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View Full Version : Kids - always trying to pull a fast one



ishtar'sgate
10-27-2008, 02:18 AM
Gotta hand it to kids. They're always looking for shortcuts.
My novel is on high school reading programs so they use my website to gather information for book reports. A few days ago 'anonymous' asked if I'd provide them with a list of ALL the characters, big and small, with a description of each. I suggested that 'anonymous' have a notebook beside them when they read the book. By the end of the book they'd have the information they needed. 'Anonymous' took offense at my suggestion, said "thanks for helping me fail" and punctuated their response with a raspberry!
Ever have that happen to you?

Clair Dickson
10-27-2008, 02:34 AM
I teach high school kids, so I get a lot of requests (demands) for "help" passing an assignment/ course/ etc. I just smile and tell them no.

I do hope you're not taking the kid's response personally. You're not helping her fail-- she did that all on her own. She will have to learn that she needs to do the work. I would have responded that she clearly didn't need any help failing, she was doing such a fine job of it on her own. But I have a sharp tongue.

They will try shortcuts because they want to see if it works. Sometimes, it does. Gotta give them credit for trying, and realize that clearly, somewhere along the way, some of these kids did not learn the value of hard work and/ or integrity.

ishtar'sgate
10-27-2008, 06:44 AM
Oh no, I didn't take it personally. I'm sure she was just frustrated that she couldn't get me to do her work. My husband thought I should let her have it but he's a pretty direct kind of guy. I admire teachers. They really have their hands full these days. Come to think of it they had their hands full when I was in school. I think a lot of kids don't consider teachers as real people with real feelings who care about their profession. I know I didn't until it was brought to my attention in ninth grade. One of my teachers was a real softhearted woman and we kids tried her patience horribly and didn't do our homework or pay attention in class. I happened to walk by the music room one evening. It had a glass door and I could see inside. There was my teacher sitting at the desk crying over our test papers. I was so ashamed of myself I never fooled around or took my education for granted again.

Mac H.
10-27-2008, 12:49 PM
There was a great blog where someone puts deliberately false (but quite amusing) info as cheat sheets for student book assignments.

So it might have a summary for 'To Kill a Mockingbird' where it explains that Atticus lost the case and ended up selling toothbrushes door-to-door.

They had one on 'Lord of the Rings' ... and the sad thing was that an allegedly professional film reviewer used it as a guide to what happened in the film ...

I wish I knew what the link was ...

Mac

NeuroFizz
10-27-2008, 04:24 PM
...and you really think this is a trait only owned by kids? I know many adults who spend most of their energy looking to "Cliff Notes" their way through life (complete with raspberries when they are called on it).

Sassee
10-27-2008, 06:06 PM
...and you really think this is a trait only owned by kids? I know many adults who spend most of their energy looking to "Cliff Notes" their way through life (complete with raspberries when they are called on it).

QFT.

This shortcut phenomenon doesn't just apply to teenagers (though they are generally caught more often than adults). When I was in high school I looked for all the shortcuts, found them, and exploited them.

Of course, now I realize how stupid I was being and have had a harder time with damn near any activity because I'm usually trying to find a shortcut that isn't there. I also have motivation issues because of it (I mean, if the shortcuts were abundant, what need did I have to do things like work ahead or start a project early?).

Kudos to you for not giving that girl any summaries. I wish someone would have done that to me when I was younger.

tehuti88
10-27-2008, 06:23 PM
I had to start putting disclaimers on my sites since it seemed now and then people were trying to use my fictional, completely made-up myths and stories in order to better understand Egyptian mythology. Eegh! :o

And just because I have a site with photos of Mackinac Island doesn't mean I can look up your ancestors or do genealogy research for you, or even recommend the best hotels and restaurants, thankyouverymuch. That's what the rest of the Internet is for. I just, well, write fictional stories and take pictures!

