24 September 2012


I'm in the middle of grading the first run of exams of the semester, and in two days' time I've discovered no fewer than three cheaters.  Whole passages were simply cut and pasted from online sources and passed off as the students' own work.

I always feel hurt when I find this out.  Do they think I'm really that stupid that I won't notice that the prose they are using is several orders of magnitude better than anything they could have ever come up with?  Don't they think I'll notice that they're dropping names and terms they simply would never have encountered otherwise?

Of course, it's not really about me, and when I calm down, I can see that clearly enough.  It's their own demons driving them to do this, their own falling victim to one or two or all of the three poisons.  I'm not sure what led them to this point, and I'm not sure how long they'll stay in this position, but it's not my problem to solve. 

I would love to tell them, though, that they don't have to do this.  It's not the end of the world if they fail at their Philosophy class, and it would serve them a lot better were they to fail it honestly (or at least withdraw) rather than cheat their way to a fake success.  It would speak more to their character were they to say they didn't pay attention, or didn't study, or simply didn't care (I can accept that!) rather than pretend they are better students than they really are.

But even that is not mine to do, and so I print out the pages they lifted from, staple them to their work, and write a nice big F at the top. 

May they be at ease.  May they find release.  May they, and all of us, attain Buddhahood!

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