Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Here We Go Again...

with the plagiarism. 

A couple of years ago, I had a rash of plagiarism in a freshman class.  I think I turned in three students at one time--one received zeros on her assignments (which effectively tanked her grade); one received a zero and probation for the rest of her time in college; and the other didn't show up for his hearing, and, I guess, ended up being expelled.

I hate plagiarism.  First, it takes a great deal of my time--I have to gather up and copy material, write a memo to the dean of students, and hold the rest of the assignments until the dean sets a hearing date and the committee makes a decision.  Second, my other students get angry with me because I won't give them their papers, and I won't tell them why.  Third, inevitably, the Student Conduct Board sets the hearing for a day when I wouldn't be in town, which means that I have to drive 45 minutes one way for 15 minutes of drama, then drive 45 minutes back home.  Not productive for me.

Generally, the student cops to it.  If he/she would do that to the dean of students, the hearing wouldn't be necessary.  The student could discuss it with the dean, and he and I could determine how to handle it.  That would be much easier (for me).

I can't ignore it--my students just don't understand that.  And, if they thought about it, they wouldn't want me to.  They'd hate the idea that another student made a better grade by cheating.  So I have to do this.  I just wish I didn't.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This poem writing has me by the throat...

I wrote a sonnet the other day; that's line two.

I don't write much formal poetry--that is, poems that require a specific form. That being said, in the last two days, I've written three--a sonnet, a villanelle, and a pantoum.

Formed poetry is, to me, mathematical in its precision. I have to worry about meter and rhyme scheme, and sometimes, as with the villanelle and the pantoum, I have to flip lines according to a specific pattern. It's hard; it requires concentration. But once I get started with them, they are hard to shake.

So, here's the pantoum; I'll post this on NaPo tomorrow:

A Possible Pantoum

There is no heart where heartache cannot go.
We guard ourselves, believing we are safe,
Yet pain will come, and we will never know
The lengths to which it goes to find its place.

We guard ourselves, believing we are safe
From jealousy, and love, and burning rages.
The lengths to which it goes to find its place
Never lessens, not with growing grace or age.

These jealousies, and loves, and burning rages
Consume us, fill our souls with awful fire.
It never lessens, not with growing grace or age
And drags us through the mud of grand desire

That consumes us; it fills our souls with fire
That burns us down to ash and smoky embers
and drags us through the mud of grand desire
To places we fear we always will remember.

It burns us down to ash and smoky embers.
The pain will come, and we will never know
the places we fear, that we always will remember.
There is no heart where heartache cannot go.

See if you can figure out the "rules" for this one!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April is Poetry Month...

so I am participating at NaPoWriMo at Poets.org, where my friend, Catherine Rogers, moderates a forum.

I've gotten another friend/former student involved.  It's similar to NaNoWriMo--but for NaPo, the object is to write a poem a day.  I'm hoping it forces me to get back into the poetry-writing habit that I abandoned a while ago. 

I used to write poetry all the time--and I do mean that!  I've had poems published, and I received a fellowship for my poetry.  But, after I read and/or grade 60-70 essays or other writing assignments, I don't feel poetic.  By the time I finish grading papers, I feel like Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady"--"Words, words, words--I'm so sick of words."

Just so my students don't go into a blue funk, let me say that not everything I read is awful.  It's just that, after my brain processes all those words, it has trouble finding more.  I have to decompress; then I have to begin grading again.  It's a never-ending cycle.

So far, so good...I've posted two poems.  I wrote them a few weeks ago, but I've been revising them.  As long as they're still "in play," I think of them as current.  And today I've written a couple of poems that need work, so I'll use those when I'm ready for someone to see them.

Ah, one must have these little challenges!