As planned, I went into my research paper class this morning and asked them what consequences they thought would be fair. After expressing my disappointment, I explained my dilemma as a teacher: on the one hand, I had told them I would give each paper that included plagiarized material a zero, and as a leader, I should follow through with those consequences; but on the other hand, I don’t want to start handing out zeros like candy, especially because so much of the class would be getting one if I did give a zero for every plagiarized paper.
I explained this dilemma and then opened up the floor. I deliberately tried not to sway them one way or the other. I wanted to give them this chance to be treated like adults, and their answer would tell me a lot about what they are ready for as students and simply as human beings.
In a perfectly serious, mature and diplomatic manner, and completely on their own, the class decided that every plagiarized paper deserves a zero.
Honestly, I think we all learned something today.
It was a nice way to end this incredibly tough week. My Fulbright mid-term report was due, I had to give a keynote speech at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at the local international school, and to not only have the stress of collecting the papers in the first place, but having it turn into a massive moral quandary as well was certainly taxing.
Thankfully… I’m off to Skopje! I’ll be going with three other Americans, and while we are there, we’ll spend our time with the Perrotis College (the college at the American Farm School) students who are from the city. We even get to have lunch with one of their families on Saturday! All in all, I’m so excited to get out of town and have some FUN this weekend.