My students are always asking me why I’m such a hard grader. They ask me about it every single semester. And, honestly, I don’t really have a good answer.
I mean, sure, I grade fairly harshly because I want my students to learn. I also grade fairly harshly because I care about grades. So, I guess I could just say “because I care.”
But, let’s face it: there are probably many reasons why people skip classes. Maybe you skipped a class because you didn’t feel like showing up. Or maybe you had a test coming up and you couldn’t afford to miss class.
Or, perhaps you just wanted to go out to lunch.
Or maybe you skipped class because you had a doctor’s appointment.
And, finally, maybe you skipped class because… well, you just felt like it.
So, today I am sharing with you some of the most common excuses that I hear from my students when they decide to skip class.
21. The Trains or Busses were Cancelled
Okay I have a story about my son. He lives in a city where there are no trains. So he takes the bus everywhere. But today it was cancelled. There was a big strike.
So he called his dad to tell him what happened. His father asked why wasn’t he taking the train. My son told him that the trains had been cancelled too.
His father laughed and said “Well you’re lucky, I live right next door.”
20. My Kid was Sick
Okay this one actually sounds legit and it’s pretty easy to understand why kids get sick. They’re little and they’re super vulnerable. If you’ve ever been around a baby or toddler you know how much energy they consume. And because they’re so small, they can easily catch viruses like colds and flus.
But there are some things parents do that make their children sicker. For example, if your child is coughing a lot, even though he/she isn’t showing symptoms, it could mean something serious. Another thing that makes kids sick is being exposed to germs. This happens every day. From touching toys to sharing food with siblings, kids are constantly getting infected.
So what can you do about it? First of all, keep your kids away from people who are sick. Second, wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizers. Third, clean surfaces regularly, especially toys and high traffic areas such as tables, counters, and toilets. Finally, try to avoid taking your kids out during peak times for illness since this increases the risk of spreading infections.
19. I was Sick
When students skip school, there are usually multiple reasons why they do it. Some people simply choose to take advantage of the situation. Others might be too busy doing something else. And some kids simply don’t want to go because they don’t feel well.
But sometimes, those excuses aren’t quite enough. In fact, many times, skipping school isn’t even about being sick. There are plenty of other ways to avoid getting caught. Here are 19 examples of things that happen every day that we’d never think of as “excuses.”
1. You’re Too Busy Doing Something Else
2. You Don’t Feel Like Going
3. Your Parents Are On Your Case
4. You Don’t Want To Go Because You’re Not Feeling Well
5. You Have A Homework Assignment Due Tomorrow
18. I’m a Carer
– A Teacher Shares Her Story About Being a Carer”
I am a carer. I work full time as a teacher in a secondary school, and I am also a mum to three children aged four, six and eight. I have been caring for my son since he was born, and my daughter since she was five months old. In my experience, being a carer isn’t something you choose; it happens to you. You don’t choose to become a parent, but once you do, you realise that you’re now responsible for another person’s wellbeing. And whether you like it or not, you’ll always be a carer – even when you go home at night.
When I look back over the past few years, I feel very lucky. My husband is a great dad and husband, and he has been incredibly supportive throughout. He works hard to ensure that I can continue working, and he never complains. As a couple, we have managed to balance life pretty well together, and we both enjoy spending quality time with each other and our family.
The hardest part of being a carer is having no control over anything. When I think about the times that I wish I could change things, it usually relates to events outside of my control. For example, I’d love to be able to say “no” to people asking me to babysit, or to take my kids to the park, or to play football with them. However, I simply cannot refuse, because I know that someone else needs looking after.
Being a carer doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice everything you want to do. If you find yourself feeling stressed, remember that you still have choices. You can talk to friends and family members about your situation, ask for support and advice, and seek professional help.
You might be thinking that you don’t deserve to be supported because you chose to have children. But please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Having children does not mean that you automatically lose your career opportunities. There are plenty of women who juggle a demanding job while raising young children successfully.
If you are struggling to cope with your role as a carer, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They offer free confidential advice and guidance, and they can provide information about local organizations that can help you manage your responsibilities.”
