Me: (in bed reading)
Hank: Mama, can I use your computer? I have a PowerPoint presentation on Adele that is due on Monday and I want to get it done now so that I have my whole 4-day weekend free.
Me: That sounds great. Do you have your assignment? Do you know what needs to be done for this presentation?
Hank: Yup! I am totally set.
Me: Well, then feel free to commence. Papa will help proofread your slides for spelling later and make sure you write down where you got your information from; the book or website you read to learn about Adele, okay?
Hank: Thanks, mama.
(9 minutes later)
Hank: Mama, I am sorry to interrupt again, but can you teach me to copy and paste with the computer?
Me: Yes, but you can’t copy and paste your report.
Me: That is called plagiarism, stealing someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. You need to read and retell the information in your own words.
Hank: But that isn’t what my teacher said.
Me: (suspect) Your teacher said you were to copy and paste?
Me: (extremely suspect) Please bring me your assignment.
Hank: BUT MOM.
Me: Stay calm and bring me your assignment.
Hank: (deep breath, handing over his Music notebook, voice shaky with stress) My assignment is to make a PowerPoint of five slides about my favorite singer. I have to have a biography, some images, the lyrics of my favorite song, and then my commentary about why I love the song and artist.
Hank: So I need to copy and paste the information.
Me: Nope. The only thing you can copy and paste are the lyrics as that is a direct quote.
Hank: (starting to freak out) BUT THAT WILL BE SO MUCH WORK!
Me: (calm) Why do you think your teacher assigned you two weeks to get this done?
Hank: (officially freaking out) BUT NONE OF MY FRIENDS ARE DOING THAT MUCH WORK.
Me: I am looking at your assignment and nowhere does it say that you are free to plagiarize.
Hank: YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING.
Me: Don’t be disrespectful. I am a teacher…
Hank: AN ART TEACHER!!!!
Me: (not taking the bait) Regardless of the subject no teacher would ask a group of students to plagiarize reports. I am sorry your teacher didn’t explain well how to read and report in your own words on a subject, but I am more than willing to step in and help you.
Hank: BUT IT IS TOO MUCH WORK!!! I WILL NEVER GET IT DONE BY MONDAY!!! EVER!
Me: It isn’t too much, I promise you, but you can’t do anything until you calm down. Please, take a few minutes in your room alone. Then we will learn how to write the biography of Adele by using the 5 W’s and an H method.
Hank: (purple with hysteria and tears) WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!
Me: When reporting if you answer the questions: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why you build a full spectrum story.
Hank: (practically hyperventilating)
Me: But first you have to calm down. You can’t accomplish anything without calm. I love you and you have time. You have until Monday and it is only Wednesday night. Give yourself a minute to process that homework can take more than 20 minutes because this will be the pattern for the rest of your academic career. Because of your hyper preparedness personality you have time, there is always tomorrow and after all tomorrow is another day. (biting the inside of my cheeks so I won’t smile at my distraught pre-teen who doesn’t understand the reference)
Hank: (wailing dramatically, storming out of my room, crashing into his bed and muffling his frustrated screams and sobs into his pillow)
Me: (humming the Gone with the Wind theme song, returning to my book for twenty minutes until Hank calmed down enough to read and answer the 5 W’s and an H about Adele and then have another total atomic meltdown after he lost his PowerPoint without saving it, which he found after another round of pillow screaming, and the cycle repeated three more times until Hank’s first PowerPoint was completed, but he wasn’t once self-deprecating, he didn’t once hit himself or call himself stupid which I consider a huge victory. He is reporting that his favorite song is Set Fire to the Rain, by the way, when last week it was My Funny Valentine. When asked Hank said he didn’t want to do a report on someone that no one, not even his teacher, had ever heard of so Chet Baker got the boot.)