I have no idea why students keep sending me emails explaining why they can't come to class. I don't really care what the reason is. An absence is an absence. I never refuse to accept any written assignment that is being handed in late, though. My position is: make up your mind, show up, don't show up, live with the consequences, it's all up to you. We are not in high school, and I have no need to know why any particular student couldn't drag himself to class. I keep explaining to students that the best thing they can do to get me into a good, positive, friendly mood is avoid wasting my time. I'm always available to talk about the course material. However, I seethe with anger when I'm forced to go over inane explanations of students' car trouble that prevented them from showing up.
Still, students keep sending in excuses. These excuses have a strange tendency to multiply right before spring break or on days when essays are due. I don't want to be cynical here, mind you. It is more than possible that relatives fall sick in droves, cars break down massively and alarm clocks fail by the thousand on the day before spring break. Who am I to say it can't happen?
There is just one question I have. Why is everybody's sickly relative who develops serious health issues on the day of the midterm always a grandmother? In the past three weeks I had three grandmas sick and one dead in my classes. Not a single grandpa, aunt, uncle, etc., though. It's not like I wish any harm upon these relatives, of course. I'm just wondering why grandmothers always fall sick according to such a convenient schedule.