Friday, January 22, 2010

A Modest Agreement on Attendance

Study Hall Teacher
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
I wrote the following over the Christmas break following the completion of another semester where students disappeared around midterm and miraculously reappeared as finals were upon us.

I agree the only excused absence shall be defined as a communication to the instructor of this class from another NWC official requesting so. If an absence is classified as excused, assignments may or may not be postponed according to the instructor’s judgment. However, any quizzes, in-class assignments or exams can be made up without penalty. It will be my responsibility to make such arrangements with the instructor. This is all that an excused absence covers. The instructor is under no obligation to repeat the information from classes missed. I take full responsibility for recovering all material and assignments from a class where I was not attending (whether excused or not).

If I am sick (complete with doctor’s note), if my transportation fails me, if there is a death or serious illness in my family, it is not excused. Whether I am to blame for missing class or someone else (including an act of God), I take full responsibility for what I have missed. As a result, I will do my best to take care of myself by getting sufficient rest, nutrition and exercise to at least control those things I have some control over. If I miss a quiz, in-class assignment or exam as the result of an unexcused absence, I accept the “no credit” grade that will likely result.

I will make an honest effort to acquaint myself with fellow classmates. As a result, we can assist one another when one of us is unable to attend via sharing notes or information about the class and provide assistance in the comprehension of the course materials and subject matter to one another.

I understand there is no “extra credit” to make up assignments I have not completed. Missed assignments are “credit,” so why would the instructor/should the instructor give me a chance to earn extra credit when I haven’t completed the regular credit?

Failure to sign this will result in an incomplete grade for this class.


Anonymous said...

The people in this country who scream the loudest about how great America is are the same ones who disparage intellectuals, educational matters and other countries whose students leave ours in the dust when it comes to reading, writing, and mathematics. They just want to live a simplistic life where they don't have to think about ideas and complex concerns and just leave it all up to "God". And the moment another country gets in the way of our comfort, we have the right to just blow them up in the name of "God and Country" and "Freedom". This simplistic mind-set is what is going to be the downfall of the U.S.A.

Sad But True....

Anonymous said...

Its been my experience when i was in a college class that if the material was interesting, taught well, the instructor was teaching and not bringing a negative vibe to the class then I went.

Have you looked in the mirror lateley, especially with everything written on this blog. If you come across to your students as you do to the public, no wonder they dont come to class.

Morgan said...


Yes, it always crosses my mind that I could be the problem—especially if I were to hear about how other instructors on campus spoke positively of their students' attendance. That hasn't been the case. So, perhaps we're all terrible instructors. After all, NWC is only a podunk junior college in the middle of nowhere. How good could the instructors here really be?

My student evaluations don't reflect your theory, but than again, that information comes from students who ARE attending.

There's probably no real single element to blame... don't you think (despite what I write about here)? It could be me, it could be the lousy, cold weather.

Nevertheless, I think the work ethic (or lack of) is a huge factor. Even compared to you... I always went to class even if I didn't find the material very interesting, even if the instructor didn't have a very good delivery system and even if the instructor was negative (my accounting professor for sure). I stuck it out and in the end, it might not have been a pleasant experience, but I still learned quite a bit. I always equated it to running a marathon... Not much fun while it's happening, but something to look back on and be proud about.

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience that once faculty reach tenure they can fall off in their abilities. Not saying this is the case here, but sometimes a good evaluation by others is needed to make sure we as faculty are really doing the best we can and havent become complacent.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the poor student who has to experience a negative vibe. Negative vibes or uninteresting subject matter or sub-par teaching as reasons for shoddy attendance are not only childish, they are rationalizations for immaturity and inflated self worth. Not every teacher can be liked by all students and vice versa. However, one of the most important things a student can learn is the professionalism required to do well at something they don't find that interesting. In other words, quit whining, attend class, take some responsibility for learning and realize everything is not about you. The student who only attends class regularly when he likes the subject matter and teacher will often make a poor employee.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes because if you hate your job or your boss, are you actually a good employee... Most move on to another job like i am sure you have at one point in time...