I felt very sad when I came across a really basic Ojibwa culture site once--it was basically a good, if summarized, account of their history and such--and almost all the replies posted were things like, "OMG thank you for this site, I found all the info I needed for my homework here!!" Cripes, people, can't you be bothered to check out at least three or four sites before proclaiming your research "done"? Is that all the effort that goes into homework nowadays? When I did reports in school, before the Internet, I did have to use more than ONE book only, plus I had to paraphrase and summarize and put my own thought into it. I get the feeling much of these reports will be directly "quoted" from the sites in question, word for word. :(

Toothpaste
10-27-2008, 08:06 PM
I honestly don't know how teachers do it now a days with the whole existence of the internet. I mean it was around when I was a teenager, but just not this prevalent. Also cell phones. It's mind boggling.

mrockwell
10-28-2008, 12:02 AM
My son (14 today!) tries to pull that on me occasionally when I'm helping him with his homework but won't spell out or define certain words for him -- that's what dictionaries are for, after all. Or if I won't actually DO the problem for him, but only tell him what formulas he needs to do it himself. He'll say, "Thanks for making me flunk." I used to get mad, but now I just smile and say "You're welcome." He eventually does look it up or do it himself and comes to me and apologizes for being a butthead. Probably why he's still alive. ;)

-- Marcy

SPMiller
10-28-2008, 12:15 AM
I got quite the reputation in my last year of university for being completely unwilling to help anyone with anything, up to and including a wholesale refusal to work on any group projects. I swore an oath that I would never again pull anyone else's weight. So far, so good.

Maryn
10-28-2008, 12:23 AM
There was a great blog where someone puts deliberately false (but quite amusing) info as cheat sheets for student book assignments.

So it might have a summary for 'To Kill a Mockingbird' where it explains that Atticus lost the case and ended up selling toothbrushes door-to-door.

They had one on 'Lord of the Rings' ... and the sad thing was that an allegedly professional film reviewer used it as a guide to what happened in the film ...

I wish I knew what the link was ...

MacI waste time at the Books and Authors board at Yahoo Answers (I know, I know, get offline and write!) spreading misinformation about assigned books which clearly have not been so much as opened. The trick is to give enough correct information that the falsehood slips by unnoticed. Boo Radley is the child of an interracial couple. George stays with Lenny because he's gay, but never acts on it. Annie Sullivan married Captain Keller, who left her when she became blind.

It's really a lot of fun, although I do get reported now and then.

Maryn, who believes students should do the damned reading

MagicMan
10-28-2008, 12:44 AM
I find that happens too often on technical forums. I end up answering a post, then with the next question, realize this is an assignment. I usually post, "Oh, this is an assignment?" and leave it at that. The other professionals clue in quick.

Smiles
Bob

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:36 AM
...and you really think this is a trait only owned by kids? I know many adults who spend most of their energy looking to "Cliff Notes" their way through life (complete with raspberries when they are called on it).
Oh I know adults do it too and I bet they learned to do it in school. The easy way out is unfortunately easy, and most of us aren't all that enamored with hard work.

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:41 AM
QFT.

I wish someone would have done that to me when I was younger.
Now if only kids would learn from the experience of others. They never seem to, though.

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:43 AM
I had to start putting disclaimers on my sites since it seemed now and then people were trying to use my fictional, completely made-up myths and stories in order to better understand Egyptian mythology. Eegh! :o


Imagine how confused their history teachers would be.

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:44 AM
Probably why he's still alive. ;)

-- Marcy
Ah yes, self-preservation!

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:49 AM
I got quite the reputation in my last year of university for being completely unwilling to help anyone with anything, up to and including a wholesale refusal to work on any group projects. I swore an oath that I would never again pull anyone else's weight. So far, so good.
My son always ended up pulling most of the load on university group projects too. He's pretty easy going though and just shrugged it off. I, on the other hand, was pretty indignant.:rant:

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 02:55 AM
Maryn - that DOES sound like fun!
MagicMan - Don't you hate doing someone else's work?

The Lonely One
10-28-2008, 03:14 AM
I've had a somewhat mixed opinion in the past on reading in public schools.

