Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Creative Excuses

I used to have a MySpace account.  I started my blog there.  But after I had a few too many technical difficulties, I moved the blog here.  I have since closed the MySpace account.  I hate to lose all of my blogs from that time, so from time to time I'm going to repost them here. This one was originally posted on August 25, 2006. 

It's good to get out of the house.  It's good to work.  Ah, but the teenagers!

The other schools don't start until September 7th, but the continuation high school has been going since late July.  And now the teachers are starting to be out. 

It always troubles me when they're happy to see me.  Either the teacher is one they hate, which means that they're going to take it out on me, or they "like" me, which means I let them get away with something that I shouldn't have.  And the perfectionist in me hates making those sorts of mistakes.

One student explained his glee.  "He chains our ankles to the desks.  If we're right handed he chains our left wrists as well."  This explanation was accompanied by a demonstration, which was hampered by the fact that there was no shackle to help out.  It was completely ludicrous, so I laughed. 

It's better if I don't question them on it.  It's when I start to question them that I get the really creative explanations.

One kid was not working.  I had a group of seniors (government and economics).  Seniors theoretically are close to graduating.  So, I looked at his empty desk and respectfully suggested that he might want to get some work done.  If he got some work done he might get closer to that elusive graduation.

"But I don't want to graduate.  I like school.  I will miss it if I graduate."

(Continuation high school.  They got sent there because they weren't completing credits at the traditional high schools.  They're either working hard to get out or they're complaining about being stuck.)  The explanation was completely ridiculous.

"You can keep the school thing going by going to college."

It was my own fault for coming up with a reasonable argument.  He then explained that college was in the plan.  First to a community college, then to university...  I'd have believed him more if he had been at least attempting to do the work assigned.  But that's the thing.  He would rather come up with some long and involved excuse rather than getting out a piece of paper and doing the work.

But I guess that's the teenage way.

I had one kid going all Eddie Haskell on me.  When he finally tired of making a pretense of working he asked for favors.  Could I turn on the TV?  Could I let them watch a movie?  Could I let him get on the computer?  So then he finally asked if he could read a book quietly from his seat.  A reasonable request.  (A request I know he didn't really mean.)  He got his yes, and his response: "I always get my way".  Okay, spin it whatever way you want.

Sometimes all the excuses just exhaust me.  If they just put as much effort into getting their work done that they put into trying to get out of the work...  Well, maybe one day they'll figure that out for themselves.

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