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Excuses, Excuses

May 5, 2013
It was easier when this was their excuse.

It was easier when this was their excuse.

Those of you who visit here on Sunday may expect to see a post from Becca, the Lady of Lady or Not… Here I Come. For the past few weeks, we have guest-posted on one another’s blogs on Sunday. This week, we both stuck to our own. I apologize to those who were anxiously awaiting a glimpse of another facet of the serious side of Becca. Instead, you are stuck with the draft of the rejected post for today on her blog. To be fair, almost always when she “rejects” a post, she says it’s good writing, it’s just not funny enough. I could not disagree with her in this case (in any case it is an exercise in futility, because the 0.01% of time that she isn’t right, she will readily admit it, and then there’s no room for disagreement). It isn’t that funny. It reads like an essay because it basically is an essay. It goes unnecessarily on defining Google Drive. But it does center on one of the more amusing and honest notes I’ve ever received from a student, so I still want to share it…

When I tell people I teach middle school, their initial response usually is “I’m sorry.” It’s no easy gig, but there are many rewards of working with two dozen living, breathing cauldrons of germs and hormones occupying the same small space with you. They entertain me, much more than I entertain them I’m sure. Recently I assigned my students to write a comedic story. Yes, I was making them write the same kind of thing that I try to compose each week here for Becca, usually with much wringing of hands and crying like a seven-month-old who just lost his binkie on my part. I’ve failed a lot at one rule, which is never give an assignment that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.

Nowadays, teaching and learning involve many wonders of technology that those of us who went to school in the 20th century just don’t know about. One of these is Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). Students can use this to write and share with their teachers without having to use any word processing program or e-mail attachments.

One bright young lady had supposedly written the final draft of her story on Google Drive. I had her plan and rough draft on paper. But when I finally got to opening up her final story on GD, I was greeted with this little editorial comment from her:

Before you read it I should tell you that it’s unfinished. Because I couldn’t find the other half of my rough draft, I slacked off and sort of gave up on the story because my rough draft was so funny and I couldn’t remember any of it. I never shared it with you because I thought if I could find the rest of the rough draft and finish the final draft then share it with you then blame the computer to explain why you never got it that you would never know. But then I never found the rough draft and never finished the story. I’ll go to zap if I have to.

All too true.

All too true.

That’s all sorts of clever. Students often fall back on “blame the computer,” honestly or not. But premeditating using that as an excuse when you slacked off and taking a calculated risk that the teacher would never know better? Brilliant. I see a bright future for this child, especially if she wants to go into law or politics. (Strange thing to me is, I had her rough draft all along. Hmmm…)

The one thing she can’t do is write for Becca. I confess that I am a sucker for excuses. Becca is not. We made an agreement that I would work on this Sunday post at least half an hour each day, starting on Monday. Friday night I told her I had spent at least half an hour “thinking” about what to write for this post. She promptly called BS on me. I’m telling you, don’t make excuses to her.

(That’s as far as it gets. I did give the student a second chance and she took it. She didn’t go to “zap” (detention). Yep, I’m a sucker, a softy, call me what you will, but after being bold enough to share that comment in her story, I couldn’t help myself).
9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2013 11:06 am

    The creation of a good face saver is like preparing a 5-star-menu, many people try it but only a few have this gift from above. You should keep this young lady in sight, I’ll bet she will became famous….sometimes… as Google Drive wills.


    • May 5, 2013 5:33 pm

      Yeah, she’s special. But it’s good to know that whenever something goes wrong, I’m going to blame it on the computer. Who would notice, or even doubt it? 😉


  2. May 5, 2013 4:38 pm

    She was funny. For some reason I thought we agreed to work on this and use it for next week.


  3. May 6, 2013 1:14 am

    What a brilliant and honest child. I imagine you don’t get many like her! It’s hard for adults to own up, never mind kids. She’ll go far if she keeps it up 🙂


    • May 7, 2013 7:04 pm

      I hope she does. The more “unique” they are, the more challenging they can be, but ultimately they’re the ones you remember most. Thanks for commenting 🙂


  4. May 11, 2013 4:26 pm

    I often have kids jokingly say, “The dog ate it.” To which I reply, “Bring the dog in and we’ll cut him open and get your homework.” And I sometimes get long-winded essays written on Algebra tests. Sorry kid, wrong language.

    Everyone knows math teachers are heartless, right?


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