23 February, 2016

Chaucer was so full of it

April is innocent. It's freakin' February.

Okay, Chaucer was all up about the weather, droughts of March, rains, blah blah. I would like to see that rain. El Nino in SoCal right now is a big no-show. I am not complaining (oh, yes I am) about nice weather. I am complaining about summer heat in February. I am not ready to yield up my long sleeves yet! No! It sucks to be a knitter in a place where you can wear a sweater, like, 2 days out of a year. I don't even wear socks most of the time. Fortunately Nous does, so he benefits. And Zero in Toronto gets sweaters.

But weather is not the worse offense, O February. No. That, we reserve for the day job. February is Crazy Times in the quarter anyway. It is the month of All The Drafts of that second paper the necessity of which I acknowledge, while at the same time regretting its complexity.

This quarter, I got a plagiarist. I am not happy. They don't happen often, but when they do, they take a lot of time to handle--means getting my boss involved, gathering documentation, etc, taking time I would rather spend commenting on drafts (oh, be honest: writing non-work things). But really, it's the betrayal. Don't imagine I'm stupid, kid, or that I can't tell you didn't write something. But really don't imagine I won't notice if you stole work from my former students.  And then, for the love of all that is good, don't skip the fucking meeting with me because you're too scared to own what you did.

The worst part of this one: there might be complicity on the part of the plagiarized. Victims...or accomplices. We have no way to know. I can guess, and I can believe, but I can't know. I hate not knowing. I hate that I  now wonder if I must missed some degree of perfidy in those kids during endless conferences and talks about their work, or if their bleeding-on-the-paper honesty was just...bullshit. Bullshit that I believed.

I am angry. I don't like being angry. I don't like being the Green Knight's Axe. I don't like the waste of energy and time. I don't like being reminded that people are shitheads. I mean I know that, but I let myself believe it doesn't happen in my classroom, where we read freakin' Nicomachean Ethics in week one. Clearly the lessons don't stick. (But they do, for many. I see the lightbulbs go off.) There's an intimacy to teaching writing: they come in broken, convinced they can't do this, and you show them otherwise. You encourage and excoriate, you read confessions and heartbreaks and triumphs, you watch their eyes light up when they realize they care about what they're writing for the first time in their lives.

Right. Hold onto that feeling, not the betrayed-sick-I AM THE AXE feeling. Onwards to March.