Something must be going around the Cincinnati area. I've heard more excuses this past week from my students than ever before. It seems as if car accidents, car troubles, family deaths and sicknesses, hospitalizations, and computer crashes are following my students wherever they go. I am beginning to think that it is not safe to have me as a teacher.
Also, it was recently pointed out to me that dogs are no longer eating homework. Students today have a brand new dog: the flash drive! If they show up to class without their homework now, they simply state that the flash drive containing their work went through the wash, got smashed in their backpack, or (somehow) got pregnant.
What cracks me up most, though, about excuses is the presentation. Some students offer up an excuse and immediately you know its the only one in their repertoire--it comes out that easy, like an animal instinct. Other students take five to ten minutes to make their excuse. Usually, their excuses are prefaced with "I know this sounds like an excuse, but..." and concluded with a unsolicited recitation of their long (long) history of scholastic responsibility.
Of course, the worst kind of excuses are those that try to appeal to a teacher's sense of pity. These excuses are the classic sob stories, and they usually are made by the worst of student actors. It is no exaggeration to state that students who attempt the appeal to pity make soap opera actors and actresses look like true artists.
Anyway, the week isn't over and I expect a handful of excuses to come my way in the next twenty-four hours. If I hear a really good one, I'll pass it along.