Excuses, Excuses: Part 3October 6, 2007
”Mr Roberts gave Jordan a detention for throwing a pen lid. He says he didn’t do this and I have checked his pens and they all have lids on. He shouldn’t have to do this detention. It’s unfair and is just because Jordan has a bad reputation.”
Letter from parents of a child in my form group, 2005
Continuing my run down of popular excuses:
Excuse No 7: Mr Crapteacher lets me do it.
Used: When told off during a lesson for:
- Chewing gum
- Listening to music through earphones
- Playing music
- Eating lunch
- Wearing a coat
- Texting their friends
- Writing in florescent yellow ink
- Taking off parts of their uniform
- Doing their make-up
- Stealing from the teacher’s desk
- Walking out of the classroom
Notes: Apparently Mr Crapteacher, despite being only twelve years old and unable to spell the word “assessment”, is the best teacher in the school because he lets his students do whatever they want. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. They will argue that they are clearly allowed to do any of these things in all their lessons. Yes, the school rules might say the exact opposite, but the school rules have nothing to do with what actually goes on in a classroom.
Excuse No 8: I have a note from my parents.
Used: For anything pretty much, but particularly common for uniform violations and for leaving the classroom to go to the lavatory twelve times a day.
Notes: There’s no getting around it, the parents of the underclass are under the control of their own children. If Chantel says “I want to go to school in leggings and a T-shirt with ‘100% Slut’ written on the front of it then her mum will write a letter (or more likely ask Chantel to write it and then sign it) explaining that Chantel’s uniform is in the wash/ripped/too small/setting off her allergies. If children are finding it a burden to stay in a lesson for a whole hour with nothing to do but learn then they can have a note explaining that they have an bladder complaint (not yet diagnosed by anybody but their parents) that means they will have to go immediately to the toilet whenever they are confronted with difficult work or a lesson where they can’t sit next to their friends. One year I taught a Year 8 class of twenty-three where no fewer than eleven students had bladder problems of this sort. Other popular notes include:
- “My son/daughter can’t do their detention because they are: picking up their little brother/innocent of all wrongdoing/scared of the dark”
- “My son/daughter can’t write due to a hurt finger/headache/Special Need but is nevertheless going to sit in your lesson chatting”
- “My son/daughter has a personality clash with her teacher. Can they be moved to a class where they won’t have to do any work?”
- “My son/daughter has a sore throat. During your lesson can you allow him/her to suck sweets/drink water/wear a coat/inject heroin”
- “My daughter cannot see the board. I have made an appointment at the opticians for 2017 but until then you will have to let her sit next to her friends in your lesson”.
Excuse No. 9: You’re picking on me.
Used: When in trouble.
Notes: This one is very popular and believed by a lot of parents. If a child is punished it cannot be because they have done anything wrong. It must be due to personal animosity on the part of the teacher. Sometimes the child will claim they are being picked on because of their race or gender (I’ve had simultaneous complaints that I pick on the boys and that I pick on the girls). Sometimes children have genuinely lost any conception that punishment is connected with wrong actions and come out and say things like “you’re only punishing me because I’m not working” or “you’re picking on us because we won’t do what you say”. Unfortunately this ridiculous sense of grievance can lead to prolonged problems, malicious complaints and sometimes there are even managers who believe it and cause trouble for the teacher involved.