I was surprised this week at the responses to a friend’s facebook post about college teachers anonymously quoting, and making fun of, on the internet, “amusing” mistakes from student papers. My friend, correctly, identified this practice as an ethical lapse. What surprised me was not that people do it, but that anyone would try to defend it once their error was pointed out to them, as some commenters did on the thread in question. Quoting student papers on social media without the student’s permission is unprofessional and wrong. Even if you’re praising the work, it’s wrong, but it is far worse when you’re making fun of it. I’d like to make a case for this, focused on the teaching of writing, which is the only kind of teaching I’ve done.
Lennon goes onto advise us not to do anything we wouldn’t want our therapists to do. Read the rest of the post here, and while you are there, visit the rest of his website. And if you haven’t read his fiction, do yourself a favor and check it out. Pieces for the Left Hand is my favorite.