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Friday, September 30, 2005

School sanctions

This is one post I didn't want to post but I have read somewhere that if one wants to become a writer, one should be honest if one wants to be effective in this field. Just look at the very famous writers. They were sincere with their writings and they shared what was to be shared. Now, I do not have any intentions of becoming a famous writer, but since I am doing this journal of some sorts for my children, and their children's children, I might as well do it right.

I did not want to post this because it involves my youngest son. You see, I had to suspend him for two days for a misdemeanor that he did in school. He was caught by his math teacher talking to a seatmate while a test was going on. Our handbook clearly states that talking during in a test shall be misconstrued as cheating. So, as soon as the violation report was given to me, I signed it and implemented it according to the handbook. I have told my children before I accepted this position that once they have been complained of any ill-doing, there won't be any investigation anymore but has to be addressed and be giving its full sanction. Tough job but I have to do it.

This leads me to another point. A teacher came to me once to say that a student has copied another student's assignment. The teacher was in a dilemma as to what offense has been committed. Should it be cheating? The handbook says cheating is committed during an exam. Should it be plagiarism? No, because it was not a project or a research paper the student was claiming as his own. It was an assignment. You see, assignments are done at home and the child can seek help anywhere it can be had. For me, an assignment's purpose is to aid the understanding of a lesson. Whether it be as a prelude to the lesson so that the following day, the student would have an idea of what is going to be tackled in class or it could be a review of some sorts or an exercise that was supposedly learned in class. At any rate, it is not similar to a test which aims to evaluate one's understanding of a particular lesson.

Sometimes, I do not go for the traditional way of thinking. As eccentric as it may sound, I sometimes go for different ways to handle a specific problem. It is not uncommon for me to get into trouble, mind you. But that's who I am. Anyway, considering the circumstances, I told the teacher that if it was I who was in that predicament, what I would do was to call the parent just to inform that such a thing happened, give the child a zero for the assignment and give him a similar homework (which was not to be graded anymore) if only to make him understand the concept being taught by that particular assignment. Probably a harder one since I would be working on the premise that the lesson to be learned has indeed been learned already. To my mind, this is a better sanction than issuing a violation and following the traditional sanctions prescribed by the handbook. After all, the end product should be a lesson learned from the endeavor.

Unfortunately, the teacher followed a different route. Oh well, it was by the book, so no problem. What would you have done? Was my idea so far-fetched?

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Blogger BatJay said...

boy, that's tough - disciplining your own child at school. i don't know how you handled it but if it were me, i wouldn't know what to do. it's a good thing that you set the rules for you and your kids right at the start. that at least makes it easier for you.

12:22 PM  
Blogger sophie's fair said...

was your idea unorthodox? yes, it was. was it wrong? no, not at all. the term "by the book" is actually a pet peeve for me. creative people are usually the ones that go beyond the norms of society. i have no prob with rules (whatever they be), but if the way to see the world is either black or white, well, to me it's an act of blatant bigotry. i'm very glad u never join the party of inflexibles :) there's just too many cliches around us.
your son's lucky to have a father like u and i hope he'd see this ;)
hugs, sophie

3:40 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

wow... but I like the provisions you suggested with your colleague. it's much better that way.

I copied an assignment when I was in high school. I forgot about it last night, so I copied my friend's work during recess because there was a meeting thereafter. When I came back to class, everyone looked at me slyly as if they knew of a secret, even the teacher was eyeing me for reasons I can't infer. My seatmate informed me na lang that when the papers were passed, my teacher wondered why my friend passed two assignments, with one in my handwriting. So, she knew then that I copied even the name of my friend. Kabobohan!

Punishment: Laughs followed by a sarcastic reprimand in the line of "Kung kokopya ka man lang, siguraduhin hindi pati ang pangalan!"... and that was it. :)

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Morisot said...

I've had my fair share of cheating, who hasn't? Thank goodness I've never been caught though. I do however think what you did was good, I mean there really would be no other way to settle it.

But on my opinion, the teacher was just pushing your buttons.

