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MrsFrazzled 10-29-2019 05:39 PM

Chronic Absences
Iím needing advice on how to handle chronic absences. I teach honors physics which is fast paced and very math based. Recently, there has been several that have missed 4 or 5 days. Some of those have been in a row or they miss 2 and then are at school for 1 or 2 days and then out again.

I hate the dreaded ďwhat did I missĒ question. I canít stop class and explain a weekís worth of physics to them. I usually give them any handouts and tell them to copy the notes from someone in the class. I also tell them if they need any help to ask me but they rarely do.

If they donít come to me for help, how am I supposed to help them understand what they missed? Then, they want to complain about not understanding the work that must be turned in for a grade. So any advice on how to handle this?

Do you tell them you can come for tutoring before or after school? And if they donít show, what do you do? I know that ultimately it is their responsibility but of course, parents donít always see it that way.

tctrojan 10-29-2019 09:10 PM

You would be very generous to offer this. If you have a web page post it on there the days you will be offering this option. I would try to be consistent, for example, every Wednesday morning at 7:30. If parents question you you can respond with the fact this is when they are able to get extra help. You should not care more about their grade than they do.

Jdocpony 11-05-2019 06:58 AM

Chronic Absences
So I have a set of folders in my class where students may pick up missed work. They have to "Ask three, then me" they need to ask three fellow students about what they missed and then they can come to me. The students need to sign the bottom of the page to say they "helped" If the student comes to me with 3 signatures all four of them need to come to me to see what they were supposed to know. This has cut way back on the ridiculous questions, and the skipping of asking others. My students have a mark in grade book with the absence noted. If they do not turn the work in. They get a missing mark added. They have 5 days to turn in the assignment. I send a syllabus home at the beginning of the year outlining this policy. I make parents sign that they understand and I have a poster up with it outlined. This has cut down on the parent complaints. The students who choose to fail do so, but it is understood it is their behavior that got them there. I also have filmed lessons and posted them on my class website. This way they can watch it. I do not have to reteach everything. If I know it is a complicated lesson, as I know Physics would be, I would make it a practice to film a lesson or example of the activity. You may find this helps the students who wish to study also.
Good Luck!

srllearner 02-11-2020 10:17 PM

A problem I have as well!
Chronic absences are a problem Iíve been facing with my students as well. I constantly lose students for 1-2 weeks at a time due to outside studying for things like TOEFL or IELTS. It can be very frustrating to lose a student for even one class. If theyíre even interested in catching up, you still need to take time out of the class or your break to discuss it with them. I like the other posterís idea of ďask three, then meĒ, because the student needs to show they are willing to put in effort if they miss class, rather than expecting you to teach them a week of work in the 5 minutes before class.

There are two things that I hope can make this problem a little easier for me:

First, the more prepared I am for each lesson, the easier it is to cover with absent students. I find myself often having to think ďWell, what did we cover last weekÖĒ to myself. If I have clear lesson plans and supplementary materials, then itís much easier to make sure each student has accomplished the learning objective for those lessons, and can demonstrate it later in the course.

The second thing is something that Iíve recently been thinking a lot about due to a course Iím taking. If a student is more engaged in their own learning and goals, then they are much more likely to seek help from you and other students, and are also more likely to put in effort to catch up on their own. If a student has a set of goals to accomplish that they have set themselves, they might also actually let you know if they are going to be missing class! Iím positive many of my students know when they will be absent, but without an investment in their own learning they have no desire to let me know ahead of time or ask me to give them the work beforehand. To them it feels like asking for extra homework. Self-set goals related to the course is a way Iím hoping to keep my students more engaged in my class, and I hope it can at least mitigate the damage caused by chronic absences.

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