Sunday, February 04, 2007

Homework Helper?

I got the following e-mail from someone in my AP calculus class:

Ms. POd,
I am sorry that I wanna tell you something very important that somebody in your class is selling take home quiz answers for money and I don;t think it's morally correct.
Needless to say, I was very upset about this. I only give them the take-home quizzes and tests to force them to take homework seriously. I give enough in class assignments that these take-homes don't have a major effect on their grades. I mark on the point system--every short answer is one point and long questions are nine points. At the end of the marking period I total every one's points and curve the grades accordingly, trying to keep things similar to the grading of the AP exam. It usually works well. I encourage the kids to work together. I encourage them to seek help from other teachers and me! I always answer their questions about the exam. I discourage them from paying high price tutors. Selling and buying answers undermines this whole process. I am going to discuss this with them tomorrow, but I haven't figured out exactly what else I am going to do. I hate to give up these take-home assignments because of a few bad kids even though they are lots of work for me. I have 70 papers with 8 questions each waiting to be marked and that doesn't count my other 3 classes. But, if they are not going to be useful, why should I bother? I guess I will have to wait and see the class' reaction when I bring this up.


ms. whatsit said...

It's always a disappointment when I believe that kids take the work I assign seriously, but then I learn that they are cheating. That behavior undermines my efforts to help them learn and become more enlightened human beings. How does your administrator support you in these kinds of situations? Or does s/he?

Pissedoffteacher said...

He probably would find a way to blame me. I don't tell him anything.

On a better note, I brought the issue up in class. The kids seemed shocked. At the end of the second period, one kid came up to me and said "I was the one who was selling the answers. But, it was a joke. I'm really sorry."

I believe him. He is a really good kid, probably one of the last ones I would have suspected. He was really upset about the whole thing since it was the idea of the kid who turned him in.

Alls well that ends well.

Anonymous said...

You're reminding me of the Little Rascals episode where the kid sells everyone answers out of a joke book. If your class was half as amusing, it was all worth it.

If not, maybe you'll get funnier kids next year.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Class must be entertained. It's a double period class so if we don't laugh, we'll cry.

The day my classes stop being fun is the day I retire.