5 Classic Excuses for No Homework

Teaching may have changed massively over the decades, but one thing remains a constant: poor excuses for lack of homework. Here are some of the classics that have stood the test of time… and will no doubt be used for many years to come.

“The printer wasn’t working.”


In the days before technology was widely available, this was probably just a pen. But the principle remains the same: I wanted to do it, miss, but the equipment let me down. It really is remarkable how equipment always fails the night before homework is due in.

“I didn’t know it was due in today.”


This one is often solved by a quick request to see the offending student’s planner, where the due date can usually be found in stark black-and-white. If they’re more of a free spirit, though, the homework may not have actually made it into the planner at all. This then prompts a whole new rage-inciting exchange.

“I was away when it was set.”


This is usually accompanied by a sad face. The subtext is clear: how could you possibly expect me to adhere to normal school rules when I’ve just been ill? Have you no pity? No humanity? No. No, I haven’t.

“I’ve got a note.”


This is one that’s guaranteed to get the blood boiling. The note is usually from a parent, explaining why is totally unjust to expect little Johnny/Josephine to present their homework at the same time as everyone else. Reasons can range from family emergencies and pets dying, to rants about the suitability of the homework at all. This excuse is usually offered up accompanied by a smug face.

“The dog ate my homework.”

guilty dog.gif

Considering this has now passed into the realms of pastiche, it is amazing how often it gets offered up as an actual, genuine excuse. I have heard it several times during the course of my teaching career. I can only conclude that dogs have a hitherto unacknowledged passion for spelling, punctuation and grammar worksheets.

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