Thursday, September 16, 2010

Plagiarism

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."

2 comments:

EDK said...

True talent will out, they say,

whatever the disappointments along
the way.

To be too good to be believed,

ah, that is true talent indeed.

ME said...

:)

I like that!