Yeah, so I'm a slacker
I'm doing some volunteer stuff for my state PI and security association (PISA). I helped draft a letter requesting that the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services make some small changes to their application process. We want people to fess up if they've ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, for example, or whether they're subject to a restraining order when they apply for a PI or security officer registration. As it stands, neither situation prevents someone from getting a registration. Wacky, huh? Stay tuned for an update on whether or not they agree with the letter and make the changes we're requesting.
I'm also working on our annual conference, to be held March 30-April 1, 2007. I'm busy harassing people until they give in and agree to come and speak. So far, I've coerced some folks into doing training about defensive tactics, counter-surveillance, first aid and CPR/AED, forensic anthropology, and social networking sites, with much more to come. Stop on by if you're in the area: http://www.pisa.gen.va.us/events/symposium/2007/index.htm
I've also been prepping for next semester, and thinking about my adventures this past semester. One of the nifty techniques of interviewing I've learned as a PI is to ask someone you suspect of committing a misdeed what they think the punishment should be for that act. I tried that with the truly staggering amount of plagiarism that I encountered when I got my students' last set of papers. What I was taught is that someone who is guilty is more likely to say the wrongdoer should be given a second chance, or to suggest a very mild punishment. When I asked my first class the question, however, the answers didn't really seem to correlate. After pondering this for a while, I decided the answers the students gave were more likely to be reflections of their own personalities, and of their level of confidence as writers, than of guilt. I also discovered, to my great surprise, that many students didn't really know what plagiarism was. We spent a good bit of time on it. In the end I told them, basically, don't try to paraphrase. Many of them didn't understand how to do it right, and teaching them to do it in an appropriaye way would have taken a week or two, at least.
I've learned a lot on the PI side, as well, these last few months. I've been doing a lot of interviewing, primarily for background investigations. One of the great joys of being a PI is meeting and learning about people and ways of life I would normally never encounter. Though these are only brief glimpses, it gives me a richer understanding of the world I live in, and I trust it will make me a better writer, and a better person in general. And I am very, very rarely bored.