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5/17/2006

Playing Hookie (Hooky)

I would be lying if I said that I never cut class. In fact, before I realized the impact attendance had on my test scores, I skipped here and there. That was mainly my first year of college, and I was young and immature.

It's amazing to see though, as an educator, how quickly a student can fall behind when they miss even 1 day of school. Of course it sometimes depends on the student, but the majority do fall behind, and it has a domino effect on the grade for the whole unit, or quarter, quite often.

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My advice... only miss when you're sick...simple enough. Or, only let your children miss when they're truly sick. We also don't want germs being spread, and a cycle of illnesses beginning.

Two years ago we had one of those massive flu epidemics in my school. It started with a few, and was shared to almost the entire school. We wound up having a full week off because we tried to have session on Wednesday, but didn't have enough attendance for it to count. I luckily managed to get the bug on Friday (enter sarcasm).

Every year I see pretty much the same thing though. There are usually 2-3 students in each grade that have very poor attendance. I'm talking missing 15-20 percent of the days. I often wonder what exactly is going on at home? If there are lengthy illnesses, I can accept that, and wish them well. If they miss too much, I personally call the truancy officer, because I see how much they miss after just one day. It's mind-boggling!

And it's not like we don't have an attendance policy, but as long as an absence is excused, they're fine. If the parents are willing to let them miss 50 days a year, then they probably will miss. You'd think it'd catch up with them eventually, and it usually does in one form or another.

I guess all-in-all this is more of a common sense post. Most of you know that it's important to get to school, otherwise you aren't learning. I'm hoping that some of those children that miss though aren't the ones with the parents who hated school or who have a negative attitude about it. They aren't solving any problems that way.

23 Comments:

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Dree said...

I had a girl in my class this past year (lovingly referred to as Frequent Absentee Girl) who missed a grand total of 37 days (out of 180). It was ridiculous. She missed so much more than work... she missed socialization, she missed routines, she missed those little everyday experiences that just come up in the classroom. Rumor has it that she's not coming back next year.

 
At 12:50 PM, Blogger LT said...

I have this problem even teaching college. Kids think that the rules for secondary schools apply (up to 9 missed days a semester etc.) when the syllabus doesn't say that. Of course, try getting them to read the syllabus.

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At 3:21 PM, Blogger Just Wandering said...

Why are parents so stupid to not ensure their kids get to school everyday. I also skipped classes in college in my young and immature days but now in grad school I have realized my serious folly.

School is not just about the grades, it's about learning and if you're not in class, you may be able to maintain the grades but you'll learn very little.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger GuusjeM said...

Your district has no limits as to how many "Excused" absences a student can have? We do - I think it's 20 per semester (I could be be wrong on that number). More than that and the child can be held back. We have a great many Friday/ Monday absences that seem to be related to custody issues.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Tachizuno said...

Some cases fall under special circumstances. I believe it's 10 absences per semester unexcused

 
At 9:11 AM, Blogger Kirsten said...

In my experience (I am a primary school teacher in a public school in Australia), a lot of the children who are frequently absent have their parents to blame for this. Some of the excuses I have heard include

"Mum needed me to help look after the kids" (this was from a 9 year old girl whose mother ran a home day care service. The girl in question could not read or even spell her own name. - this was when I was a prac student).

"Mum was really tired and didn't want to take us to school"

"Mummy was asleep in the bathtub and we couldn't wake her up"

Very, very sad but true.

 
At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

I always saved up for my annual mental health days. You are absolutely right about the slippery slope of absence.

I run Saturday Academy for my school--basically, I keep the kids shut up for 5.5 hours so they are not failed by the NC law saying they can have no more than 10 absences per year. They can make up a day if they sit there quietly and make up some work teachers hopefully remember to send them. And they abuse the system and count on it to get them by...I often wonder if it's worth it.

 
At 1:35 AM, Blogger Wally Banners said...

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At 8:44 PM, Blogger jessada said...

My students have asked me if I'd ever cut class. I have no problem telling them the truth. Of course I cut class -- but I knew it was wrong and my parents made sure I suffered the consequences. What bugs me are the students with parents who seem to "aid and abet" the class cutting process. -- Jessada.

 
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