to visit with her dad who arrived from Mexico for a vacation. I will have to use my Spanish; he speaks no English. Last night he called me on the phone. He talks fast and I am a bit lost. It’s easier in person. Then we will pick up my grandson’s older brother, we will take grandson to soccer practice, take him home and finally older brother and I will be off to a concert we know nothing about (an adventure) and to Art Walk. Art Walk occurs the first Friday evening every month. You would think I would remember what day it is.