Last night, Cara called and we talked. She has a big presentation on Wednesday, and much to her horror discovered that her professor written on the topic some time back. She had independently reached some of the same conclusions that her professor had. She was sick to think that her professor might think that she'd cheated, and it was way too late to start over.
As a mother, my first thought was that a student would have to be crazy to plagiarize their professor, of all people. Cara had gone to the professor and explained this, and explained to her the thought processes she had used to draw her own conclusions independently during the weeks of preparation, and that she'd only become aware that her professor had been published on this when the professor herself had told Cara this, just a week before.
She's not sure what her professor thinks. She said, "I have a terrible time. I probably looked guilty as hell. I always do. I remember in fourth grade when I did a perfect map of Michigan. I took forever on it, and I was so proud. When I presented it to the teacher, I said, 'I did a good job on this and I didn't even copy it.'" Unfortunately, the teacher decided that her statement meant that she had copied it, and was a liar. Cara said, "I was so mortified, and my face got red, and she kept saying that my face gave me away."
I'm kind of like that, myself, so I understood, but I was amazed by troubles with her teacher. That teacher attended our church and was in our Sunday school class. I had heard other parents say she targeted kids, but I didn't realize that Cara had had her trouble with her.
We talked about that, and Cara referenced another teacher she'd had problems with. That particular teacher was disturbing to me. She claimed that a ghost lived in her house and she attempted to turn this into a religious experience which I found troubling. I discussed this at length with Cara to insure that she understood that Tim and I saw things differently. Mrs. S hand wandered past her desk one day and said impatiently, "Didn't anyone ever teach you how to color properly?" In the ensuing conversation, Cara mentioned, "You know, my mother thinks you're a whack job." Mrs. S. sent her immediately to the principal's office.
"Really???!!" I said. I had a pretty good relationship with the schools. If there was a problem, they called me. "What happened next?" Turns out they had called home, but they got Tim, who went to school and sorted it all out. He took Cara home for the day, and mentioned that she might want to keep her mother's opinions to herself, especially when she was speaking to the person her mother had strong opinions about.
Now. I do remember speaking with the principal about this teacher. I do not however, have any recollection of the 'whack job' debacle.
Tonight, Cara had a rough day at work, and she called me. To cheer her up, I told her about William's bedroom. He is too little to sleep upstairs by himself, so I bought him a little toddler bed and the sweetest little desk. These things fit perfectly into a corner of the office, so that he can sleep on the same floor as Tim and I when he comes to spend the night. I bought him two wooden puzzles and a wooden firetruck with rubber wheels. I even found an old fashion jack in the box.
At that, Cara yelped. Turns out that her experiences with jack-in-the boxes had been pretty traumatic, and she did not remember them fondly. She called them something to the effect of little tin boxes from hell.
I did not know that either.
I seemed to have missed a lot.