Swotting up on homework excuses

IT is an age-old battle of the generations which pits maturity and authority against youth and adolescent inventive minds.

Nearly all of us have joined in the fray at one time or another. It was many years ago when I was involved but the memory lingers on.

Back in those days, I never used the excuse of “my dog ate it” to explain the non-appearance of school homework but I did try the classic losing papers somewhere between home and the school gates, and having my efforts blotting out by knocking over a bottle of ink (yes, it was in the days of fountain pens).

Another popular reason for not producing the work requested was that I had not understood what was being asked of me. That did not wash, of course, and I still had to do it after a stern word from the teacher.

Looking back, perhaps the excuses were predictable and Sir or Miss discounted them with a weary air.


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Now campaign plans have changed. I learn that tech-savvy schoolchildren are coming up with more extravagant excuses for failing to get their homework in on time.

Three-quarters of teachers quizzed in a survey said they are now hearing more obscure and tech-laden reasons, even though the same technology can now protect all of a student’s work.

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Eight in 10 teachers think children regularly attempt to pull the wool over their eyes by blaming modern gadgets that the pupils believe older staff members will have failed to master. The trouble with that is that the older teachers can always ask the advice of their younger colleagues who do know their way round a computer system.

Even so, the scholars are still coming up with “I finished my homework but deleted it by accident”, “the internet was down” or “my computer crashed and I lost it”.

Sadly for some, computers can go disastrously wrong and their excuse may be a valid one but they are not believed.

Still harking back to my boyhood days, I was a big fan of cartoons. One of my favourites was Popeye the sailor man who has been around since the 1930s. His ability to gain super strength instantly by eating a can of spinach was impressive, and it still is.

Scientific research has discovered that children aged four and five who regularly watched Popeye downing spinach ate twice as many vegetables as their contemporaries who did not follow the exploits of the character.

I hate vegetables. Thank goodness that in my formative years I also watched Desperate Dan and much admired his ability to down huge cow pies.

Before leaving you this week, I would like to ask, when is your weekly washday? The thought crossed my mind as I perused details of the latest Herts Chief Constable’s Annual Awards.

I read that nominated for Team of the Year was the Stevenage Monday Laundering Unit. I think that should be money.

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