it started with a call.
a schoolmate in college called me up early june last year and asked if i was interested in handling a comm120 (law and mass media) course at kalayaan college. the idea never crossed my mind until he brought it up. surprisingly, i got excited about it. i've been doing some private tutorials for several years but handling a college class is totally different. i didn't know i wanted to teach all along.
my first sem went well. i taught 13 students. this sem, i'm teaching comm140 (communication theory) to supposedly 4 but in reality 3 students.
while teaching is a fulfilling job, there are just some things that get to you sometimes.
last sem, i almost flunked a student for plagiarizing guess what? a reaction paper on a movie. the moment i read his paper, i just knew there was something wrong. i got convinced it was cut and paste after i finished reading it. it was no reaction paper at all. it was...bitin.
so i searched his article online, encoding each sentence on the search toolbar. the results led me to wikipedia, where i found parts of his article posted there, word-for-word. he did some rearranging, and some editing, but there's no denying it was the same article he submitted.
i confronted him the next meeting, allowing him to air his side. he offered no explanations, admitting the charge outright. i told him i was giving him a 5 but that he could still attend my class so he could learn more.
perhaps i said it in a fit of anger, but i did try to be as calm as possible the whole time i was talking to him. what upset me was not that he thought little of me by supposing that he could get away with it; rather, it was the thought that he's a journalism student for crying out loud, and that paper was to earn him extra points only. it wasn't even a requirement. and of all websites, wikipedia pa!
in the end, i never had the heart to flunk him. he came to class til the end of the semester and passed the finals. i gave him a 3 instead, but i did tell him the next time we met that i was giving him a chance; he better not do it again.
now just this morning, another student almost pissed me off. i had already finished giving the midterms exam to 2 of my students and i was on my way to the bank when i spotted student no. 3. i asked him if he was taking the exam. he said yes so i told him to wait for me in the room for 15 minutes.
when i came back, he was nowhere to be found. lo and behold, it was me who waited for 30 minutes before my prodigal student came, apologizing for being late. i allowed him to take the exam nevertheless but only until the end of the period scheduled for the exam.
i don't know if i'm too lenient on my students but being a student myself, how can i afford to be more imposing when i know how it is to be at the receiving end? then again, how will they ever learn unless they learn it the hard way?
tough balancing act i suppose. but a tough act definitely worth balancing.
simulblog with pics at: driven 2