student voice

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.”