If I were a Professor

If I were a professor, I’m not sure how I might act at Dane’s confession. At the same time that I would be indignant, not only at my students (for cheating) and for him (for helping them cheat, making money for myself and essentially telling me I’m not doing my job correctly), I think that I would also be a little bit ashamed of myself. Because deep inside, I think I might know that part of him was correct when he pointed fingers the academic community for pushing these students towards cheating.

If one looks at how the educational system is now, there is so much emphasis on grades. Everything through college is about two things: grades and money. Even in elementary school, some children are already thinking abut college, and I know that even before students matriculate into a high school, they are already thinking about SAT tutors, scholarships, how many AP’s they can take, and getting involved in the “good” extracurricular activities. But, the one thing I always hear people say is, either in high school or in college, is talking about how they absolutely HAVE to get good grades in order to be accepted into ____ blank school. So when teachers aren’t helpful and students are under stress, I can understand turning to cheating.

But back to the point, if I had read Dante’s confession, my first thought as a professor would be to go back through assignments and see if there was anything I missed, perhaps a change of style that indicated a different writer. And then, I would try to change some policies. Not too much at any one time, but I may try to become more lenient, and be more open to students needing help. Or I might start out the year helpfully (especially if I taught a class primarily of freshman) and then slowly let the students become independent. I might also utilize such tools as turnitin.com, which checks against plagiarism. And hopefully, through these measures, I would be able to prevent my students, or at least turn them away from, cheating.

Personally, I would really like to take Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing Class. While it may sound stupid, because all you are doing is completely plagiarizing other peoples’ work, you are still, in a sense, crafting an essay. You have to do your own research in order to find all of these other peoples’ work on the subject on which you are writing, and then take excerpts from each of them that you want to use and tie them together in a, at least, coherent fashion. At the same time, everything that you are “stitching and patchworking” should lead to the conclusion you are making in the paper. The class and the skills needed to thrive in it could, in a sense, make you a better writer in that you might learn how to better express an idea or tie in two points. But, part of the reason I would like to take the class is to see what it feels like to be someone who cheats all the time, especially with the final project of buying a paper. I think it would seem almost… surreal to, after everything we hear condemning cheating, then become cheaters ourselves.

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