Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm So Tired of Plagiarism


Please, change the font from the website you copied to match the one you're using.
Change all the big words to words you would actually use.
Don't assume that I won't notice if I read a derivative of a paper I already graded in another class.
Realize that I can find that Wikipedia article just as easily as you can.
Remember that I have read your writing every day for the last 8 months and know what it looks and sounds like.
Oh, and by all means, when confronted with indisputable evidence, deny it. Because I'm sure it's just a coincidence that you and Sparknotes had the exact same things to say about that book you read.

Or, just write your own two page paper.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Being a Little Braver

I think I've figured out my problem with this blog. Within the last year (ish), my readership has changed drastically. I now have in-laws, book club friends, and some random acquaintances instead of my mom and friends from high school and college. I now feel the need to impress you all the time. And, that makes it a little more scary to write.

But, here's the thing, you are all very nice people. I'm sure that even if I wrote the world's worst blog post, none of you would send me hate mail or even mention it at all. So, I'm going to stop worrying about impressing and entertaining everyone and just write. After all, my mom needs something to read when things are slow at work ;)

Last week, I attended the last session of my literacy conference, and today, I went to the third session of a technical and professional writing conference. I have decided that I love professional conferences (at least so far) for these reasons:
  1. I get paid to go to them.
  2. I get college credit for them. Although most of those credits won't ever apply to a graduate degree, it makes me feel so stinking cool to know that I am stockpiling graduate level credits.
  3. I get a break from being in the classroom. Don't get me wrong, I love being at school and teaching. It's kind of like being a mom. Sometimes, you need a babysitter and a day out to get a pedicure so that you can live up to your best mommy potential.
  4. I learn lots of great things. I think (and have been reaffirmed by my teaching idol Jeff Wilhelm) that the best teachers are always still in the role of being a learner. Plus, I just genuinely like learning things.
  5. They are rejuvenating. People always have such negative things to say about education. It is so discouraging to be working my very, very hardest to be a good teacher and make a difference in the world only to have people make thoughtless and ignorant statements about how ineffective and overpaid teachers are. It's like nails on a chalkboard. It's like tacky acrylic nails on a chalkboard. That's why I love meeting with other adults who have dedicated their life's work to improving education. These are passionate and intelligent people. They help me stay focused on my goals as an educator. And, they are the proof that those uninvolved critics of education are wrong.
I also think it's important to post an update here on things in general. Remember when I wrote that post with all the homemade charts about how school was awful and pretty much made me cry a lot? It's so, so, so much better now! There were some behavioral and instructional changes made. Oh, and my biggest class dropped down to a much more manageable 40 students, that helped. But, most of all, I re-learned that most important of lessons for a teacher to know: when you are interacting 100+ people on a daily basis, perfection is even more impossible than usual. So, you do the very best you can, deal with things as they come up, and try to stay focused on the positives. Anyway, here's a new chart for you with a confidently projected outcome for the rest of the year (even with the assumption that I'll be on the graduation committee again):