“You know, sometimes I just don’t care,” said an anonymous student. “At this crazy point in my life, sometimes I need sleep more than I need knowledge.”
Mary Ruthi, Ph.D., professor of sociology, recounted some of the most memorable excuses she’s heard in her years of teaching, such as cars breaking down, grandparents dying, alarm clocks malfunctioning, students getting sick, grieving for deceased pets, getting snowed in, too much work for other classes and many more.
“Sometimes the excuses are true,” Ruthi acknowledged.
But not always.
Ruthi said she remembered a student who did poorly on an exam and didn’t come to class the next day because he didn’t want to see how poorly he did.
“You’re in a hole,” she said. “Keep digging … yeah, OK.”
Also memorable, Ruthi said, was the student who didn’t show up for the first two weeks of class because she supposedly “couldn’t find the room.”
She said her favorite story, however, is the tale of a student she had a long time ago. He missed an exam, and then proceeded to email her that he had been in the hospital that day. Ruthi was talking with one of her colleagues about it, and her colleague said that student had been in her class the period before on that very same day. A quiz with his name on it was proof, and Ruthi decided to confront him about it.
When confronted, the student, who happened to be a minister, evaded the subject by lecturing Ruthi on Christian mercy. Ruthi said he played the I-hope-you-feel-OK-before-God card in a nasty email he sent later that day.
Bruce Evans, Ph.D., professor of biology, said he gets especially frustrated with the alarm clock excuse.
“Go up to that store where professors buy their alarm clocks, because they always go off,” said Evans.
Although when asked about his attendance during college, Evans just chuckled. He said he missed a lot of classes freshman year because he “just didn’t feel like going.”
One professor said he goes to drastic measures to get his students there. Mike Rowley, Ph.D., professor of communication, said if a student doesn’t come to class often enough, he brings the class to them.
A couple of years after Rowley started teaching at HU, he had a student – Justin – who ditched class on a regular basis. One morning, Rowley decided to solve that problem by taking the whole class to Justin’s dorm.
The students filed in, one by one, until the whole class was right in Justin’s room. Then Rowley finally came in and Justin realized what exactly what was going on.
Rowley proceeded to lecture just like he normally did, but with one adjustment – location.
Rowley said that he has brought a class to a student’s dorm room more than once, but only to students who can take a joke. Whether or not an excuse is given, Rowley said he encourages students to come to class.
Or he just might bring the class to them.