Yesterday I busted a group of students for cheating. They had copied someone's lab word for word, right down to the grammar and spelling mistakes. Their excuse was that they're lab partners, so naturally they would have the same answers. I might have let them off with a warning, except they had filled in the answers for this one activity that we ended up omitting. They didn't know that we skipped it because each week they've been running out of there early to copy from an ex-student's lab report. The questions for the skipped section were not easy, yet their answers for it sounded like it came straight from a teacher's mouth.
So I gave them all 0's for that lab and now require them to hand in all their stuff before they leave and get access to their cheater lab manual. I just can't believe how dumb they were with the cheating. They could have at least read the answer and reworded it. Or just corrected the spelling mistakes. I would have never known.
I wonder where they learned to cheat from. I shudder to think that they've gotten away with it before. Maybe there's something about me that emanates stupid sucker. I get that assumption a lot from students because I'm shorter than a lot of them and I have that nice (=pushover) look.
This group of students in particular has been very forward since the beginning, joking to get attention, talking while I'm giving instructions, calling me Pam right off the bat while others at least start off with Ms. or something. I'm sure they know now that I mean business.
The one thing I like about teaching labs is that we get long waiting periods with some experiments, so I have an opportunity to chat with the students. I found out that one student just had twin boys 4 months ago, another just immigrated from Germany because she got married, and yet another is being financed by his in-laws.
It is the sign of the times that a third of my students are business majors. One guy dropped out of music school to major in business. He played trumpet and at least two other instruments and wrote compositions, only to find that he wasn't able to practice, write, and work all at the same time. So now he's just focusing on work and only plays to relieve stress.
It saddens me that he's given up his more "irrational" career choice and doing the practical thing now, that he's compromised on his dreams in order to survive in this economy. Not just him but so many other people. I'm sure it is the dream of some people to do business, but I can't believe it is for that many people, especially because business is so boring.
But who am I to talk, I clean house and change diapers for a living.