I try not to be suspicious. I try to think the best of my student. I generally like all of them.
Then, there are the exceptions.
Two sets of students turned in the same exact assignments as each other. That is, I have two different papers, each handed in two times, with four different authors. The real punchline here is that a significant chunk of the paper had to do with opinion and personal experience.
Another student, from a team taught class last semester, wants a retroactive W because he received an F. He gave no reason and told me that the other professor said it was o.k.
Do the first four (or at least two of the first four) think that I won't notice the exact same paper being turned in? Does the last student not think I will consult the other professor?
We won't get into the five or ten who come to me begging for deadline extensions because, as they reveal in their excuses, their other classes and their jobs and their family and their whatever else are all more important than my class. Or the one who came to me a month after the mid-term to ask "when is the mid-term?"
I just want to shriek in frustration! These are the times when I feel profoundly disrespected.
Actually, I want to create some kind of film or program that goes something to the effect of this:
Student says: "I have work, and paper in other classes, and I have to take care of x,y, and z."
Student probably means: "I'm really busy, I've done all I can to manage my time and still must come to you to ask for some consideration."
Teacher hears: "Your class is unimportant to me, you should accept that, and give me what I'm asking for."
Teacher knows: "You and every other student at this school, and not a few of the faculty and staff."
Meanwhile, I have to deal with 2-4 cheaters. I will do what I usually do, which is to allow them to be contrite and give them the opportunity to re-do the paper. Which means that I will have to grade up to the very last minute before grades are due. As for the other guy, I'll know what to do when the other instructor gets back to me. She has even more stress than I, being chair of the English and AELP sections.
This is the worst time of the semester -- so close, and yet so far from relief, wishing I could find the backbone to be a coldhearted bitch, yet not having the energy to be one, and wondering if I'm just spinning my wheels for nine months out of the year. It's a hazard of the profession.