10:15 PM  
Blogger cathcath said...

you have my thumb's up for approval.

i may request you again for permission to include this in Journey of the Soul.

12:05 AM  
Blogger TinTin said...

Oh wow, suspend your own son? That is tough.

The student who copied the assignment, I think your way would have been more appropriate.

1:20 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Batjay Someone's got to do it. I think it has paid off. He's behaving much properly now and geting higher grades, i think.

sophie I have, for a number of times, been unorthodox in my view of the world. I'm glad you share it with me. I do not like the idea of being just the average kind of guy when it comes to certain things. Should I say, I have my own eccentricities, too. :-)

julsitos hey, it's been a while man. Oo nga naman, wag mong kopyahin pati pangalan. Doctor ka na ba? What do you intend to specialize in?

Morisot Oh yes, who hasn't. But I rather my son pay for it now than getting away with it. The consequences get costlier when not checked at an early age. Still no link to your blog, eh? Shy? haha Hope not.

Cathy It will be my honor. Thanks

Tin Maybe people aren't ready for that yet. haha Thanks for the vote of confidence.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

hi tito rolly! yup... im studying for the boards. I figure the three month study period (may-aug) won't be adequate. ang hirap! huhuhu.

10:03 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Julsitos Di bale, maganda ang return of investment nyan. Wag ka lang makakalimot ha. At yung discount ko, hehe

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Mickey said...

hindi po sa pinag mamalaki ko pero na suspend din ako dati at mas malala pa sa kaso ng brother ko. ang gusto kong sabihin, matapos ang mangyari saakin nun masasabi kong malaki ang pinag bago ko. sana lang ay mag bago na si bro. ehehehe

tungkol naman dun sa isa. ikaw na bahala diyan dad. wala na akong alam sa mga bagay na tulad niyan e. basta lagi mo na lang tandaan na mag ingat ka. yun lang. XD

10:01 PM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

Tito Rolly, I beg to disagree about applying the appropriate sanction to your son without any prior investigation. I know you are in a delicate, difficult situation and the truth is, I admire you for being tough (I don't know what I would have done). Nonetheless, I can't help but think about due process. My take is that whether he is your son or someone else, they all deserve due process. Perhaps you could have asked an independent body to investigate the matter. Anyway, that's just my personal opinion. Father knows best. Perhaps your way was the best way of dispelling any suspicions of bias.

Let me tell you now about a student of mine who was a candidate for summa cum laude. They were asked to prepare a reaction paper about a talk that was given in school. He admitted to me later that he showed his paper to two of his friends who, unknown to him, copied his paper in toto. I had no choice but to report the incident when I caught them. I asked for an investigation. The discipline committee found the 3 guilty of cheating - in our school, the sanction was expulsion but since the students were graduating, they chose suspension. They suspended my student 10 days (and I learned later that they revoked his scholarship) and the two others who plagiarized his work, 7 days each. The two came to me and confessed that my student had no knowledge that they copied his work. I investigated and found out that the student was not called to defend himself after the preliminary investigation (there was supposed to be another investigation this time in the presence of parents and the VP for Student Affairs). In other words, there was no due process. I fought to have the student's scholarship reinstated but the student chose not to fight anymore. That broke my heart but that was an incident that made me more vigilant in safeguarding my students' right to due process.
I'm sorry for the long story, Tito Rolly but your post reminded me of this incident. (My student graduated summa and was later no. 3 in the CPA board exams. He is now in Boston.)

7:12 PM  
Blogger Pinoy Teachers Network said...

TITO ROLLY, what matters most is that you make a difference in the lives of your students and children...


9:45 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Mickey Ah oo nga. Nuong Grade 7 ka pa. And we were all amazed at how you matured after that.

Bugsy Actually, if any of my children will get into real serious trouble, I will let my partner, the one who is handling the Juniors and Seniors, take over. But this time, okay pa siya. It's a simple cheating case. Let him learn his lesson. So far, it worked, na-aaral na siya on his own now. All's well that ends well, I guess.

5:24 AM  

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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