Of course as a teacher, I've encountered plagiarism. And most of the time, it's pretty obvious. Kids have a certain voice, and it comes out in their speech and writing - even the short answers they give on a quiz shows their voice. When they go ahead and copy and paste, I have to sigh at their naivety thinking that I wouldn't catch on immediately.
I remember a project I gave my eighth graders my first year. They could draw, write a story or poem, or make a collage about the short story they liked the most.in the quarter.
Of course- what should have taken the kids a few nights after school took two weeks of class time -- Rookie mistake for sure.
But - well-- live and learn.
I remember looking at the pieces as each student handed in their work and being in awe at the beauty of their creativity - of course there were a few duds - but that's how it goes sometimes - creativity during those two weeks was low for that student or whatever.
One student handed in something he drew at home - but it wasn't the original - it was scanned and printed. He told me that right after he was finished he had scanned it and set it down - and his pop spilled all over it.
The story was fishy - and yet, for some reason believable.
I held it up and showed it to the para.
He shook his head "Naww... he didn't do it."
I wanted to believe the student. I showed it to the art teacher.
"No Way..." she said.
That night, I had volunteered to be on the fan bus. This kid's parents were signed up to be on my bus. I brought the beautiful work with me.
When they looked at me, they said "Oh - he does this all the time."
I knew it!!! I knew this kid was a prodigy! I was thrilled. I was excited that he had shown me his brilliance, and I discovered it!
What I didn't count on was that by asking and validating this artwork the kid wouldn't trust me again for a very long time.. By questioning, he felt I was questioning him. I think that hurt him.
I never handed back that work. I kept it in my happy file. I knew he had a scan of it at home I wanted it to remind me to trust my own instincts. Hopefully, he'll show off his talent to more teachers so they'll believe him too. I won't be there to take out his beautiful picture and say - "Well, he did draw this for me that one time."