Magazine article Techniques

Tabulating the Tardies

Magazine article Techniques

Tabulating the Tardies

Article excerpt

You know that class attendance really matters. Here's how one teacher makes sure his students understand, too.

One of the most predictable battles I fight every year revolves around attendance, particularly the issue of being in class on time. I've also found that the students most susceptible to tardiness are those who believe that school is a waiting area until they can find full-time work or who know what vocation they wish to pursue and consider other disciplines a waste of time. I once complained about all of the tardies some students were accumulating in my classes to a colleague who had experience as an administrator. I wasn't sure how to manage them, though I was convinced these students should be held accountable. In response, he explained how, during his time as a vice principal, a local businessman who said he was having problems with workers arriving late and calling in sick asked to look at the high school attendance records for some of his current employees. After checking the attendance records, he found that-down to the person-the students who had problems attending class were now the adults having problems attending work. He fired those employees and began consulting school attendance histories before hiring new workers.

Because a significant number of students in my state go directly to vocational training, I found this trend alarming. I felt that attention to their attendance was being underestimated in preparing students for the working world. So, convinced of the importance of punctuality, I instituted a strict tardy policy. Each student is given three "free" tardies a semester. After these are used (squandered quickly in a few cases), the student loses a point off his or her final average for each subsequent tardy. Unless the student has a pass accounting for his or her lateness, the tardy is recorded. …

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