Monday, March 4, 2013


Jim Cooper's Down on the Island is a retrospective view on his time as an English professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. The chapter about "Helping" talks about how students don't consider helping their friends during a test cheating. As a native puerto-rican, the view on "helping" is not a new one because I have been used to it all my life. It was funny reading it from an outsider's perspective. I consider cheating any kind of extra help during a test; apparently this did not constitute cheating to the students that Jim Cooper had in his class. They justified cheating as "helping" because they could not see what was wrong with helping out a friend in need. It was a totally different logic. 

This chapter reminded me of when I was in elementary and middle school. I was a very reserved child, bookish and quiet, always did my assignments on time (a habit that I need to keep up now in college!). Even though I was shy, I was open to help anybody that needed it. But sneaky people, as they tend to be, actually expected me to tell them the answers DURING the test. I always said no. It annoyed me so much how people take advantage of other people's hard work.  I guess that made me kind of a loser between my peers but I didn't care, in time all was forgotten. 

I believe Jim Cooper was astounded at the explanations his students gave him when it was time for a test, especially the excuses they came up with. The more outrageous they got, the funnier it actually was reading this chapter. I felt familiar with the subjects brought up even though I do not share Jim Cooper's exact point of view. I guess words can have more than one meaning. 

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