I guess it depends on the age of the kids, but here's my outlook: no one will care about all the hard work you put into your book as much as you do (however, asking you to help them cheat through it is quite over the top...not to mention insulting).

I've often felt no one should be forced to read a fiction book they didn't enjoy reading (and that's not a personal jab, some kids just don't like reading and would rather spend their time doing other things, which I don't see anything wrong with).

However, there has been more than one occasion where I've been forced to read a book I hated in high school or college (or, yes, got cliff notes on) and later went back to read and love. I really thank those teachers/profs for introducing me to those works. Beloved and the Haunting of Hill House come to mind pretty quickly.

So, I've proven myself wrong a few times.

My main point is that, IMHO, literature is something to be enjoyed, not dissected. Though I still remember the discussions on "what the book really meant" according to the teachers, I put allll of that out of mind when I went back to those pieces. Consequently, I enjoyed them more.

BTW which book is this you're speaking of, if that isn't being too nosy?
I'm actually looking for a book to read right now.

Clair Dickson
10-28-2008, 03:34 AM
If people didn't look for short cuts, there'd be less people in the clutches of PublishAmerica... (or similar)

The Lonely One-- Sometimes, students read a book and realize it wasn't so bad afterall. Or they might get something out of the book. Studying isn't all about enjoyment. I have a lot of a students in my alternative high school classes who bitch and moan about reading Raymond Chandler but end up liking the book. Should I force them to try it? Or let them go, well, with my kids it's 'go smoke pot.' (I am being serious-- most of my students admit to it.) Since I teach English, I also teach them, in bits and pieces, how to THINK about what they're reading, and how to interpret context clues, and, sometimes, to open themselves to new ideas. I do NOT however teach them what the book "really means" but rather to come up with their own meaning and interpretation. I help them, because some get stuck, but it's their opinion. Critical thinking is a skill.

Sometimes, if we try something we didn't think we'd like, we end up finding something we enjoy. And stepping out of our comfort zone is important to do from time to time.

Literature is meant to be enjoyed, but SCHOOL is meant to be a time of learning. Some teachers go overboard, but that doesn't mean English should be "just read something and enjoy it." IMNHO =)

ishtar'sgate
10-28-2008, 04:49 AM
I've often felt no one should be forced to read a fiction book they didn't enjoy reading (and that's not a personal jab, some kids just don't like reading and would rather spend their time doing other things, which I don't see anything wrong with).


BTW which book is this you're speaking of, if that isn't being too nosy?
I'm actually looking for a book to read right now.
I agree. I didn't like being forced to read specific books either but I believe these kids have a choice. They simply have to choose something to read as part of the high school Literature curriculum.
The novel is The First Vial. You can find it on Amazon.com.

Phaeal
10-28-2008, 04:32 PM
I could never teach. This kind of dullness would drive me nuts. Or nutsier. ;)

Cheating is far from new, but the Internet does seem to make it a lot easier. Google, cut and paste, voila, a report. If I did teach, I think I'd have the students do all their writing in class, by hand, with all their electronics held hostage in the front of the room. I can just imagine the howling. Sadly, a lot of it would be coming from the parents.

The Lonely One
10-28-2008, 07:12 PM
Clair -- we need more teachers like you. If I had you in school, you'd probably be one who dragged me kicking and screaming through a book that I later enjoyed.

Ishtar (excuse spelling) -- ah, I see your point. It's definitely overboard. P.S. I might order the book through my local mom/pop this weekend. Whaddya think?

mario_c
11-01-2008, 07:57 PM
First of all, good job making the list.

I would have said to little miss "thanks for helping me fail": No YOU helped yourself fail because you're too dumb to skim a book and write down highlights. Maybe you should download the audiobook for your iPod?
Sorry, I'm particularly mad over the high school part. More like Fourth grade in mentality. Aren't we special in this society, so entitled? Not for long...

