“I'm not yawning. I'm stretching my cheeks.” The Top 50 Excuses Heard by Teachers

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Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Kristen Kerwin

“I'm not yawning. I'm stretching my cheeks.” The Top 50 Excuses Heard by Teachers

Every year, Roger Cantello, English Teacher and Dean of Faculty at Avon Old Farms, the best New England boarding school for boys, compiles a list of excuses he has heard from his students. Many times the student has a valid reason to abdicate blame; yet, occasionally his apology is downright comical. Yes, integrity is a core value at the CT boarding school—and yes, students are guided to discover the heart of the issue at hand. However, our tenets don’t stop us from extracting a bit of amusement from the student's creative justification.

World Famous Excuses

After 20 years of harvesting some low-hanging excuses, Roger has quite the storehouse of eyebrow-raising one-liners. We’ve compiled the top 50 from the last two years:

  1. “I wrote a whole essay about it -- I just can’t remember.”

  2. “I wasn’t technically at the school.’’

  3. “I’m at 4%.”

  4. “My brain had, like, an ‘owiee’ yesterday.”

  5. “I did proofread it, but it’s one of those things you skip over.”

  6. “I looked at them, but I couldn’t recall what they all said.”

  7. “My Mom had a late start. She’s going to say it was me.”

  8. “Eight pages doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is when the words are so small.”

  9. “I accidentally just clicked off the page.”

  10. “I didn’t think it was this late.”

  11. “I spilled stuff on me at lunch.”

  12. “I speak France a little.”

  13. “It’s in my routine to forget.”

  14. “I am a minor annoyance at most.”

  15. “I’m feeling loopy after giving blood.”

  16. “My alarm didn’t go off. It was set to PM.”

  17. “I was just looking at how long the bus ride is (to a lax game) to see if I can read the stories.”

  18. “Google Drive doesn’t do punctuation for you.”

  19. “I made my writing smaller so you couldn’t see the spelling errors.”

  20. “I didn't sleep through it. I didn't wake up.”

  21. “I'm underlining it now, but I'm going to read it during my free period.”

  22. “Rushed writing is more bad.”

  23. “I need more time to procrastinate.”

  24. “My problem is that it was too specific.”

  25. “My eyes were open. Which question?”

  26. “I was reading two books at once.”

  27. “I'm not yawning. I'm stretching my cheeks.”

  28. “I remember you told us, but I don't remember what you said. I'm serious.”

  29. “I'm not a good tech guy.”

  30. “Things got moved around in my backpack.”

  31. “I couldn't find my socks.”

  32. “That’s Mr. Custer’s alarm from the mindful minute.”

  33. “It’s a long chapter.”

  34. “I didn’t raise my hand.”

  35. “This is what Google Docs gave me.”

  36. “It was the default.”

  37. “I’m low-key late but not really late.”

  38. “I almost looked it up.”

  39. “I was planning to.”

  40. “I thought you said, ‘Off you go!’”

  41. “It was sunny that day.”

  42. “I thought you said class was over -- it seemed like the time of day to do that.”

  43. “I have a horrible habit -- I left my book in my room.”

  44. “There’s, like, a highlighter thief.”

  45. “I’m more alive in here.”

  46. “I was thinking of Percy Jackson.”

  47. “I have brain damage from last period.”

  48. “I was going to listen to the audiobook but I couldn’t find it.”

  49. “I’m telling you -- it’s this wig!”

  50. “I don’t even know to be honest.”

Key Takeaway

Lead by our top-notch teachers and administration, the academic program at Avon Old Farms is diverse and rigorous: students matriculate to world-class—and in many cases Ivy League— colleges. As we send these young men off to the world beyond our village, it’s our hope they also take with them Shakespeare’s notion that “oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.”



Kristen Kerwin

Kristen Kerwin

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

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Roger Cantello

Roger Cantello

Dean of Faculty, English Teacher

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