17. I didn’t Realize I was in your Class
This one always makes me laugh. I’ve had students tell me that they didn’t realize they’d signed up for my class. I’m like “Really?” They’re like “Yeah, I just registered thinking I was signing up for something else.” Then they look at the registration form again and see that they are indeed signed up for my class, and they’re like “Oh, okay!”
I know what you mean though. I used to do this too. I remember registering for classes in college without realizing it. I think I even did it once while drunk. There’s no way I could have registered for a class without knowing it, but I guess sometimes we forget things.
16. The Police Caught me for Speeding
I’ve always been pretty honest with my friends. If I say I’m going out tonight, I’ll tell them where I’m going and what time I’ll be home. So I wasn’t surprised when my friend called me up and asked “Hey man, are you still going to go out?” He had no idea that I’d already been pulled over for speeding.
The police officer stopped me near my house and gave me a warning. Then he found out that I didn’t have insurance on my car, so he wrote me a $100 citation. When I went to pay it, I learned that I owed another $75 in court fees. And since I hadn’t paid those tickets in months, I now owed even more money.
So I called him up again and told him I couldn’t afford to pay anymore. He suggested that I start paying off my fines in installments. Then he offered me three options: I could either pay $25 every month, $50 every six months, or $75 every 12 months. I chose the third option.
And that’s how I ended up getting a traffic violation.
15. I was Studying for Another Course
Students are always saying “I’m too busy to study.” But I don’t believe them. Because they’re actually lying to themselves. They’re just being lazy.
The truth is that most people spend way too much time studying and procrastinating.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, some students even admit to spending upwards of 40 hours per week studying.
And you know what else is crazy?
Most students aren’t doing anything productive during those 40 hours.
They’re watching TV, playing video games, scrolling through social media…
14. I took on an Extra Shift at Work
I remember it like it was yesterday. My friend called up and asked if I wanted to do another shift at work. I wasn’t really sure what he meant, but I told him yes. He asked if I could come over in 10 minutes, and I did. When I got there, I found out that he had been working extra hours, and needed someone to cover his shift that night. I agreed to take it, and we went our separate ways.
The next day, I woke up feeling sick. I felt awful, but I didn’t want to tell anyone because I knew how much trouble I’d be in if I missed a shift. So I just kept pretending to feel fine. But when I finally couldn’t hide it anymore, I told my boss about what happened. She looked at me with pity in her eyes, and she told me that I shouldn’t worry about it; that it happens every now and again. “You’ll be fine,” she assured me. And I believed her.
But that same week, I found myself doing something I never thought I’d ever do. I was taking on an extra shift at work. I hadn’t worked a second job since college, and here I was, looking for ways to make some cash. I figured I might as well try it. After all, I wasn’t hurting anything. I was making enough money to pay rent and buy food. What could possibly go wrong?
And boy, was I surprised.
13. There was a Death in the Family
– If you are like me, you have heard this one many times over the years. I’ve even seen it happen myself. Students come up to me and say “I’m sorry about your grandma.” Usually, they mean it. But in reality, it’s just a way of saying “I don’t want to miss class because I am sad and I know you’ll understand why.”
– This happens every semester. When students feel like they have lost a family member, they often start skipping classes. Unfortunately, this is a very easy way out of school. Asking for an extension is much harder to explain and could lead to disciplinary action. So, here are some ways to handle this situation without getting into trouble.
12. I was Hungover
This week we asked our Twitter followers what excuses they’ve used to miss work or school. Here are some of the most popular responses:
“I was hungover.”
“I was so drunk that I passed out.”
“I was tired from partying the night before.”
“I was sick.”
“I was having a bad hair day.”
“I was too lazy to get dressed.”
11. “It isn’t Compulsory to Attend”
I’ve taught courses where attendance wasn’t mandatory since 2003. My students know that it isn’t compulsory to attend class. They understand that there are many reasons why someone might miss a class. Sometimes work gets in the way; sometimes life happens. In fact, I’ve had several students tell me that they missed one or two classes because they were sick.
But what happens when someone misses too many classes? What does that say about them? Does it mean that they don’t care about their education? Is it fair to treat them differently just because they didn’t show up?
