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I Used My Student’s Work As Research Paper Samples To Boost Their Confidence

January 5th, 2010

I Used My Student’s Work As Research Paper Samples To Boost Their Confidence

I have been a eighth grade teacher for five years. It is a very trying profession. The benefits are excellent. I love having three months off every summer and it’s extremely rewarding. On the other hand, I don’t have any flexibility with my schedule, I have been called every single name you can imagine and I barely make enough money to cover my rent and food. Eighth grade is a really difficult year for students. They are coming into their own. They are dating going through puberty and trying to grasp the idea of high school and leaving the friends they have been with for the past eight years. In preparation for high school, mid year, I begin teaching them how to write simple term papers. It is a very difficult assignment for most of them to grasp. They aren’t use to having to type out papers. They also have no idea how to cite sources. Every year I keep old student’s papers to use as research paper samples.

I have about five really good research paper samples. I have kept one from each student every year. At the end of the term right before graduation I pull the student aside and ask them if I may use a copy of their paper as a research paper sample for the next year. They are usually very happy and proud that I considered their paper the best of them all. I make a copy of the paper and add it to the rest of my research paper samples in a file cabinet.

The day finally came with my current class that it was time to teach them how to write a good term paper. As always they seemed overwhelmed when I explained the process and gave them the following five key tips:

1. Use MLA format:
Author. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year published.

2. Create a thesis statement. One sentence that summarizes what you are trying to achieve in your paper.

3. Make sure each paragraph as a topic sentence.

4. Explore one topic per paragraph.

5. Please use the research paper samples as a guide

I handed out four of the five research paper samples so that everyone new what I was expecting from them. The students had three weeks to work on their term papers. I encouraged them to ask questions to call or email me. I wanted them to feel free to approach me about any questions they had.

It seemed like three weeks passed very quickly. I collected the papers bright and early on the morning they were due. The students seemed both frustrated and relieved that the assignment was finally over. It took me almost a week to grade the papers. I was both happy and disappointed by much of their work. I finally began grading a paper that I thought would end up people part of my research paper samples when I realized it already was. It was the one research paper sample that I had not handed out that day for the students to reviewed. I was livid. I now knew it was time to teach the students the importance of plagiarism. And suspension.

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