Every registration in a morning is the same process: register students, check uniform, check stationery, give announcements, ask individuals to stay behind if they’ve got it wrong. I like to speak to them individually as it’s impossible to predict whether something bad has happened outside school, so it provides students to opportunity to talk without their peers being present. I like my tutor group and I have a good relationship with them so I find that we can talk to each other easily, but I do often have the same conversations and say the same things every single day to students:
“Why are you late?”
“Why don’t you have a pen?”
“Where’s your tie?”
“Why did you get a detention for…”
I’m also frustrated at hearing the same excuses every day:
“I woke up late”
“I forgot my PE kit so I had to go home and get it”
“I went to the toilet”
“I lost my bag”
The excuses are never original, the only difference being that it is a different child daily that gives them and after hearing them repeatedly for years I feel like I should be in the ‘Groundhog Day.’ These conversations are always followed by sanctions and phone calls home.
However, occasionally something will snap me awake and make me smile:
A few weeks before ago one of my tutor group was late. She’s twelve and I had seen her walking into school about thirty minutes before school started, so I already knew that her lateness was caused by her messing around on the yard with her friends. I decided to take a different approach with her. This was how the conversation genuinely went:
Me: Why are you late?
Child: (Thought for a bit) I had to take my little sister to school.
Me: Oh, I didn’t know you had a little sister. How old is she?
Me: What school is she at?
Child: (named a school that is miles away).
Me: So if I were to go and ring your mother now she’d back you up?
Child: No, I’ve just remembered, I didn’t take my sister to school.
Me: Why did you tell me you did?
Child: I had a dream that I took my sister to school. I was confused.
Me: So you’re late because you had a dream you took your sister to school?
Child: Yes, I mean, no.
Me: So why were you late?
Child: I was on the yard and didn’t hear the whistle.
Me: Why didn’t you say that in the first place?
Child: (shrugs shoulders) dunno.
Most original and yet pointless excuse ever. Perhaps I should have showed her this quote:
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ― George Washington
What about you guys? What’s the best lie you’ve ever been told by a child?
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