Last Day

I coughed and hacked and wheezed my way through my semester’s last day of teaching today. It was a banner semester for plagiarism, unfortunately; three different cases, with three different solutions, two still pending. While Charlie’s work has offered me some really productive ways to think about calling into question the notion of writing as property, I think one way to understand plagiarism as a problem would be to see it as the reduction of the value of a piece of writing solely to its exchange value: its only worth to the student is in the grade it can get the student, as opposed to the use value that students get from what they learn by going through the process of actually writing a paper. In other words, one doesn’t necessarily have to buy into conventional constructions of textual ownership in order to understand plagiarism as problematic.

But I was talking about my day. I’m still sick, but it’s just been fatigue and a terrible cough and nothing else, and I think the worst of it is behind me. I still don’t feel like eating anything, much less anything spicy, which is unfortunate because the only leftovers in the fridge are all spicy. My sink is full of dirty dishes. My apartment is a godawful wreck. I can’t remember the last time I watered the plants. This is not the way I like things.

But I blushed when I got applause after telling them thank you for a great semester.

Or maybe it was applause for all of us. Applause to say you’re welcome and we worked our butts off. That’s a better way to think of it, I think.

Last Day

One thought on “Last Day

  • December 11, 2003 at 10:51 pm

    Sorry to hear that you’re sick. I’m just now on the mend…and you had the one-two punch of plagiarism on top of that. To me, when I read that paper and know instantly that that student didn’t write those words, it feels exactly like a punch in the stomach. Seriously, I get so depressed and feel incredibly betrayed when that happens. It doesn’t help that SO OFTEN other composition teachers are all smug and everything, saying that oh, if you hadn’t set up your assignments in that way, students wouldn’t have plagiarized. A student plagiarized? YOU must not have motivated them enough. It’s part of the reason I cancelled my subscription to a particular listserv some time ago. It’s always the teacher’s fault, never the student’s, the institution’s, the economy’s, the parents’, the K-12 school system, etc. šŸ™

    On a brighter note, I got a letter from your brother today!!! šŸ™‚ Am writing back before I hit the hay.

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