Like most creative people, I have more than one story idea bouncing around in my head at any given time. While I’m not one of those people who likes to drop the current project in favor of the new and shiny, I have been known to pause and work on a piece of short fiction. Sometimes it’s for a specific market, and sometimes it just to get out an idea that has been percolating and is finally fully brewed.
Such was the case two weekends ago. I’ve had pieces of a Janner Kohl “origin” story floating in my mind since Read more
It isn’t very tough to check plagiarism with all the tools available on the Internet, yet it never fails that some students will try to pass off an article from a website, or another paper they found online, as their own work. Wanna see me get tough in the classroom? Turn in a paper you didn’t write. It usually doesn’t take me more than the first sentence before I detect a voice and style that doesn’t fit with the student. Then I copy and paste the first sentence of a couple paragraphs into the appropriate search engine, and sure enough, I discover plagiarism. The next day, the student gets the paper back and is told to rewrite it if they want any credit. Read more
It’s four weeks into the school year, we’re just starting the first class novel, and I receive the parent phone call every English Language Arts teacher dreads:
I don’t want my kid reading that book.
In this case, the book is To Kill A Mockingbird and the parent doesn’t like the fact that the book contains a particular racial slur. I can understand his sensitivity, given that the particular slur was and is used against members of his ethnic group/race, and the school I teach at is not the most diverse, though his kid is not the only African-American or student of color in my class. Read more