A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, February 08, 2008

Borrowing: yes. Sharing: yes. Stealing: NO.

I was walking down the hallway after inexplicably running out of copies of an activity I was doing in my US history classes. I had had to send a kid to make copies for my last period class, even though I KNOW darn well I ran off enough. Up walks a colleague we'll call... Adlai Stevenson.

Adlai: "Hey, Ms. Cornelius! Have you seen this cool activity on summarizing? It's really great!"

Me: "Why, yes. I'm glad you think that activity is cool... because it's MINE. I wrote it."

Adlai: "Uh... oh. Really? Well, good job there!"

And that would be how I ended up being 25 copies short for my own students. I mean, I would have been only slightly cheesed off if he'd just taken one, but--

Apparently my photocopies were like Pringles-- you can't eat just one. He took an entire class-sized stack of my copies. He didn't just take my activity and shamelessly pass it off as his own without so much as a by-your-leave, he caused me to have a gap in my instruction while I questioned my sanity, not to mention my ability to count, as he was too lazy even to make his own darn copies. I now know why he spends so much time hanging out in the copying room: he's running a trot line for lesson plans.

Now THAT'S gall.

So I guess I have to stand guard over my copies each time I make them. Right. Like I have time for that.

Oh, and did I mention-- I swear upon my honor-- that Mr. Stevenson is currently looking for a job in administration?

I guess I should be glad-- last year a several teachers of freshmen "borrowed" a lesson I made up on World War I, and then when I used it with the same kids unknowingly, they recognized it. THAT kind of blew that lesson's effectiveness.

Adlai's lucky I was as amused by the irony of the situation as I was annoyed, or I might have just karate-chopped him in the trachea.

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At 2/8/08, 7:38 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Good gracious you work with some losers....and that creature in administration makes me shudder. He's just the type to throw people under the bus to save his own hide...or to take credit for something good.

At 2/8/08, 7:58 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

It's shit like this that makes me DEARLY wish that karma is real...

At 2/8/08, 8:40 PM, Anonymous La Maestra said...

I can't believe this--that's so ridiculous that I can't even find the right words to express my disgust.

That said, we have a shared network folder for our department, and I see my stuff floating around all the time. I find it amusing, but I also wonder why, in 6 years at this school, I've given out so much that is used now, yet I can count on one hand the number of lessons/activities I've taken and used from other teachers? Heh.

I do get a kick out of them using my stuff, though. But I'd be PISSED if they stole MY copies off my copier.

At 2/9/08, 9:44 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Way back in ancient times I taught a couple of sections of American History and at various times during the year I planned to show a movie to the class. This was in the days when you booked the film from the central office library who then delivered it to the school (I said ancient, didn't I :-).

I wanted this to be more than just time watching for the kids, however, so I would carefully plan several activities I wanted the students to do with the material from the film after they had seen it.

I also had a colleague who would regularly make the rounds of others in the department to see what movies we had booked that week so he could borrow them as filler in his class. He would also "borrow" my activities, most likely to use as even more filler for his students.

As a beginning teacher I was either too scared or too stupid to just tell him to write his own stuff, but that's what I wished I'd done.

At 2/9/08, 11:15 AM, OpenID jd2718 said...

Yes, yes, yes.

But, let me ask. Why did the same activity fit with your class as with freshmen?

WWI in world history and in US history would look fairly different, no?

Jonathan (just a math teacher, so I could be way off)

At 2/9/08, 11:26 AM, Blogger M-Dawg said...

Totally feel your pain!

At my first school, we didn't have enough classrooms for all the teachers so my room was used by another history teacher during my planning and duty periods. One day I went into the classroom to grab my grade book. The teacher that used my room was up in the front explaining a project to the kids that sounded like a project that I just gave out to my kids a few days prior. He told them how he came up with this great project all on his own! I stood there for my mouth open! Gets even better - he used White Out to remove my name off the top of the sheet and handwrote in his own name! He finally realized that I was standing there and just smirked at me! I was so pissed!

