This post will be placed under the Philosophy page under the Educational Philosophy page. It is a post that deals with the dog ate my homework problem in schools.
I have noticed that everyone has excuses for everything that goes wrong! My grandmother was full of wisdom and one thing (among many) that she always says is Excuses are like armpits! Everyone has them and they all stink!
I believe that the reason for offering an excuse is to justify something that has went wrong! When you are late to work, you know you may get in trouble so you develop what you believe to be an excuse! My car wouldn't crank, or there was a lot of traffic, or I had a flat tire!
Your students are guilty of it! My dog ate my homework, I have been really stressed out lately, or whatever the excuse is!
Everyone is guilty of it!
Here is the problem, 95% of us believe that offering an excuse makes the problem okay, or less bad. When we do this we are deflecting the accountability away from our selves.
We are in essence saying "do not hold me accountable for what I have done wrong because .... (you fill in the blank with your own excuse)."
I firmly believe that there are no excuses out there! You are responsible for you!!!! Your students are responsible for themselves!!!
When mistakes happen, there are (often times) reasons for those mistakes. Mistakes are okay as long as you can learn from them.
If you are deflecting the accountability by offering excuses, that is not productive and you will most likely not learn from it. You are asking for a pass on what went wrong.
Embrace the mistake. Admit there is no excuse and I will accept the consequences of what went wrong.
Now, that I have said my peace on the pathetic attempts of excuses, lets discuss reasons. Reasons are why things go wrong.
It is okay to have a reason, because that provides understanding which can help to prevent it from happening again. That is productive!
The next time you have to answer to what went wrong start with, "I know there is no excuse but, here is why it happened and if we understand that then hopefully it will not happen again"
In saying this you admit that something did go wrong and you are taking the blame an/or consequence of what went wrong, and in addition to being accountable you are offering a productive solution to the problem!
Use this in the classroom!'
Your students will come up with excuses, so teach them throughout the year that there are no excuses. Then if it is a problem that they got wrong on a test, their first reaction will be to understand the reason, and not come up with an excuse!
At that time you will create a teachable moment! Teach them to be learners! Teach them to find reason, not offer excuses!
An effective method of teaching is by example! Do not offer your students, parents, administrators excuses, offer them understanding of the problem with workable solutions! Offer them accountability!