Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Excuses, excuses

File under: Those Who Can't. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 7:13 pm.

Jo(e) is playing a game with a list of ten excuses her students have given her and other teachers over the years:

Rules for the game: Replace any that you feel like replacing. Add excuses that your students have given you. Try to stick to ones that you know to be real. Put an asterisk by all the ones you’ve added.

That has the potential to be fun, and jo(e)’s students are a fantastically creative (if not necessarily hardworking or honest) bunch. But I can do better: I’m going to provide a list of ten excuses that a single student has offered me over two two-week periods (the first, a few weeks into last term; the second, a few weeks into this term for the same course, which, surprisingly, she didn’t complete the first time around):

  1. My three month old daughter is sick.
  2. My two year old won’t stop crying.
  3. My five year old broke his arm and I need to take him to the hospital to get it set.
  4. My six year old’s appendix burst so I was in the ER during the last class.
  5. My uncle died and I had to fly to [town in Alberta] for the funeral.
  6. My aunt from [village in BC] died and the funeral is next week and there’s no airport within 200 km of there so it’s kind of hard to get to so I’ll be away until Monday.
  7. My car broke down.
  8. We were supposed to move to a new house but the deal fell through at the last minute and now all of our stuff is in boxes and we have to be out of the old house soon so things are pretty hectic.
  9. The babysitter cancelled at the last minute.
  10. I’m not feeling very well.

I swear on the graves of the dead aunt and uncle that I received all of these from the same woman, via phone and via email. The kicker: “But I’m keeping up with all of the homework.”

On the plane to the funerals and in the ER, I guess.


  1. This is extremely funny!! We have linked it on our latest Extra Credit Assignment. It can be seen here:

    - EdWonk — 1/23/2005 @ 3:34 am

  2. Well, that’s ok, as a math. teacher, you don’t have to teach her to take responsabilities for her life. She apparently feels that she has no control over her life (or want you to believe so).

    Some people never learn, ever. You have fifty years old ladies who wish they could loose weight, but (add excuses here) or wish they could get their finances under control if only (…).

    To me, the best excuse was not an excuse… This fairly good looking young lady comes to me… she had quite a bit of cleavage (to the point where you could not help noticing) and she just bent forward quite ostensibly as she was arguing with me… in such a way as I could have a very good look at her breast… and all along she has this very wide smile. Maybe she worked as a hooker or exotic dancer, or she was just very confident in the beauty of her breast, or maybe she was really desperate… Given my rather cold response, she probably assumed I was gay. I was just insulted that she thought I could be manipulated so easily. To this day, I still remember the incident, and I’m still insulted.

    - Daniel Lemire — 1/23/2005 @ 6:29 am

  3. One of my colleagues had to remind a student that the absence of a college dress code did not indicate a complete absence of public decency considerations. She was wearing a see-through top and, of course, nothing under it. But, you see, it was summer session, so she thought it was okay. At least that’s what she told my colleague while expressing wide-eyed amazement that he had been the least bit distracted. Yeah, right.

    P.S. to Daniel: “ostensibly”? I think you mean “ostentatiously”.

    - TonyB — 1/23/2005 @ 10:47 am

  4. Boobies are now being discussed at my most recent post.

    But yeah, it’s not my responsibility for me to get this student’s life in order. I’ve had parents (mostly mothers) take my courses before, and I know that often I’ll need to be a bit more understanding with them, as parents not only have to deal with unexpected crap in their lives, they have to deal with unexpected crap in their kids’ lives.

    That said, it’s absurd to think that a single mom of 4 kids under the age of 6, who works full-time, and is in the process of moving, could possibly take three university classes. This is even without unexpected crap coming up; there just does not exist the time in the day.

    It’s gotten to the point that when I get an email or a call from this woman, I respond with bored indifference - yeah, ok, you’re not showing up next class, allrighty then. No, I don’t give makeup quizzes. See you next week, maybe. (This is why I’d be a crappy high school teacher; I don’t like being in loco parentis with kids who can’t be bothered to take any responsibility for their educations.)

    - Moebius Stripper — 1/23/2005 @ 11:23 am

  5. […] ose Who Can’t — Moebius Stripper @ 11:13 am

    It took three comments for my post about students’ excuses to devolve into a conversation about breasts (thanks, Daniel L […]

  6. Yes TonyB, I probably meant “ostentatiously”.


    - Daniel Lemire — 1/24/2005 @ 6:03 am

  7. […] t claiming that a crippling migraine was preventing them from coming to class. Except in extreme circumstances, I tend to think that my students are honest. But I do […]

  8. […] me to class: some will be scared straight, and the others will drop out. (Well, except for e other uncle will die right before the test. Or something. She’s still en […]

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