Mr. Anonymous
11-01-2008, 08:32 PM
Well, and this is coming from a kid who was in high school only last year, you guys really have got to understand that there's a hell of a lot of BS in school. Dunno if there's more or less nowadays, but homework is often times just busy work, and the same goes for the vast majority of projects. I can't tell you how many assignments I had over my six years of middle + high school education that required me to look up something in a book, and then copy it over onto the hw sheet. I mean, once in a while, as a study guide for a test or something, I can understand. All the time though?

As an AP/Honors kid, I had a much better time of it, I think, but it's still a reality. I'm not saying that what a lot of kids resort to is right, but I think I can see why they'd do it nonetheless. In 7th and 8th (and in 9th + 10th in classes I didn't like) I slacked my way through everything, didn't do homework, didn't study for tests, because it seemed like everyone else wasn't doing anything and you know what? I still came out with, in most cases, mid to high Bs (Ironically, this wasn't in regulars classes. This was in HONORS). I SHOULD have failed, let's say, The New York State Exam in Earth Science, as I hadn't opened the book the entire year. I'd hardly done anything in the class the entire year. Instead I got an 80. I should have failed Physics, considering that
1) I never opened the book the entire year.

2) Never studied for ANY test, much less the New York State one.

3) We had this homework through a site called "web assign" every week. I did what I could, and then I turned it over to my dad most of the times and he'd finish it for me. (And sometimes he'd have trouble. And he's an ENGINEER.) Why? Because it was a regulars class, and they were giving us problems that the TEACHER spent two full periods (1 and a half hours on) and he still didn't get the right answer himself. He just sort of said, "you guys see where I'm going with this." The BEST teacher in the entire physics department was ironically mine, and it was his FIRST year.

My point being, there's a major problem with our education system if a kid can get an 80 in a New York State Exam (5 points away from "Mastery") without (literally) doing a damn thing the entire year. And then there's the absurd emphasis on getting this sheet signed, getting that sheet signed, get this test signed, etc etc etc.

Then there's the issue of overzealous parents that too often push their kids into classes they really shouldn't be in. For instance, I was a mid to high B student in my Honors Math Classes from 7th to 9th grade. Yea, a lot of times I didn't do the homework, but you know why? Because the teachers had a habit of going around the room and calling on people to give out answers. And I'd rather have not done hw than do it and call out the wrong answer. A lot of times I felt like the class was going by too fast and nobody asked any questions (an interesting phenomenon I observed in Honors classes) even though a lot of people didn't "get it." I remember the resident genius of my 9th grade class told me himself that the teacher wasn't that great and he had to teach himself everything.

So, after MUCH bickering and fighting with my parents, I finally dropped down to Regulars Math for 10th grade. And guess what? I was the best student. lol. The pace was more deliberate, people actually asked questions, etc. And a lot of the teachers that my friends in HONORS classes complained about, I actually had no issue with when I had them for Regulars.

And the teachers are (I'm guessing) so overburdened that they don't really care that the individual student isn't doing well. I've been the one to get an 80 on the Earth Science Regents, but I'm also the one who got a 96 on the Chemistry State Exam and a 5/5 on my Environmental Science AP. Had the teachers maybe taken me aside, and talked to me, sincerely, about my habit of DOING NOTHING then maybe I could have changed earlier. But that didn't happen.

Anyway, I'm so glad I'm in college now. Just thinking about school makes me anxious...

/rant

So year. There's always two sides to the same story.

I did always like English and Social Studies though (even though I still never studied until around 10th grade!) I remember in 7th grade, I handed in a report that was very clearly a first draft, off the top of your head sort of thing. Didn't even go back to fix typos. There were some places were I had the same sentence or part of a sentence repeated two times in a row, there were pages missing and one page was actually stapled UPSIDE DOWN (don't know how I managed that.) And I got an 80 back with a comment, "I see the potential for future fine writing here." Which was kind of nice.

HeronW
11-01-2008, 08:57 PM
I probably made a few enemies in school when asked, 'will you let me copy from you' and I replied, 'You may be dumb enough to ask but I'm not dumb enough to let you.'