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You Must Have The Time Code Written On Your Butt, Like Fry From “Futurama”!

, , , | Learning | October 28, 2022

When my husband was in college, he had to write some sort of Java program. One of his classmates asked if he could copy my husband’s work. 

Husband: “Sure. Just change it a bit so they don’t see it as a direct copy.”

Of course, that student shared it with his friends, and soon, the entire class had copied my husband’s homework, changing it all slightly. The teacher didn’t notice it. Everyone passed. 

Two years later, my husband was called to that same teacher’s office. He spotted a boy in the same room, looking nervous. 

Teacher: “Thank you for joining us. Could you please explain this?”

The teacher showed him two Java programs… and they were identical. It was my husband’s coursework. 

Teacher: “[Husband], I’m very disappointed in you. How could you plagiarize [Boy]’s work?”

Husband: “Eh… what?”

Teacher: “[Boy] told me he wrote this program. I expected better of you. Again: why did you plagiarize [Boy]’s work?”

Husband: “I… I wrote this two years ago.” *Turns to the boy* “Which class are you in?”

Boy: “Eh… Class 1.”

This was his first year at the college; he was a freshman.

Husband: “[Teacher], are you saying I copied his work two years before he—”

Teacher: “[Husband], plagiarism is taken very seriously here. But I am willing to let you redeem yourself. Either you two write down a new code, right here, right now, or this will be passed on to the plagiarism commission.”

[Husband] was baffled; did this teacher not understand how plagiarism and the passing of time worked? Dumbfounded, he accepted the challenge to write a new code on the spot. Since he was in his third year, this was easy for him. 

He did notice [Boy] struggling. Halfway through the challenge, the teacher was called away, and my husband could finally ask how the boy had gotten the code. It turned out that he had gotten it from his sister, who was a second-year. She had gotten it from a friend, who was a third-year: [Husband]’s classmate. It turned out that the code was shared among many students, but this boy made one mistake: he didn’t change anything in the code, so it showed up in the plagiarism software. 

However, the fact that my husband was accused of plagiarism and not this kid pissed him off. He lost all respect for the teacher and slightly angled his screen toward the boy. 

Husband: “Don’t forget to change some of the code this time.”

When the teacher returned, he didn’t notice anything; the boy changed enough code this time and both were cleared of plagiarism. The teacher did promise to double-check my husband’s code from now on. Yes, he was still convinced my husband was the one who copied from someone two years his junior, two years before the boy enrolled. 

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t keep in touch with anyone from that college, but he sometimes wonders if that assignment still exists and if his code is still passed around. Considering it was about fifteen years ago, I doubt it, but we still joke about how my husband is a time traveler.

Trial By (Wish He Would Be) Fire(d)

, , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: DataNerd1011 | October 22, 2022

This happened about ten years ago at my (American) university. I enrolled in a class that two friends also happened to enroll in — an elective for our major. The professor told us straight off the bat that our entire grade would be based on two exams that would be open-book, and we could collaborate with anyone else in the class, as long as we cited that we did so. Additionally, it was the kind of exam where you could submit it as many times as you wanted before the deadline. [Professor]’s rule, though, was that he’d grade easiest on the first try and much tougher with each subsequent try. Fair enough.

Now, some background on this professor. I’m not defending him, but I do think this context is important. He immigrated to the States from another country where women are seen as inferior, and the expectations of women are to be meek and quiet — maybe less so nowadays, but definitely more so when he was growing up.

In class one day, a female student challenged the professor. He argued back, she admitted he had made a good point, and he said to her:

Professor: “You are very agreeable. You’d make a great wife.”

At this point, I probably should have reported him for sexism. However, we all apparently let it slide. He was in his late sixties and he had tenure, so I think we all brushed it aside as harmless; hindsight is twenty-twenty. I am female, by the way.

Fast forward a few weeks into the semester, and the first exam was given to us. My male friend and I did the test together. We submitted it on the same day. At the bottom of my test, I wrote, “Worked with [Male Friend],” because I wanted to follow [Professor]’s rules.

A few days later, we all got our first attempt at the test back. [Male Friend] scored the equivalent of about a C. (Remember, he had further chances to improve.)

My test had a big fat zero at the top with the words “CHEATER” written on it. I was shocked. I obviously stayed after class and asked why this was written on my test, and [Professor] started screaming at me.

Professor: “I HATE LIARS! I HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU! YOU ARE SCUM! YOU ARE A LIAR!”

I could not believe what I was hearing. I was sobbing. explaining that he SAID (and it was in the syllabus) that we could work with other students.

