23 November 2008

Alarming Information

We had parent-teacher conferences last week. (Did I mention this already? The weekend has not been nearly as restorative as it should be.)

So. One of the things I want to tackle with my new system is lateness. It's a huge problem, and nothing that I did helped. A few of the kids are working on twenty latenesses for the year. Nothing is being done at the administrative level either. Lunch detention didn't make a difference; it just meant that the kids were late AND bitching and moaning about how unfair I am.

Even though I'd spoken to parents over the phone, I made a point to emphasize the issue during conferences, and I was stunned at the number of parents who explained that their kids were late because they, the parents, didn’t always get them up in time. On Friday, one chronically late student was later than usual with a note from his mother, explaining that she overslept, and was unable to get him up. Keep in mind that I teach sixth graders, and many of them are responsible for walking younger siblings to and from school. They have their own apartment and house keys. Hell, I didn't have a house key all through high school, something that still makes me the object of ridicule among some of my friends. But my mother no longer woke me up when I was in sixth grade; I was on my own.

So, these children who have iPods and cell phones that are more sophisticated than mine don’t own that other very high-tech gadget, the alarm clock.


peace in the classroom said...

We have the same problem at my school. There are no consequences for lateness. It's always the kids who really need to be there that aren't there. I do word study first period, and I have kids who do no phonics work all year because they don't come on time. I really think that chronic lateness should be considered educational neglect and warrant an ACS call. It is really detrimental to the kids' learning.

Anonymous said...

Start giving quizzes first period.

But this should go to UFT policy.


Val said...

If it makes you feel any better, I'm having the same problem with 10th graders. Not just for 1st period, but even for 3rd period. Found out at a few P-T conferences that Mommy doesn't wake them up in time.

And yes, any student worth his or her salt not only has a cell phone and i-pod, but also knows how to sneak them in through scanning.

Angela said...

This is a big problem at my school, too...except for the third graders. Why? Because admin scheduled third grade recess for 8:15 am. School starts at 8:00 am. Tardiness=missed recess. It's amazing how all the excuses disappear when there's a REAL motivation to be on time.

About 5 out of the 100 third graders at our school have excessive tardies this year. Last year the number was around 15. Coincidence? I think not.

NYC Educator said...

I check homework and give quizzes during the first few minutes of most of my classes. For kids who aren't there, too bad. I will not pass kids who are consistently late, and I told a shocked parent this at open school night. He was horrified. But the kid started coming on time nonetheless.

I don't expect any support from administration and I'm rarely disappointed.