January 21, 2005

I couldn't come to class today because ...

Student Excuses

1. My rabbit ate my folder.
2. When I gave blood, I fainted and they made me stay there drinking orange juice even though I told them I had class.
3. Sorry I'm late, but I passed a dead raccoon on the road, and it looked like a perfect specimen so I went back home to put it in my freezer.
4. I was out all day looking for bugs to pin for my collection.
5. Dissecting a shark took longer than I thought.
6. It was opening day! I had to go hunting.
7. I was busy getting married.
8. I went skiing with a friend and he dropped the car keys off the chair lift and we had to wait for his girlfriend to drive out with the extra key.
9. My snake got loose and one of my housemates freaked out and wouldn't let me leave until I found it.
10. What paper? I was supposed to write a paper?

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.

Looking at the my own list, it occurs to me that when it comes to bizarre reasons for missing class, biology students win, hands-down, over any other major on campus.


Anonymous said...

I got this one yesterday:
My class has lecture MWF, and smaller recitation sections on T with TAs. We had a first midterm on Wednesday. A student emails his TA, saying that he just realized that he may be attending the wrong lecture MWF, and so did not take the exam. Indeed, he has been attending his recitation (and doing the work, according to TA), but has been attending a class next door. This is not another section of the same class, or even a class in the same department. This is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT CLASS. It had not bothered him that the recitation and the lecture parts of the class did not really seem to match up.
So, long story short, the excuse is "I didn't take the exam because I've been attending the wrong class."

Psycho Kitty said...

My god, are you serious? All these are real?
I am so glad that I have to deal only with writers, not students. Thank you sweet Jesus on the Mount.

Writers come up with good excuses, too, but none of them have ever told me they were dissecting a shark. Heh.

jo(e) said...

Yes, they are all real. My students actually do things like dissect sharks, put roadkill in the freezer, and collect bugs for entymology class. Many of them are studying to be wildlife biologists or vets or naturalists. Their real excuses are usually more interesting than anything they could possibly make up.

Jane said...

Once, a couple of hours before a midterm, a student came in to ask some questions about the material. He was behaving really wacky: jumpy, shaking, nervous, talking really fast. I finally asked him what was wrong and he said that he felt depressed that morning and took some drug that his psychiatrist had prescribed. (What kind of drug does that to a kid??) It was a bit scary, frankly, for both of us, and his behavior just got more and more bizarre. Finally the student asked if he could take the exam the next day. I agreed because his mental state was just so shaky at that point. But then he proceeded to go back and forth, debating whether or not he should take the exam....finally, I told him to not take it and to come and see me the next day for a make-up. He leaves, and then comes back 20 minutes later, announcing that he will in fact take the exam because "I just took a Valium and so I'll be fine". (!) (OK, that was more of a story than an excuse, but I still shake my head over that one. Somehow, he was able to manage a B on the exam.)

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

These are great and weird--and so far removed from what I've encountered, such as:
1. I had to go to court/jail
2. My Mom made me fly home for the week
3. I'm going on a cruise (yes, someone thinks it is OK to schedule a cruise during the school term)
4. I had a job interview/training
5. I work at a nightclub, and it is hard to wake up in the morning
6. My sister was kidnapped
7. It was the only time I could schedule an appointment with my academic advisor (I have advice for the advisor to give)
8. dentist/doctor appointment
9. I lost power at my beach house (poor baby!)
10. "I have this family thing to do"
11. I'm trying out for American Idol

jo(e) said...

Trying out for American Idol? Oh, that might be the best one I've ever heard. I'm going to use that one in class as an example. My students will love it.

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

One of my colleagues had someone trying out to be an MTV VJ. And I've been given the pre-planned honeymoon/marriage excuse as well.

On a serious front, I had a student last semester who had her mother contact me to ask for an incomplete because she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. I didn't question that one. At all. As excuses go, that's an example of a good one (certainly when compared to exigencies concerning frozen road kill). In the Fall of 2001, another kid was a volunteer firefighter from NYC who went home for 2 weeks to volunteer.

jo(e) said...

I didn't put the serious/sad reasons on the list but I've had lots of them over the years. Students will sometimes call me at home in the middle of the night when something tragic happens to them because they don't have anyone else to call. Very often, when I get a glimpse into a student's life, it reminds me of how privileged my own kids are. Something I don't want them to take for granted.

Cheeky Prof said...

I love this! I may borrow it for my blog in a bit for now I'll just add here:

I got 2 speeding tickets on my way to campus and was so pissed off after the second one I turned around and went home.

My best friend's girl broke up with him and I had to go home to be there for him.

Ianqui said...

I don't know--I think that roadkill one is pretty good. I mean, I don't do that kind of research, but I do experimental work and if the perfect participant came available, I might just drop everything to use him/her.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Boy. History students have such BORING excuses.

Well, okay, there was the one student who regaled me at length with stories about how her daughter got married to a man who they found out after the fact was gay (because his "friend" of 7 years tried to kill himself the day of the wedding) and married the girl only to get a kid and was keeping her practically hostage so student and her husband had to go rescue the daughter and then they had to go talk to the police and then they had to go to court and they had to put the daughter into hiding and and and....

Though I will say that other profs who knew this student considered her a pathological liar, my husband had the daughter in his class the following year, and either they're both pathological liars or the girl is messed up in all sorts of other ways...

but generally the excuses are much less exciting. Often sad, but not exciting.

PPB said...

My favorites (as an adjunct, I have less quantity, but do suspect they try to pull more over on the rent a profs)
a) I had basketball tryouts and needed to spend time taping my ankle and praying (he didn't make the team)
b) My dad went on vacation and I had to stay home to watch the dogs. After the hairy eyeball she adds, "they're emotionally handicapped."