Me: “You said — and it was in the syllabus — that we could work with other students! Where did I cheat?!”

[Professor] grabbed my paper and underlined the first five words of ONE question where both [Male Friend] and I had started off the paragraph saying something like, “The reason that we are seeing these results is…” And that was it.

Me: “Why do you think I cheated and not [Male Friend]?”

But [Professor] would not listen to me. He just continued to insult me until I left.

My university was SUPER strict about plagiarism and cheating. We got emails around once a week about the Honor Council. All the emails said that anyone caught cheating would be reported to the Honor Council and sit trial. So, I went to their office and reported myself. They were all confused.

Council Member: “Wait. You’re reporting yourself? Not the professor?”

Me: *Calmly* “I was accused and given a zero without any evidence, so I want to sit trial.”

Council Member: *Incredulously* “No student has ever asked for a trial!”

But I was following the University rules and I was confident I would win.

Needless to say, [Professor] was not happy. He pulled me aside after the next class and screamed at me yet again.

Professor: “These are my rules in my class, and I decide the grades, not the Honor Council!”

Me: “That’s not the university’s policy. If you thought I was cheating, you should have gone to them. Since you didn’t, I did.”

He was livid and tried to bully me to back down, but I didn’t.

We had the trial, and I obviously won. At the end of the semester, I organized a meeting with the Dean of the school and filed a formal sexism complaint against [Professor]. The Dean, also incredulous, promised to launch a formal investigation into this professor and would be meeting with him to discuss.

I’m sure that nothing happened besides a slap on the wrist, but even a slap on the wrist was worth it.

Stick To Grammary Rather Than Mammaries

, , , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2022

In my seventh-grade grammar class, I had an assignment to compare and contrast two animals; I chose whales and dogs.

Teacher: “You did the comparing and contrasting well, but I said two animals. Whales aren’t animals.”

Me: “How are they not animals?”

Teacher: “Only mammals are animals.”

Me: “But… whales are mammals.”

Teacher: “What?”

Me: “They breathe air, they nurse their young, they’re warm-blooded, and they even have a little bit of hair. And even if they were fish, fish are animals. And reptiles, and birds, and amphibians, and invertebrates.”

Teacher: “Well, I’ll have to talk to [Science Teacher]. The assignment is fine.”

I’m glad she taught grammar, not science, and that she was willing to learn.

His Eyesight Rocks… Or Does It?

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 6, 2022

I work at a college. The school has just opened a new parking lot.

Biology Professor: “I decided to park in the new lot, and get this: they left a huge rock right next to the entrance. I almost swiped it when I pulled in. I’m going to ask facilities to remove it.”

After lunch:

Biology Professor: “Well, I went out for lunch, and the rock was already gone! Guess I’m not the only one who noticed. Honestly, I should have more faith in [School].”

A little later, a student bursts into the office.

Student: “Hey, [Biology Professor]! Know anything about snapping turtles? There’s a huge one wandering around the new lot and security doesn’t know how to make it move!”

After the turtle has been evicted:

Biology Professor: “I just put two and two together. The rock that wasn’t there… The snapping turtle… I don’t have faith in [School] anymore.”

Me: “You’re the one who thought it was a rock!”

Biology Professor: “Fine. I also don’t have faith in my optometrist.”

“West Virginia Board of Education V. Barnette” Would Like A Word

, , , , , , , | Learning | September 28, 2022

I moved from Australia to Washington DC for work for a year with my wife and thirteen-year-old son. We are proud Australians, and we try to keep a connection to home; I still watch Aussie Rules football and cricket, and I LOVE vegemite and always have it on hand.

We enrolled my son in the local public school and sent him for his first day. When I came home that night, I asked him:

Me: “How was your day, [Son]?”

Son: “I got in trouble for not pledging allegiance to the flag. I was put on a week of lunchtime detentions.”

I went to the school the next morning and spoke with the principal, who then called the teacher in. This teacher had a major attitude and was throwing out lines such as, “I did not fight for this country for the flag to be disrespected,” and something about “attitude problems”.

When I had a chance, I asked:

Me: “Would you pledge allegiance to the Australian flag?”

Teacher: “Of course not.”

Me: “That’s what you’re trying to make my son do — pledge to a flag he has no connection to.”

This teacher would not budge.

Teacher: “Every time [Son] refuses to pledge, he will get a week of lunch detentions.”

[Son] ended up changing classes, and his new teacher was a sweet older teacher who even had my son do a presentation about Australia and share vegemite sandwiches and fairy bread with the class.