Friday, February 24, 2017

Celebrate the small things: full attendance

Full attendance is my elusive dream: at the beginning of each new term, at the beginning of each new week, at the beginning of each new day, I hope that all of my students will show up to class. Sadly, I have had to abandon my other dream that they would all arrive on time and stay until the end. I now that will not happen - but full attendance is possible, and this week I came tantalizingly close.

Due to the rarity of full attendance, I had cause to celebrate 'almost' full attendance twice this week. On Thursday and Friday, only one student was missing.

I am happy to teach whoever shows up. I start the class on time for those who can be bothered to be punctual, and late comers, miss out or have to catch up. Half of the class normally leaves after the second break, but I keep teaching in the last session for the benefit of those who aren't full of excuses about why they can't stay for another forty minutes.

It is annoying and disruptive to have students roll in like browns cows, and/or not attend whole days at all with no good reason, but the students themselves are the ones most affected.

They have to do five assessments every week. Students who are absent have to do those catch up exams when they show up, which means that while they are doing catch up exams which test their knowledge of skills they were not in class to learn or practice, I am teaching new content to those who did show up and who did do the tests. It's a vicious circle for students with poor attendance. Not only do they not learn new content, but they are continually tested on content they don't know, because they don't come to class. or when they do, they are busy doing catch up tests.

Nearly achieving full attendance this week means that all students are now up to date with their assessments, and I was able to teach new content to all but one for two days in a row.

I actually care about how my students perform. I may even care more than some of them do. Full attendance is a little thing, but it makes me happy, so today I'm celebrating 'almost' full attendance and the renewed hope that one day soon, I may get 100%.


  1. How sad that some of the students miss so much, but some people really aren't all that enthused to learn new things. Congrats on getting close to full attendance, and I hope you get more days with as many or more!

  2. My students are in Australia for working holidays on student visas. The visa conditions require them to attend 20 hours of English classes a week, but this is not enforced, and many are much more interested in working and travelling than they are in studying. Have a great week, Lexa.

  3. 20 hours seems a lot - I guess I would be annoyed at that if I was on holidays

    in that context, your attendance rates are excellent, well done