I have been an elementary school teacher for more than fifteen years. In all that time, I have been through my share of crazy experiences. Kids really do say the darnedest things. Fake doctor’s excuses are an old trick. With the advent of the internet it’s easier than ever to download a template, personalize it, and print out a doctor’s release form. As an educator, I felt it was my duty to stay one step ahead of the would-be cheaters; so, once in a while, I would do a search for doctor’s excuse letter templates so I’d be familiar with the forgeries. One of my favorites involved a student named Zeke.
“Ms. Norman” he began, confidently leaning against my desk. “I went to the doctor yesterday.”
“Oh?” My eyebrows raised. Zeke was well known for his eloquence while attempting to wiggle out of a dilemma. “Are you alright?”
“Uh-huh” he fingered the red pens in my pencil holder before continuing. “The doctor told me to give you this letter.” He shoved a crinkled piece of paper into my hand then slowly backed away.
I smiled. What hijinks was Zeke up to this time?
“Dear Ms. Norman Please don’t let Zeke Whitney do his essay homework. He’s very sick. His mom is really worried. I am really worried to. I do not want him to stres himself by all that homework.
Sincerely, Docter Rick”
I smiled in spite of myself and quickly developed a plan. Without a word, I began class and collected everyone else’s essay papers. Zeke, of course, turned in nothing. The next day, as I was handing back everyone’s graded essay, I put a piece of paper on Zeke’s desk. He looked surprised and quickly turned it over.
Since you did not turn in your homework yesterday I am forced to count the doctor’s excuse as your essay.” I had outlined his many errors: his lack of a comma after ‘Dear Ms. Norman’ his misuse of ‘to’ and his misspelling of the words ‘stress’ and ‘doctor’
“I’m afraid, Mr. Whitney,” I wrote “That I am going to have to award you with a D-. Next time you decide to abuse the internet, at least steal a template with proper grammar. As the doctor of your education, I have a prescription for your health. First, you’ll go without recess for two weeks. I can’t have a deathly ill student getting even sicker by playing outside. Second, just do your homework next time. I can guarantee that if you do what your ‘doctor’ says that you’ll have a much better class experience with me this year. Get well soon!
Love, Ms. Norman “