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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Summer send off

Summer is here.

And we all deserve some time off.

So, for the next couple of months, I will be posting once a week (more or less), instead of once a day (more or less).

But before I go, I have one more good thing to share.

Last week, my students completed their final exams.

One of my students plagiarized his exam.

I don't mean he borrowed some words or copied off a friend.

He cut and paste an entire essay from a website into his doc.

He also thought telling me he "just changed the font" would help him get over.

Aside from the fact the essay he stole uses words like "innocuous," it is also written by a girl who references wearing her skirt to school.

My reaction: That little #$#$ thinks I am an idiot.

I called him on his fail during the exam period.

I said "What does innocuous mean?"

"What is that?" he asked.

"A word in that essay you claim to have written" I retorted wryly.

All I got was lame excuses, but no fixes.

Finals ended on Thursday and I thought, "Well that's it, he failed."

Then a crazy thing happened.

Friday morning as I was finalizing grades, he showed up.

Granted, he thought he showed up to turn in his copy of the novel and avoid a ten dollar fine and turn in his summer school form (FINALLY).

I decided he showed up to write me an essay.

This is the crazy thing: he did.

First, we went outside and got his scooter...and locked in the custodial area.

Sly on my part, safer on his. That scooter belongs to his uncle and he was pretty desperate to make sure nothing happens to it.

We returned to my classroom.

I made him log on to the computer that is hooked up to my LCD projector, so I could "help him."

Translate "watch him work."

At first, he was stumped.

With some prompting, he finally admitted that he had too much to say and couldn't figure out where to start.

This I believe.

The kid has had a rough freshman year, mostly his own fault, really.

His decision making is chronically awful.

As is his taste in friends, impulse control, organization, and priorities.

So, we talked about what the most important things he had learned this year were.

He started to have an idea of what he wanted to focus on, but still couldn't seem to get off the blocks.

I suggested he start with the current moment.

Something along the lines of "Don't be like me and have to write an essay the day after school ends for the summer."

His face lit up and he graced me with his megawatt smile.

The kid is adorable. Dimples, white teeth, acne free skin, and twinkly eyes.

Darn him, that is half of how he gets away with so much crap, I am sure.

Nonetheless, my somewhat facetious comment got him writing.

With just a few additional prompts and some pointed editing notes, he got his butt in gear.

It took a couple of hours, but he did it.

He got a C too.

Best of all, he left smiling.

Think about that a second.

He came up to school the first day of vacation, got forced to write an essay, and he left smiling.

That is the best summer send off I could hope for.


  1. Love it! And love your dedication, too! Happy summer, Dr. Riina!

  2. Love it! And love your dedication, too! Happy summer, Dr. Riina!


What do you think? Does this good thing remind you of a story of your own? Have a question or comment? Please leave a comment!