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Addressing Tardiness and Attendance

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Keep in mind that you cannot lower a student’s grades for chronic tardiness or absences; you also cannot include “participation” as part of your grading criteria.  However, there are some productive ways that you can manage these sort of problems in the classroom:

  • One of the best ways to generate respectful and professional behavior in your students is to model such respect: show up to class on time and prepared, use class time efficiently, and dismiss class on time.
  • From the very first day of class, stress the PWR policies on attendance, promptness, and leaving early.  Include these policies in your syllabus.  Make it clear that students should inform you in advance of any unavoidable absence.
  • If students miss two or more classes, remind them of the Program policy and alert them to the serious consequences of missing class.  Tell them that if they miss more classes, they may need to meet with the Associate Director and that their standing in the class may be at risk.  Keep in mind that you cannot lower their grades for the absences, though their participation grade will clearly be impacted by missed classes. 
  • Consider regularly opening your class (promptly!) with a brief writing assignment that may not be made up.
  • To discourage early departures, some instructors save important classroom activities for the last minutes of class or accept and return student work at the very end of class.
  • Remember: even students with chronic absences and tardiness problems deserve to be treated with respect.  Sometimes there are very personal and complicated reasons for this behavior pattern.   Avoid public confrontations in front of the class in dealing with this issue