June 2, 2007

They Think They Are So Smart...

A few weeks ago I went rounds with a few of my students who blatantly plagiarized their research papers. It wasn't just poor documentation. It was cutting and pasting. Half of the students I caught vehemently denied cheating, although I was standing there with the evidence. They claimed they'd never seen the websites where I'd found their information, but as we all know, it's not uncommon to find information in many places.

It almost got ugly with one student because after I called her on it, and made her sign a parent notification paper, she went back to her seat and starting talking about me behind my back to the people at her table. It loud enough for me to catch, but not loud enough for her classmates, who were busy doing other things, to notice. Since she wanted to air her dirty laundry, I called her out in front of the class and asked if she wanted to make a big production of it. Did she want me to provide the evidence to her classmates that she was indeed caught cheating? Did she really want to make a big production of it? I have years of directing experience. Oh yes! I can put on a theatrical performance. She backed down right away and even came in the next day to apologize to me.

Word gets around, though. You'd have to be a complete fool to NOT know that I was busting people for cutting and pasting work and calling it their own. So imagine my shock when I find three students who have plagiarized creative writing pieces--one of them I already busted for plagiarizing on his research paper. Is he a lost cause? Geez!

The one that is really cracking me up today is a girl who tried to pass off several poems as her own, including "I Could Give All To Time" by Robert Frost. I'd say Frost is the one poet I see students copy over and over. Oh, wait! It gets better! She also tried to pass off someone else's plagiarized/bastardized version of either Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 or Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn" that we all know as a popular song by The Byrds. Oy!

Did you catch that? She took something that someone else tried to pass off as his own on a personal website and then turned it in. What is that called?

Beating my head on the wall...

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