The power of denial runs so strong in some students and people, that I am baffled by it. When you turn in an essay that you took in its entirety from a web site, and the language is much more sophisticated than your usual work and you make reference to different readings that no one within a hundred miles has read, including your teacher, what do you expect to happen?
I’m all about second chances, but own it-what you did. Don’t come at me with:
“What?! But I wrote that. How could someone else have used my very same words?” or
“I only had a little help from some friends, but I wrote it myself.” or
“Well, yah, I checked out a couple of websites, but I wrote it myself.”
Just own it. Say something like,”I’m sorry. I panicked because I waiting until the last-minute to do the essay and I ran out of time. I did take it from X source, but at least I changed the order of the paragraphs.”
This way, we can have a conversation about integrity, honesty, and being trustworthy. But when you still deny and wrap your whole body around the “I wrote it myself’ tree to save it, there is nothing I can do but let you have the grade you’ve earned. If you just own it, whatever it was, we can work through it and you can have a second chance to show me your own amazing thinking.
I don’t know what it is that drives us to defend our own “cheating” in whatever form it takes, but I do know it is much easier to own it, fess up, deal with the consequences, find forgiveness, hopefully healing, and move on with some shred of dignity to rebuild.