a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Monday, March 15, 2010

Early Retirement

“She’s not going to be here until later because she forgot her makeup in her dad’s car.”

This is the explanation given when I inquire as to whether or not anyone has seen one of my 8th grade girls, before I mark her absent only to have to change it to a tardy moments later, as is usually the case with this particular girl.

Hmm. Lack of makeup. Is that an excused absence?

“I got early dismissal. My sister’s picking me up because it’s my birthday.”

This is the explanation given when I inquire as to why one of my 8th grade girls is walking the opposite direction of the lunchroom at lunchtime.

Hmm. Early dismissal on your birthday. Is that an excused absence?

If these are acceptable excuses, I am excited about the world of excuses this opens up for me. Bad hair days join the rank of ‘sick days’. Not to mention the I-don’t-have-anything-to-wear-days. Since I just got some new clothes, I will be racking those up and hoping to pool them so I can retire early.


  1. OMG! That's totally not an excused absence! I would have been a little sore if I heard that (and I used to work in the cosmetics industry before I became a teacher) out of a student's mouth.

  2. I'm new to your blog, so let me say how much I love the "skin" of books. And better yet--OLD books. Terrific.

    This is one reason why I headed to college. I give my students four absences--no questions asked--then I drop their grade for more. Gone for more than half the period? That's an absence. I like your use of direct dialogue to move this post along--can I borrow you for a day or two to come and be a guest speaker in my classroom?


  3. I say birthday yes, make-up no... but that's just me.

    Your post definitely alludes to the arbitrariness of authority. Like everything else, I think we need to make our rules relevant for the kids.