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This reminds me of a student I had in a freshman rhetoric class at Iowa. She handed in a paper that was copied word for word from an essay in our class reader. When I confronted her, she denied copying the paper. I pulled out the reader and showed her the passage she'd copied. She looked at me and said, "I remembered it." Of course, now that I know the Helen Keller plagiarism story, it strikes me as entirely possible my student could have had a brain wonky enough to remember an essay in our reader word for word, while at the same time forgetting the fact that she was the reader of the essay, not the writer. Keller actually did, as a girl, remember something she'd read without remembering she'd read it, and iirc was subjected to some awful kangaroo trial (haven't tracked down mention of a trial, so take this with a grain of salt). I think the story is told in Roger Shattuck's book. Mark Twain wrote Helen a letter about the incident.
Now I'm remembering the time a student told me she hadn't done her paper because her grandmother had died. At Iowa everyone's grandmother was dying all the time; grandparents were dropping like flies. I didn't believe her, either, and it turned out that not only had her grandmother died for real, but the grandmother had been living with the family, practically raising the kids, and the whole household was in a state of profound mourning and traumatic collapse..... Yes, those early days of teaching with zero training and zero experience always go well!
-- CatherineJohnson - 23 Jul 2006 Back to: Main Page.