In my experience, skipping classes doesn’t always lead to failure. Many people do very well without attending every single lecture. Some even succeed in spite of missing lectures. So, what makes the difference?
The answer lies in how much effort each student puts into his or her studies. If a student is putting forth some real effort, he or she will likely make good grades. However, if a student is slacking off, he or she won’t achieve success.
So, while attendance is important, it shouldn’t be treated as a requirement. Instead, we should focus on helping our students develop habits that help them succeed.
10. I Slept In
I’ve been teaching college students since 2008, and here are some things that I’ve learned along the way:
1. If you’re a professor, waking up early isn’t easy.
2. You might actually want to sleep in once in awhile.
3. There are plenty of ways to make getting out of bed easier.
4. Your students aren’t always going to respect your schedule.
5. Don’t let your students’ lack of respect stop you from doing what you love.
6. Some people do deserve a little extra slack.
9. I had Computer Troubles
– Online Students Who Miss Live Classes Say They Had ‘Computer Trouble’ “I’m sorry about missing class,” said one student. “My computer froze.” Another student said he missed his class because he was working late. He’d been playing video games all night. “It just crashed,” he said. “I couldn’t even log into my email.” A third student told me she had trouble logging onto her course management system. She tried again and again, but every time she got logged out. “I thought maybe I did something wrong,” she said. “Maybe I entered the password incorrectly.” But no matter how many times she tried, she kept getting locked out. So she called tech support. “They didn’t know what to do,” she said. “They asked me if I could access the site remotely.” She wasn’t sure whether she meant over the phone or via another device. “I think I was supposed to use a different browser,” she said. “So I went home and used Safari.” When she returned to school, she found herself unable to log in again. “When I tried to go to my dashboard, it wouldn’t let me in,” she said. “I tried everything I could think of. It’s like I have no idea what I did wrong.” The next day, she emailed her instructor. “She said she would look at it for me,” she said. “And then she never responded.”
8. I had a Medical Appointment
I’m working on a paper about how students think about their professors’ expectations. In it, there are some examples where students have been caught out by unexpected changes in the university calendar. One example is a student who wanted to go to a conference in London. He was told he could do so, but he needed to make his travel arrangements well ahead of time. Another student didn’t realize she’d have to take her final exam during the day, so she missed the deadline. A third student forgot about a faculty meeting that conflicted with his schedule. These examples illustrate the importance of being aware of what the university expects of you.
But there are many cases where students aren’t aware of these things. For instance, I know a lot of people who say they’re planning to study abroad, but they haven’t thought about whether they’ll be able to register for classes while they’re away. Or they plan to work part-time, but they forget to tell their professors. They assume that since they’re enrolled full-time, they won’t have to worry about these sorts of things.
So here’s another case: a student planned to spend half of each semester studying abroad, and the other half staying in the United States. She assumed that she wouldn’t have to change anything else. When she realized that she’d actually have to take exams at different times, she wasn’t even sure what to ask her professor. She knew she’d have to move her registration deadlines around, but she hadn’t anticipated having to write multiple papers at once. She couldn’t figure out how to fit everything into her schedule.
The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t assume that you’ll always be able to meet your professors’ expectations. If you want to avoid surprises, you should talk to them early and often. Tell them what you’re doing, and why. Ask them questions like “What do you recommend?” “How much notice do I need to give you?” “Is there anything I need to do differently?”
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unsure of what to ask, remember that there are lots of resources available online. Your department might offer advice on how best to handle specific situations. If you’re taking courses outside of your major, check with those departments too. And if you’re worried that you don’t know enough about something to ask your professor, try asking someone else.
7. It was Snowing
The UK came to a standstill today due to heavy snowfall across much of the country. Schools closed early, businesses shut down, and people stayed indoors. While some parts of the country saw up to 10cm of snow fall, many areas saw just a few millimetres. In Northern Ireland, where there are no roads, schools remained open, while local councils declared emergencies. A spokesman for Belfast City Council told BBC News: “We’ve got emergency crews out on the streets.”
In Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency warned of dangerous conditions and urged motorists to take extra care. Police forces across the country responded to reports of accidents caused by icy road surfaces.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Londoners in #buckinghamshire, #hampshire & #london boroughs should avoid unnecessary travel unless absolutely necessary. If you must go outside, please use public transport wherever possible. Thank you.”
