“Student Excuses”



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.

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.” 

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

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

Try More Free Listening at