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“Student Excuses: I Didn’t Do my homework”



Pre-Listening Question

What are some good and poor excuses that students come up with for missing school (for example, “My dog ate my homework.”)

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

legitimate (adjective): appropriate, sensible, or fair
– The student had a legitimate reason for being late for class. In this case, the bus he was riding was in an accident.

stay on top of (verb phrase): stay or remain in control of
– It is sometimes difficult to stay on top of your homework when taking many classes.

interfere (verb): prevent something from happening, get in the way of
– Poor study habits can interfere with progress in the classroom.

have access to (verb phrase): to be able to use
– Students have access to free Wi-Fi throughout campus.

empathetic (adjective): having the ability to understand how others feel
– The teacher is really empathetic toward her students because she has had similar life experiences.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Aubrey, let’s talk about great excuses and terrible excuses that you could give a teacher for not doing your homework. What would they be?

Aubrey: Yeah, like I was a student until recently. So I’ve definitely, you know, had my share of excuses. Right? You know, you’ve got terrible excuses, like where you tell them that you were sick. And then on social media, you posted that you were at a party, which is just silly because it’s easy to find out that that’s what happened. There’s the old my dog ate my homework excuse, which my dog ate my homework one time and I brought in what I was able to salvage of my homework. And the teacher thought it was hilarious ’cause the dog ate the right half of my homework and I taped the left half together and was like, this is all I have. I’m so sorry.

Randall: You were able to salvage at least part of it.

Aubrey: At least part of it. You can’t see any of the answers on the worksheet ’cause you only get a few of the words. But yes.

Randall: And what about good excuses? You have a particular excuse you give to the teacher and you’re hoping they will understand your particular circumstances.

Aubrey: Yeah. So, I mean, good ones would be like, you know, you got in a car accident, you had, you know, some kind of personal crisis. Um, maybe you had you ended up having to get called into work. Um, you know, it really depends on the circumstances.

Randall: Well, good. Well, thank you for sharing that. I think those are good things to keep in mind.

Conversation Questions


Imagine you are a teacher. How do you respond to each of these statements by a student:

  1. “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t complete my homework because I had a soccer game yesterday.”
  2. “Mr. Smith. My roommate borrowed my homework and never gave it back to me. For that reason, I don’t have it today.”
  3. “I couldn’t come to school yesterday because I was hit by a car as I was riding my bike to school.” 

  1. Discuss the consequences of giving a terrible excuse for not completing homework.
  2. Why do you think Aubrey mentioned personal crises as potential good excuses?


  1. Analyze the ethical implications of giving false excuses to teachers for not doing homework.
  2. Discuss the role of communication and honesty in building a positive teacher-student relationship when it comes to missed assignments.
  3. Reflect on alternative solutions or strategies that students can employ when faced with challenges that prevent them from completing their homework.

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with other examples of excuses for personal choices.

ChatGPT was used collaboratively to prepare some of the discussion questions for this lesson.
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