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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A plot summary

Three weeks ago: discovered student plagiarizing by copying synopses from Wikipedia instead of writing his own.

The next day: received apology from student by e-mail with admission of wrongdoing and plea for "a second chance."

The day after that: replied with acceptance of his apology and a note that we would discuss his actions further on his return from spring break. Requested that he complete his assignment for our next tutoring session so that we could begin examining his real writing in order to make improvements.

Yesterday: received new writing from student. Checked Wikipedia and found work was still copied nearly word for word -- but this time with a few phrases substituted.

WTF?

Let me be the first to say the design of the assignment is flawed -- if I were in control of the curriculum, I'd ask the kid to do much more than write synopses of the books he's reading, precisely to prevent this kind of easy textual pilfering, but my boss is pretty married to making him develop this summary-writing skill before any others.

But after the kid's use of his "second chance" to do that? And his total lack of remorse during our session yesterday? I'm starting to think his apology was rather disingenuous. You know, fool me once, etc.

So why do I feel guilty that I'm pissed about all this?

5 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

I posted about that same thing sometime last year--about the sense of guilt. It seems that I remember coming to some kind of conclusion about the source of the guilt. Or maybe I didn't. I'll have to see if I can dig it out when I have time.

In the meantime, the monkey on your back isn't actually your monkey! Give it back to the student.

Like my metaphor?

((CT))

BigLittleWolf said...

I have a friend who is a high school teacher, and this problem is pretty widespread, best I can tell. Not only using Google for synopses, but (clear) translations, wholesale copying of text from a variety of sources.

One chance to make amends? Sounds fair. More than that?

These are clear violations of honor codes, and it seems to me, the kid gets an F, and everything else he or she deserves.

You did what you could. The responsibility for these misdeeds is not yours. The kid was dumb by doing this one time. Really dumb repeating this behavior.

Consequences are necessary lessons, CT.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW -- I would *love* to offload this monkey on the student. I think I'm realizing the flaws in the system set up by my boss are blocking my effectiveness as a teacher. She reserves the privilege of contacting the student's parents, which she did the first time I caught the student plagiarizing, but we now see how little one phone call did. When I taught middle school, we were encouraged to be as in touch with our kids' families as needed to get parental support/reinforcement. I think I'm trying to muster the will to get into a tussle with my boss about letting me do the calling instead of relying on her to do it.

Oh, and I always enjoy your metaphors :)


BLW -- isn't it appalling how widespread this is? I know it too from my former teaching years (few, but well-seasoned with such incidents). That's what makes the design of an assignment so crucial. If it requires more student-generated opinion (supported by textual evidence), it at least begins to make cutting and pasting more difficult for kids. The problem I have now is that I have no consequences to levy since the assignments aren't graded and I can't take away privileges at home. That's up to his parents. I'm also in the bind where if I scare the student off (i.e., lose his business) because I'm being tough with him for his own good, my boss won't be happy. Ultimately, I think I have to act in the student's best interest, so I'll see about getting parental phone numbers from my boss -- or I'll push for a conference call so I can at least feel like I've pushed harder for people to do the right thing for this kid.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

In my nine years of teaching private high school, nothing bothered me more than students' passing off other writing as their own especially I dedicated a good part of our writing curriculum to finding and citing sources. At one school, plagiarism resulted in automatic failure of the assignment; a second brought failure of the course; a third meant expulsion. At the second, outright copying brought little more than a slap on the wrist. Care to guess at which school plagiarism ran more rampant?

C. Troubadour said...

Kristen -- I suspect this kid got from his parents what was more like the policy at the second school you describe. What a difference true consequences can make, eh? It's frustrating to be stuck in a system that doesn't support teachers' efforts to teach.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A plot summary

Three weeks ago: discovered student plagiarizing by copying synopses from Wikipedia instead of writing his own.

The next day: received apology from student by e-mail with admission of wrongdoing and plea for "a second chance."

The day after that: replied with acceptance of his apology and a note that we would discuss his actions further on his return from spring break. Requested that he complete his assignment for our next tutoring session so that we could begin examining his real writing in order to make improvements.

Yesterday: received new writing from student. Checked Wikipedia and found work was still copied nearly word for word -- but this time with a few phrases substituted.

WTF?

Let me be the first to say the design of the assignment is flawed -- if I were in control of the curriculum, I'd ask the kid to do much more than write synopses of the books he's reading, precisely to prevent this kind of easy textual pilfering, but my boss is pretty married to making him develop this summary-writing skill before any others.

But after the kid's use of his "second chance" to do that? And his total lack of remorse during our session yesterday? I'm starting to think his apology was rather disingenuous. You know, fool me once, etc.

So why do I feel guilty that I'm pissed about all this?

5 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

I posted about that same thing sometime last year--about the sense of guilt. It seems that I remember coming to some kind of conclusion about the source of the guilt. Or maybe I didn't. I'll have to see if I can dig it out when I have time.

In the meantime, the monkey on your back isn't actually your monkey! Give it back to the student.

Like my metaphor?

((CT))

BigLittleWolf said...

I have a friend who is a high school teacher, and this problem is pretty widespread, best I can tell. Not only using Google for synopses, but (clear) translations, wholesale copying of text from a variety of sources.

One chance to make amends? Sounds fair. More than that?

These are clear violations of honor codes, and it seems to me, the kid gets an F, and everything else he or she deserves.

You did what you could. The responsibility for these misdeeds is not yours. The kid was dumb by doing this one time. Really dumb repeating this behavior.

Consequences are necessary lessons, CT.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW -- I would *love* to offload this monkey on the student. I think I'm realizing the flaws in the system set up by my boss are blocking my effectiveness as a teacher. She reserves the privilege of contacting the student's parents, which she did the first time I caught the student plagiarizing, but we now see how little one phone call did. When I taught middle school, we were encouraged to be as in touch with our kids' families as needed to get parental support/reinforcement. I think I'm trying to muster the will to get into a tussle with my boss about letting me do the calling instead of relying on her to do it.

Oh, and I always enjoy your metaphors :)


BLW -- isn't it appalling how widespread this is? I know it too from my former teaching years (few, but well-seasoned with such incidents). That's what makes the design of an assignment so crucial. If it requires more student-generated opinion (supported by textual evidence), it at least begins to make cutting and pasting more difficult for kids. The problem I have now is that I have no consequences to levy since the assignments aren't graded and I can't take away privileges at home. That's up to his parents. I'm also in the bind where if I scare the student off (i.e., lose his business) because I'm being tough with him for his own good, my boss won't be happy. Ultimately, I think I have to act in the student's best interest, so I'll see about getting parental phone numbers from my boss -- or I'll push for a conference call so I can at least feel like I've pushed harder for people to do the right thing for this kid.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

In my nine years of teaching private high school, nothing bothered me more than students' passing off other writing as their own especially I dedicated a good part of our writing curriculum to finding and citing sources. At one school, plagiarism resulted in automatic failure of the assignment; a second brought failure of the course; a third meant expulsion. At the second, outright copying brought little more than a slap on the wrist. Care to guess at which school plagiarism ran more rampant?

C. Troubadour said...

Kristen -- I suspect this kid got from his parents what was more like the policy at the second school you describe. What a difference true consequences can make, eh? It's frustrating to be stuck in a system that doesn't support teachers' efforts to teach.