In case you were curious, teaching English Comp I and II in a community college does occasionally generate a sense of fulfillment. It’s nice, when the alarm goes off in the morning, to have something to look forward to other than delivering greasy, chicken fried steak (with extra gravy and a side of ranch dressing for the fried okra) to already overweight people. I mean, if my days must necessarily involve ironic cruelty, I’d much rather deliver homework assignments to kids who are already over extended being full time students, employees and, more often than not, single parents. In all seriousness though, I love teaching. The all too short walk across campus from the parking lot to the English department is one of the most enjoyable moments of my day. Watching my usually half-asleep 8am class grow engaged and energetic over a reading discussion invigorates me. I love getting (positive) feedback about particular lectures. One female student this semester claimed that my lecture on inclusive language was the most meaningful she had ever heard in an English class. Even the dreaded process of grading papers has its moments. (What great material for story-telling!) I think I could be happy doing this for a very long time.

In addition to all these, I believe I’ve discovered a new joy of teaching: the student excuse. If students were half as creative in their essays as they are in their excuse making, my job would be infinitely easier. Here are some of my email favorites from the past 4 semesters. Poor grammar/spelling/punctuation/logic have been preserved for humor’s sake:

My son’s open house is tonight at 6pm. I won’t be in class.

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I wont be attending class Tomorrow. I have an appointment. If I can turn my work next class that will be great. Also I know my assignment waskinda lame.. I’ve wrote better papers. It is just that I guess nothing good would pop in my mind that early.”

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I am letting you know that my heartburn is acting up in a baaaad way and i am not going to be able to make it tonight,”

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“I am very sorry for not being in class tuesday I fell in a ditch over the weekend and shatered my knee cap but I figured you wanted the esssay so here it is.”

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hi Mr. Brunet; i am a student in your 8am friday class. i havnt made it to class because i had not payed for my class yet. i had typed in the wrong credit card acount number and now i have gottin that cleared up with the bursar office.”

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Hello, I will like to apologize for missing class on Thursday, I know that it was important to be there. I had been feeling bad since the beginning of this week, I don’t know if you notice it in class. I got up to get ready for school was not reelly feeling any better. I spoke to my doctor and he instuctucted me to to take tylenol cold and flu and to notify him if I have a fever. I did not ever run a fever, but I did decide to get back into my bed.”

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MS. BRUNET – I’VE OVER SLEPT ….MY PEER REVIEW I]M COMING NOW….DAMN!”

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Mr. Brunet i have read the course syllabus, assignment overview, and the essay 1 instructions. I am going to work some more on it instead of coming to class today, i dont have it ready for peer editing. Could i come in sometime to have a minute of your time to glance at it for peer editing purposes?”

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My ride to school “had a flat tire” and i couldnt make it to class im really sorry.

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“im srry im so slow i didnt understand u rite. my cuzin had to tell me tha rite way to do this so all my papers will be comin soon nd once agin im so srry.”

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ur X Qsd

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