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In Your Words

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What was your best homework excuse?

“I wasn't able to do my homework last night because we had to go to the grand opening of the Bass Pro Shop.” Four students gave me this same excuse ... you’ve got to love it!

Michelle Bennett
Shallotte, North Carolina

A father I knew well met me at my classroom door early one morning. “Ms. K-C,” he began, “My son asked me to stop by to let you know he didn’t do his homework.

I hope you will excuse the fact that he doesn’t have it done today. Last night he delivered his new baby brother on the bathroom floor.”

Lois Kilby-Chesley
Freeport, Maine

A quiet little girl in my math class had not brought in a particularly important assignment. I asked her what happened, and she said haltingly that the police would not let her into her apartment to retrieve her assignment because her neighbor had been shot and killed in her living room last night. Thankfully she was not there when it happened. I kept her in at recess, helped her with her assignments, and told her not to worry about the homework. The next day’s local paper reported the shooting. It was the most haunting homework excuse of my teaching career.

Yolanda Rupel
Pomona, New York

When I was teaching in an affluent suburban district just north of San Francisco, a student told me, “Ms. Spike, I couldn’t do the assignment because our professional fung shui-er moved my text book and now I can’t find it.”

RuthAnn Spike
Del Mar, California

“It burned up in the microwave.” The student explained that his mother spilled coffee on his homework and put it in the microwave to dry. I was skeptical that it actually caught on fire until he opened his folder and pulled out the charred paper. “See?” he said. I was so surprised, I accepted the homework and went home laughing!

Lynn Breckenfelder Miller
Wheaton/Warrenville, IL

This isn’t a homework excuse, but a homework success, despite the odds. I was teaching in a New York City high school during the Great Blackout of 1965, when power was lost overnight for as long as 13 hours. A student came in the next day with candle wax drippings on her homework. 

Arlene Yolle
Ridgefield, Connecticut

One of my students was a funeral director’s son. The day before Thanksgiving, Dan didn’t have his homework. When I asked him why, he said,“I was busy last night.” I said I was busy, too, making pies and preparing for company, but I still got my homework done and so did all of the other students. “Well,” said Dan, “I had to help my Dad take a dead body out to the airport.”

I went out into the hall and had a little chuckle, came back in, and proceeded with the lesson. 

Angela M. Palin
Missoula, Montana

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