Even though homework is going by the wayside in many classrooms we still get a variety of excuses for not doing assignments. This post examines some of the reasons I have gotten by my students for not doing their homework. Before you comment on how research doesn’t support giving homework and blah, blah, blah, relax, it is just for fun!
“My dog ate it!”
Of course I had to put the classic excuse, used by students for generations, on this top 10 list. However, with the recent surge of online platforms for doing homework and with teachers posting homework to their home page this excuse is beginning to fall by the wayside. Perhaps student’s dogs will start eating their laptops?
“I accidently left all of my school supplies at school!”
This is one of my favorites, “Mister! I was at my locker after school and I got distracted and forgot to take my homework home so I couldn’t do the assignment.” In reality we all know how this played out, the student shut their locker, thought, “Wait, don’t I have homework? Yes. Oh, well, too late now!” Then walked to the bus and went home.
“My internet wasn’t working.”
With teachers able to assign work through Google Classroom or other online platforms today this excuse is rapidly moving up the list. The beauty is that I have no way of disputing this without calling home and asking parents if their Internet was working last night. Who really likes to spend their time investigating the inner-workings of the student excuse network? I could tell them that their local library had Internet but they would counter with, “It was closed after my family got out of Mass.” Dammit! Well played students, well played.
“The homework was too hard….”
The many angles that get played off of this excuse are really ingenious. First, this excuse puts the blame on you, the teacher. It is essentially saying, “Hey dummy why did you assign us homework and not teach us anything about how to do it?” My favorite extension off of this excuse is, “Even my DAD tried to help me and HE couldn’t do it so it must have been a bad assignment.” Oh really shit head? I am sorry that you were trying to flip your water bottle over on your desk (a disease that is rapidly spreading in our schools, much like trying to get pencils stuck in the ceiling) instead of listening to how to do the homework, but every other student figured it out, so why don’t you start crying and go and tell your daddy how mean I am.
“We had homework?”
Ahhh….. a valiant effort but unfortunately for this student the rest of class usually backs up the teacher. If even one student has their homework done this argument is crushed. Really all it does is validate that the student wasn’t being lazy, but rather they just forgot because they accidently missed the giant red letters on the board with stars all around them, that have been up for the last 3 days saying, “DUE FRIDAY QUESTIONS 1-5!”
“My ____________ went until 7:30 and then it was too late to start my homework.”
It really doesn’t matter what you fill in the blank with here. Usually it is a sporting event/practice, sometimes it is religious based (especially on the weekends), and occasionally the smart student will even throw in a funeral here, as it is the granddaddy of unquestionable excuses. Really, who is going to call mom to check and see if her sister really died. My favorite part about this whole excuse is their lack of understanding about time, if you are going to make this excuse you need to be home at 11:00 pm, not 7:30 pm.
“I got distracted with __________.”
At least they are taking ownership……this is a win in my book.
“I read the directions but I didn’t understand what to do.”
Similar to number 7 this excuse attempts to put the blame back on the teacher. It is insinuating that we just didn’t write clear enough instructions. Well kiddo let me help you so you can be successful next time, the homework was to read chapter 7 in Hatchet. To do this homework you will need to open the book to chapter 7, read chapter 7, then close the book, DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!?!?!?!?! RAWR.
“I did it, but I left it in/at _______”
The students with the audacity to fill in this blank with my locker must be sent to their locker to retrieve the assignment. 9 times out of 10 they will not find it in their locker. I do appreciate the attempt to make me think that you did it. However, if we look at this excuse in the real world it would be like ordering a Big Mac at the drive through and getting to the window only to have the worker tell you that she made your meal but left it in the kitchen, WTF.
“I didn’t do it.”
This non-excuse is the most commonly used today. While I respect the complete honesty and utter lack of shame that is attached to this non-excuse, it is concerning that this is what the norm is becoming. The student who uses this over and over again clearly does not care what you, or anyone else thinks about them or their work ethic. It is sad, at least come up with an excuse! Kids these days…….
Do you have any favorite excuses? Add them below!
English Language Development teacher attempting to bring some truth to the table.
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