Accused of plagiarism because I use online resources

Discussion in 'General Education' started by allaragallagher, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Dec 15, 2014

    This morning started off horribly. My Union rep. came to me and told me that "somebody was after my job" and had told her, after admin left a meeting last night, that I was plagiarizing. This person showed her a rubric of mine and said it didn't match the lesson I handed out because I'd got the lesson from online. I told her: ... Um, yeah. I was hired to teach 8th, 9th, 11th honors, and 12th honors a week before school started. There is no way I could make my entire curriculum from scratch. I supplement my materials with materials bought online from teacherspayteachers. I don't pretend they are mine. I keep the copyright info. right on there. I thought this was common practice. If the rubric does not match it is because the materials did not have one and I created it from scratch.

    She said she was just giving me a heads up so I didn't get blindsided and so that I know someone is watching my every move. This person apparently didn't mention it to admin. so I didn't need to go justify myself. She said to just mention in my classes from time to time, "hey, I searched for an amazing activity and found this one online!" Admin, by the way, just evaluated me for the first time on Friday. He heard me say: "hey, class, this annotated sonnet isn't mine. I found it online and wanted to show it to you as a strong example. THIS is my version... bly looks closer to what you did." He told me I did great and that my first evaluation was very strong.

    Am I doing something wrong? Do you use the Internet as a resource? Do you mention that you didn't make whatever lesson plan or umit to your students every time you teach it? Why is it more acceptable to photocopy a thirty year old textbook?
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Dec 15, 2014

    That sounds pretty ridiculous. I've never heard of a teacher having to give a disclaimer to their student/principal/coworkers/whatever when they supplement their lessons with materials created by other teachers.
     
  4. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    I use the Internet--- we are encouraged to and are given supplementary ideas from he Internet in our meetings!
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I think it is ridiculous.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    It's nuts. I'd never get a year's worth of lessons done without the internet.
     
  7. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    That sounds crazy. Were you hired to teach or create curriculum materials? Assuming the former, why would it matter in the least if you use found resources?

    Yes, I take worksheets, ideas, learning centers, and entire lessons from the internet all the time.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    As my mentor says, "The best teacher is a thief."
     
  9. hopesma

    hopesma Rookie

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    I don't pretend that I can create something more creative than what's already out there. I may tweak something but most of my stuff is taken from the web.

    Why re-invent the wheel when some version of it is surely already available? Creating everything from scratch is not good time management when you are already stressed and busy enough, imo. And a good way to burn out too.
     
  10. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    That was my reaction. I'm a first year teacher so I wasn't sure if some schools frown on my not making all of my lesson plans. I got hired late. They had hired someone else but it turned out she wasn't qualified. They found her a different position at the school so the atmosphere is tense.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That person is a nutso whackjob. Every teacher gets stuff from the internet, and there's no time to credit the internet site every time you do a lesson. In addition, the students don't even care if you credit it or not.

    My impression of the law, is that if you aren't using the materials to make money, or depriving the original owner of money (meaning that they have it for sale, but you got it for free from someone) then it's completely okay to use it for public free education.

    (hence why I download anything and everything)
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Well if I were a betting man, I'd bet that you've solved the mystery of the whiny rabblerouser. Just ignore that person and keep doing what you're doing.
     
  13. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Why reinvent the wheel?? The resources are out there... use them! Someone is just being a petty pain in the butt.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Anyone who has the time and desire to cross-check your lessons with your rubric is either desperate, crazy, or both.

    Pay them no mind, continue giving credit where it is due, and move on knowing you are a hard-working teacher who knows how to use resources effectively.
     
  15. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    Dec 16, 2014

    That's just not what plagiarism is. It's like accusing a line cook of using someone else's recipes.
     
  16. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I highly doubt that it's in *any* of our job descriptions that we must create completely original lessons or that we must use disclaimers when we don't!! I don't know a single teacher who doesn't search the internet for lesson ideas and either use them out right or modify them for their classrooms.

    If you were publishing and selling those lessons that you got elsewhere, that would be plagirism and a possible violation of copyright. This person doesn't know what these words mean.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    This person clearly has nothing better to do! I'm sorry that they seem to be after you. Keep doing what you're doing!
     
  18. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Thanks everyone. My first evaluation went very well so I don't really care what the other teachers say about me.
     
  19. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Somebody's jealous or just doesn't like you.
     
  20. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Dec 16, 2014

    I'm a little weirded out by both the person who was supposedly ratting you out AND the person warning you to make a daily disclaimer.

    I fully believe in browsing the internet and taking others' lesson plans.
     
  21. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Dec 16, 2014

    All the replies to this made me giggle.
    I'm sorry someone at your work is crazy and thinks you're plagiarizing, because that's obviously not what it is when you get lesson plans off the internet. Teachers share lesson plans because we all know there's no way we'd get anything done if everything had to be original (and really nothing would be original anyway, because someone else would think of the same thing -- for example, I found out I taught the exact same lesson on fractions using the exact same visual as one of the other student teachers in my cohort. I'm pretty sure we both thought we'd come up with it ourselves and we had a good laugh when I told her she'd presented the exact same lesson I was going to present). If you're really worried about it, ask the principal if the disclaimer is necessary, but otherwise probably no one important is checking if your lesson plans are 100% made up by you.
     
  22. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Look on the bright side: if this crazy allegation of plagiarism is the best they could come up with, you're doing pretty well!:)
     
  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Of all the questions ever asked at an interview, or a demo lesson, not once has someone asked me for insight into how I, personally, crafted the lesson, or whether or not the lesson might contain material that I didn't create myself. I have had administrators want to poach a lesson, or know if I would share the information with them. My suggestion, and it may have been offered before - I skimmed the latest posts, would be to take the matter directly to admin and ask for clarification, since many teachers purchase or adapt lessons from varied sources, including jobs they have had previously. I would make it clear that you are not selling any of this as your own work, but you need to know the school policy on using internet resources in your teaching. I wouldn't mince words about being accused of plagiarism, and I would somewhat, nicely, go on the offensive and put this information that has been shared with you in the public spotlight. I would ask the administrators if they have a prepared curriculum that they would prefer you use, perhaps one they have bought, or, if they don't approve of scouring the internet for ideas and resources, ask if they have teachers on staff you could go to for guidance. I would make my case for the fact that you have never claimed to create all the wonderful lessons, but having purchased many of the lessons authored by the original creator, you have the legal right to utilize the material without fear of reprisal. My guess is that someone is trying to rattle your cage, but I am forthright and open, so I would politely broach the subject as seeking information that will make you a better, more effective teacher. That is, after all, what they hired you to be.

    Innuendo and malicious gossip should not be suffered silently when the most likely response will be that the admin is fine with the practice, especially since you are paying for the curriculum. On the off chance that they are not OK with that, you have put yourself in a position of wanting to comply with their expectations, and that is also a positive thing to know sooner rather than later. Either way, that should take the wind out of the sails of anyone who would wage a shadow war by spreading falsehoods and trying to create suspicions. I would say that the time is perfect given the strong observation. You can do all of this without naming names or pointing fingers, which makes you the better individual. Should these rumors make it to admin, you will already have answers and adjusted your practices if necessary, or you will be able to carry on without fear of reprisal.

    Honestly, I, too, believe that the best teachers are those who grab good material and mold it to fit their needs. Just as in baking or sewing, it is not always about following the recipe or following the pattern - if it isn't customized to fit the class and desired outcome, it may be perfectly useless. A great teacher is more like an artist. A little of this, a little of that, blending until it is just right.

    Happy holidays - be of good cheer! :2cents:
     

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