I'm a teacher that enjoys sharing with colleagues but when he blantly claimed the project as his own, there is no sharing involved. I found out that he used to go through my desk and find activities and projects all the time. What is it about asking first?

Oh, this is the same guy that taught his students that Galileo was executed! Nice!

And, good-bye to Mr. Stevenson! Just what a school needs: a stealing administrator?

At 2/9/08, 2:49 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Listen, I have no problem with sharing at all, (I mean, where would I be without material and lessons shared by generous veterans over the years?) but I find it odd that the same guys who are the most dismissive of me as a person and a teacher are the ones stealing my stuff.

jonathan- it was on the 14 Points, and that's in both curricula, but actually, my activity was on developing a desperately needed skill--summarizing-- and so off they went. I guess on the bright side they no longer needed to learn this skill, because of course they ALL learned the lesson, right? Isn't that how it works?

Not to mention leave me short for my last class of the day because they just take my copies, the slugs.

At 2/10/08, 2:47 PM, Blogger MommyProf said...

That has happened to me several times, the kicker being finding a colleague in a class that precedes mine in the curriculum taking whole assignments, materials and ultimately, a test. I no longer share anything with anyone.

At 2/10/08, 6:36 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

Sharing is Great ! Stealing from someones copies ( or anything else), is, among other things, unprofessional, low class, slimy, underhanded, and a few other choice adjectives. Hopefully, "karma" will catch up to your colleague with the sticky fingers.

I don't recall this ever happening to me, but I usually stand watch over my copies when I make them. Then again, at my school, there is not much demand for "hot" social studies materials and more so each year, we are being told to use the stuff from the textbook publisher rather than stuff we create.

At 2/10/08, 8:18 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

I am blown away by this man's unmitigated gall. I steal from a colleague- but I always tell her that I've nicked one of her quizzes or worksheets- and I use it for the same level, so as not to have students repeat the same material. Plus, we've given each other permission to steal.
It's too irritating to be flattered, I suppose. It sounds like he's lazy, more than anything.

At 2/11/08, 7:31 AM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I would love to have witnessed that karate chop!

At 2/11/08, 9:23 AM, Blogger Aisby said...

You can make your OWN copies??? We have the Copy Nazi for that. We have to put in our copies at least 24 hours in advance, but even then, they're often still not done on time.

At 2/14/08, 5:52 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Nonono-- we can't make our own copies. He stands there and waits for the copies to come steaming off the machine, and the nice ladies are too busy to notice.

Making our own copies? What a dream.... Then he would never steal again.

At 2/14/08, 5:52 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Nonono-- we can't make our own copies. He stands there and waits for the copies to come steaming off the machine, and the nice ladies are too busy to notice.

Making our own copies? What a dream.... Then he would never steal again.

At 2/21/08, 11:09 AM, Blogger Tracy said...

My solution to my work being copied in Latin classes when I was at school was to produce two essays - one was my first attempt at translating the passage, the second was the one I planned to hand into the teacher.

I would leave the first essay in places where it was ridiculously easy to find and copy. After a couple of weeks, I noticed my fellow students no longer bothered copying my work.

While I was generating two essays anyway, so this was a very low cost solution for me, perhaps you could introduce a set of lesson plans with deliberate errors in them?

At 2/26/08, 3:09 PM, Blogger loonyhiker said...

Things like this amaze me! Of course I shouldn't be surprised because in a couple of schools where I worked, teachers stole other teachers' lunches. But seriously, I have done my best collaboration with colleagues at the copy machine. I confess to looking over the material they are copying and asking them what they plan to do with it. Then I start a discussion on how I could adapt it to my special ed class and usually walk away with lots of cool ideas after the teacher hands me a copy of the work. I am so thankful I worked with people like that.

At 3/2/09, 5:57 AM, Blogger sexy said...

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