Saturday, June 23, 2007

Time has told me...You're a rare rare find...A troubled cure...For a troubled mind.

I'm in a weird mood today. I feel really awake for the first time in a week, and as I sat waiting for the water to boil, everything seemed clearer, sharper than usual.

Part of this may be one or all of three things:

I've finally had a decent night's sleep

I finally am wearing my contacts after being forced into glasses from all the pollen

I'm listening to Nick Drake--who can't feel weird listening to his voice?

Or it may be this:

Yesterday I filed a report of plagiarism on one of my students who is in my College English I. She had taken not one, but two essays off the internet. I was immediately suspicious by the perfection of grammar and semi-colons--not to mention the voice. When you've read enough work by second language students, there's a rhythm they all have. Even if it's understandable--even if it's pretty good, there is that tenor only such students have.

I saw her in the learning center and confronted her in my "office"--otherwise known as a cubicle. She's a second language student, and though her writing (when unplagiarized--which I know from her exam work) is passable, she doesn't really understand English, if that makes any sense--so she didn't really understand what I said. She kept saying, Can I write it another time? I said no, she would lose 200 points from her final grade. She asked: Will I fail? Maybe, I said. She didn't really care, it seemed, about the gravity of the offence--she only cared if she would pass the class.

The crazy thing about this, is I handed out a four-page treatise on plagiarism in on Wednesday. And I explained everything in it. I asked her if she'd read it--she didn't even know what I was talking about.

I don't think the treatise meant much to a lot of my students. I gave examples of plagiarism where people modified the work ever so slightly. Many of them said: But it's different! One of my students said, If I take an entire essay off the internet but make sure you know who wrote it, would you consider it plagiarism?

Or it may be this:

I stopped at a local drugstore before I got on the train last night. As I walked through the door, someone behind me said, Miss, miss! I turned. A middle aged man with gray-blond hair held out a folded scrap of paper. Here miss, he said, handing the paper to me. I thought it was something I'd dropped, so I took it and put it in my pocket. When I had a chance to look at it, it said Call Me. Gene. And had a phone number.

I'm not quite sure why a man would think a woman would actually call, but I was propositioned a few weeks back by a man near my school, so stranger things can happen. Once again, I was heading home. This guy was walking towards me with a bag of Chinese food in hand. Hi, he said. Hi, I said. I actually stopped, because he was South Asian and several of the male teachers are from that region, so I thought this guy might be one of them. And somehow he recognized me.

Do I know you? I said, once I realized he wasn't one of the teachers.

Maybe, he said.

I got uncomfortable and said, Well, I need to go.

Do you want to hook up? he said. I'm over at the Sheraton right here, so if you want to come up...

He said he was at the Sheraton like he was staying the Ritz or something.

Ah, no, I said, walking away.

It's not like I was wearing anything that would scream sexy to him, especially with all the skinny minis in couchie skirts around him. Maybe my blouse was open too far. Who knows? Last night I was wearing very boring dress pants and a blazer. What about me is attractive to middle aged men? Well, the proposition guy was probably 35ish...