Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo or something like that

Every day in November, one post from yours truly, which, last spring, would not have been any major commitment. I was posting multiple times a day, but now, with the leaves browned and fallen, a recent addiction to reading, and Thursdays spent jetting up to the Twin Cities for late night poetry, not to mention the long walk toward graduate school applications... blogging hasn't been a priority. Not that it was before, but now, I feel my days are regular, patterned, and there isn't much to say: woke up, taught, came home, took a nap or maybe watched an episode of The West Wing, walked the dogs, had dinner with Husband, read until my eyes drooped and slept. At school: Paradise Lost and Edgar Allan Poe, maybe Stephen King if I'm feeling as bored as the kids. During prep, I write my daily poem; during study hall, I read, enter books at my recent addiction: GoodReads, maybe even grade. I'm learning how to assign things and review without having to actually grade--how to spend more time on teaching and discussing and less on... well, worksheets. I am not teaching freshmen any more. It's easier this way.

Today's big morning event: I caught a plagiarist. This always brings me to a fury, though I grin when I catch them, as if I've become clever somehow. I didn't let it slip by... (How many times does it slip by?) Cheating makes me furious, though I cannot say I was completely innocent to it when I was in high school. I would write French verb conjugations on my folders, between other scribbles, and leave that folder face up on the floor during quizzes. For AP History, we used to have to write essays every Friday and half the class would keep notes within their sheaf of blank paper; the teacher never made his way beyond the front row and when he graded, he simply looked for keywords (I find myself doing this sometimes, with journal entries, and pause, wondering if I've ever missed, "Mary had a little lamb...").

Catching a plagiarist is a weird sort of triumph. I am glad I did it, and when I tried to call the parents: home phone was disconnected, cell phone was the son's, extra number was another girl's cell phone (girlfriend?). We allow these students to fill out the emergency information cards, have nothing but a signature--who knows how many times we get duped and how little energy we actually have to correct it?

One thing I can say about this school that wasn't as true about Old High School--attendance is not a joke. I have gotten into trouble for not keeping accurate attendance, and I'm glad for it. Now I am more vigilant; at the old high school, I eventually gave up. It didn't matter--so few people were filing avidly themselves and when we did realize the kid was skipping, nothing was really done about it. No real consequences.

Apparently, this first post is a rant, which is silly because I'm actually quite content where I am... In fact, I've spent some time bragging about how the end of the first quarter is near and I have not yet had one missed day, not one missed class period. I have not been out sick, hooky, or otherwise, and I'm glad for it.

What a strange and rambling first post. Welcome to that holiday known as National Blog Posting Month (or something like that).

1 comment:

EWH said...

I LOVE catching cheaters; love telling the story to [appropriate] people after. Triumph is the correct word for the satisfaction I feel. Also guilty in high school (but never caught), I also wonder how many get away with it.

Despite the joy, it's one of the reasons I love speech. Though they can plagiarize research and outlines, the majority of the points come from actually delivering the speech, which would be REALLY hard to fake :-).