Friday, February 08, 2013

What Can I Do?

I got one of those emails today from a student who's missed classes, shown up late without the assignments that were due, and so on.  The other day, zie showed up late, without the homework, and then instead of doing the work the rest of us were doing, sat and did the homework.  (Except, of course, the homework must be typed, because it's homework, and not "sit in class and do this" work.)

Fortunately, it's still pretty early in the semester, so there's plenty zie can do.

It starts with doing the work, and doing it with real attention.  And coming to class, being prepared for quizzes and such.  Here's hoping this student turns things around.

This class is a little weird.  Usually, I don't have problems with students not attending.  I don't grade attendance, but most students realize quickly that being in class is really important and helpful.  But this semester in this class, there are four students whose attendance is iffy at best.  A couple have missed three out of the five quizzes so far. 

I even went so far as to do a handout so that each would have information about how many journals zie as done, how many quizzes, so that they have an opportunity to realize that they've missed stuff.  (I want them to all have the opportunity to realize where they are without lecturing everyone.  Most of the students are doing their work, and they certainly don't need a lecture.  But it doesn't hurt them to get a note saying that they've done five of five journals so far, with a little smiley face.)

But then, of course, several students missed the day when I handed back the notes, and now they've missed two more quiz grades.  OOPS!


  1. I'm having the same problem in two classes: lots of absenteeism, no attempt to pick up handouts or seek help. Today I commented on the high absentee rate in one class and a student said, "It's Friday." Well, that explains everything! Unless it doesn't.

  2. Isn't this why the Flying Spaghetti Monster invented failing grades?

  3. One thing I do like about course management systems is the way they serve as a big filing cabinet in the sky (atlhough students still ask where things are....). I use the gradebook in BlackBoard the same way you do your handout--showing what's missed.

    I know you're writing a post about a frustration, but I'm so impressed by how clearly you communicate to students what they have to do and why, and where they stand. I hope they step up for you--FSM knows you've created a course with an eye on helping them succeed!