Teacher Quality

A Brief Follow-up on Showing Up

A Brief Follow-up on Showing Up

I’d like to offer a few quick follow-up points on my last post about absenteeism in the profession.

The day after I posted the blog entry I was approached by several colleagues who inquired about the identity of “Ms. X”. I declined to identify who X was (for obvious professional reasons), but noted to myself that nearly half a dozen names were tossed my way as possible candidates. That’s telling.

There were also a couple of comments on that post: one came from a co-worker at my old school and one from one of the most thoughtful teachers I know, James Boutin. He said:

“I'd like more information about it. What states, districts, or schools does it happen most often in? Or do we see it pretty consistent across districts? Why are those chronic offenders chronic offenders?”

I don’t have all the data he wished for, but I was able, with some help, to locate some data on Puget Sound District’s Educator Equity Profile.

A Lesson from my Students on Teacher Absenteeism

A Lesson from my Students on Teacher Absenteeism

This afternoon I sat down with a student for some “real talk” about their attendance. If you’ve been in the profession for awhile--especially if you work in a high-poverty school--you know the talk:

Once the class gets working after your initial directions, you take the student out in the hall, they’re avoiding eye contact, you’re trying to figure out the best route to take.... “I know your life is very complicated. It’s more complicated than mine was when I was your age. Heck, it’s more complicated than mine is now… I really enjoy having you in class and watching you learn and grow. The class is a better place when you are here…. I want you to graduate on time and be successful in life. I have concerns that given your attendance… you’re setting yourself up for failure down the road.” In an advanced case or one where I have a good relationship with the student I might say something like “I love you, but given your attendance, you’re basically unemployable in the future. I want you to have a better life--you need to pull it together.”