Sunday, August 20, 2006
The most ingenious excuse (so far) a student gave me for not turning in his paper: he swapped cars with his brother, and his paper was in the trunk of the car the brother was using.
The most recent excuses given by two of my students for not doing homework: (i) she doesn’t have time; (ii) his previous school didn’t give students homework.
The most irritating reason for decrying a project: the other teacher teaching the same subject to another section didn’t impose such a requirement. (This, coupled with a whine.)
The most horrific thing a student told me, loudly, before the entire class: for me to tell her in advance if I will dismiss the class early so she would know when not to use her color-coded car and instead use another one, because heaven forbid that she wait for another three hours before she can drive home.
The most perplexing reason given by a student for allowing cell phones on campus and in class: because she cannot keep going to her car every now and then to check if she has messages—that would be oh so tiring.
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For the teachers among us, here's a poem celebrating the creativity of our students.
Excuses (for English 103)
by Bart Edelman
I tell my students, the first day,
To make them interesting, at least,
Be ingenious, for God’s sake;
After all, this is a creative writing class.
Let’s put the brakes on dead grandmothers,
Fender-benders in the parking lots,
Computer malfunctions at the 23rd hour,
A host of wisdom teeth removals,
And various court appearances,
Preventing the young scholars
From attending English 103.
Why not push the purple envelope,
As my colleagues like to say.
I give extra credit up the wazoo
For excuses that involve absences
Due to imbroglios with exotic animals;
Such as llamas, ocelots, wallabies,
And reptiles of any kind—
The scalier the better, in my grade book.
If I hear another aunt or uncle
Who suddenly needs to be fetched
At the Los Angeles Airport Terminal,
I’ll shoot myself in the medulla oblongata,
And mind you, that’s not a pretty sight.
Let’s reward the inventive pupils,
Capable enough to concoct tales
So worth the simple telling,
They don’t ever feel the need
To complete their assignments;
They can just orally dispense them
And lather up their classmates and me
With a plot or two along the way.
Think of all the possibilities:
Pole-vaulting bank robbers on the lam,
Imploding hotels in the basement,
Exploding motorboats under the overpass,
Ecumenical orgies behind the cafeteria,
And, yes, that gratuitous alligator in the grass.