As some of you know, I’m a PhD student here in Ohio. Part of my duties as a Graduate Assistant (to get paid!) include being a Teacher’s Assistant to 3 different freshman-level classes. On Fridays, I hold sessions with them, answer questions, help them prepare for upcoming exams, collect their weekly journals and whatever else they need.
Until 1pm today, everything was super-cool. My kids’ writing has improved tremendously and I actually enjoy reading their writing. I have lots of international students, older students and athletes and the mix makes for good debates. My biggest problem is with my doggone basketball player..and there’s a big problem.
Today, I was chatting it up with another TA and we started talking about the oddball journals we’ve received since school started. One student in particular has a peculiar writing style – one that always ends in paragraphs that say “that was an example of ***”. My one basketball player also has a different writing style, but his always has tons of examples from his basketball practices and his girlfriend. Cute right? Well, as we were talking about journals, I started reading some of the ones I’d collected and something caught my eye. My basketball player’s journal ended with “this is an example of ***”. Hmmm.
Then I read further and saw his started with “this week in ***” and my other student’s started with “this week in ***”. Oh goodness.
Both journals had the same number of paragraphs, the same examples with the same named people. Somebody was cheating. So the other TA and I immediately looked through all of our journals to find others. He found one. Another doggone basketball player. *sigh*
Of course, we had to inform our TA director. She read them all and was livid. We make ourselves more than available and they’ve never come for additional assistance. They never said anything to her either, so she was pissed that they’d try to get away with this. She then called the coach and left a message. Coach called back within 10 minutes. We have a meeting with them all on Friday. Basketball players are a trip. I remember one asking me to do his Trigonometry homework in high school for – get this – milk and cookies at lunch! I’m not Bernie Mac.
Y’all, this could mean dismissal from the university. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone being kicked out of school, but you can’t cheat and get away with it. I feel good that I’m establishing myself as a serious teacher, but I feel so guilty that they could get kicked out.