Is chemistry boring? Just fake a cough and you’ll be shooed to the nurse room. Haven’t done your math homework? Relax. Fake a cough and a headache and you’ll get to spend the next three periods hanging out with like-minded friends in the sickroom.
Swine flu and the panic around it is every lazy student’s dream. The virus makes you ill, but not very, and best of all, allows you to hold adults at ransom even if you have no signs of an illness.
If you are bad at faking cough, just sit in class with a hang-dog expression and you’ll be packed off to the nurse, or better still, home to your WII or Playstation 3 with lots of love and advice to stay there till you feel like coming back. Which, most children hope, is never.
What more can any child ask for, except perhaps someone in their class getting the flu so that the rest of them get a week off. The fact that parents and teachers are frenetic with worry is, informed a young student yesterday, collateral damage. “You win some, you lose some, and this is one the adults will lose. I got away with no Hindi for all of this week,” he smirked.
Swine flu now tops the list of excuses for not doing homework. An innovative 11-year-old told her teacher: “I planned to do it but television channels announced that our school was closed because of some children had swine flu. I went with my mother to get tested.” She had to be excused, said the teacher, because there was no way of tracking who is saying what about swine flu.
Like her, most teachers are no longer used to dealing with old-fashioned excuses as it’s been a while since children stopped faking headaches, electricity outages and ailing grandparents for homework not done.
With teachers being not as tech-savvy as students, technology has been bearing the brunt of the blame over the past few years. “The computer crashed when I pressed save (it never crashes before all the work is done), the thumb-drive got corrupted, the printer didn’t work, the internet connection was very slow so I could not do any research, my mum accidentally deleted my homework” top the chart excuses.
And just when many teachers have wisened up to technology and started catching out the lies, the swine flu virus arrived to save the day for students. “We realise that children are taking advantage, but we cannot risk their health. Anyway, fever and headache is far more plausible than the last excuse I heard, about this boy’s father spilling coffee on the notebook and the mum burning it while trying to dry it off over the gas-stove,” said a teacher.