And in Wales, the Welsh Government advised against travelling anywhere except essential journeys.
While the Met Office predicted further falls over the weekend.
6. My other Class was Cancelled
There are many reasons why a class might be canceled. Some teachers do it because there isn’t enough interest; some don’t want to teach a certain subject area because they’ve already covered it. And sometimes, classes just get canceled. But here’s what you shouldn’t say when someone asks you why yours got canceled: “I didn’t know.” Because we think you did know. We think you knew about our canceled class, and you chose not to tell us. So now we’re canceling your class too.
5. It’s the Last Week of Semester
I set my assignments due dates for the final week of classes. This semester, I gave myself a break. I scheduled the last week of classes for the second half of the term, giving me the luxury of having a full week off.
This semester, I took advantage of the extra day off. Instead of cramming for exams, I spent the entire weekend relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. I went hiking, visited some museums, and even got away for a few hours to go shopping.
The following Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to start preparing for midterms. But when I logged into Canvas, I saw something unexpected. My course grade distribution looked like this:
As you can see, there are no grades above a B+. In fact, there weren’t any A+’s either. And while I did receive a lot of D+’s, most of those came from students who hadn’t completed their work.
I’m sure many teachers face similar situations. They give out lots of low grades because it’s easier to do so than to give high ones. But how does this affect student learning?
In my case, I don’t think it affected my teaching very much. Students who received poor marks probably knew they needed help anyway. But it could have been different if I’d given out too many F’s. If I had done that, I might have lost control over the class.
4. It’s St. Patrick’s Day or 4/20
I remember my first day working at a Catholic college. We were supposed to be there for 8 hours, but we didn’t start work until 9am because everyone wanted to party. So we did. And drank. A lot. I remember one student turned up drunk to class and he couldn’t even walk straight. He fell over. Then he stood up again. Then he fell over again. Eventually, someone helped him into his chair.
The next morning, he came into the office and asked me what happened. I told him he’d been drinking too much. “But,” he protested, “it wasn’t like that.” And I replied, “Yes, you’re right. It wasn’t like that. It was worse.”
And that’s why I love St. Patrick’s Day. Because it’s about being silly, having fun and enjoying yourself. Not about getting hammered, getting sick or doing something stupid. And that’s why I love April 20th. Because it’s about cannabis culture.
3. Our Other Teacher Held us Back
I’m a high school teacher and I know how tough it is to teach classes where you’re not sure what’s going to happen next. You never really know whether you’ll be able to finish teaching a lesson, or if you’ll have to cut it short because something unexpected happens outside the classroom.
But there are times when you just don’t want to release your students early. Maybe you think they won’t learn anything if they leave the room earlier. Or maybe you believe that letting them walk away from the table while you explain something is disrespectful. Whatever the case, sometimes it’s hard to tell when you should let your students go home.
2. My Timetable Showed the Class was Cancelled
Timetables are a nightmare for many schools. You know how some people say “I’m too busy to do X”? Well, I’ve got news for you – there’s no such thing as being too busy. In case you didn’t notice, the class you wanted to attend isn’t listed anymore. That’s because the teacher changed the timetable without telling anyone.
If you’re looking at the school’s timetable and you find something like this, don’t panic. Just contact the headmaster or principal and explain why you want to make changes. Chances are, they won’t mind.
But if you’re really worried, here’s a few things you could try:
1. Go to the school office and ask for help. You might even be able to talk to the headmaster.
2. Ask the teacher directly. Explain that you want to know where he or she wants to move the class to next term.
3. Email the headmaster and ask him or her to look into it.
1. I’m taking a Vacation
I’ve had students come up to me during class telling me they’re out sick because they’re taking a vacation. This happens at least once per semester.
Usually this excuse is provided early on in the semester and I have a good clear amount of time to prepare.
And I’m usually pretty flexible.
But most teachers aren’t. In fact, at every school I’ve worked for there are official polices that clearly state that planned absences are not acceptable reasons for missing classes or requesting extensions.
But hey, what do I know? I’ll give you the materials and tell you good luck quicky writing your essay on the beaches!