Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Late Again

I never make a big deal when students are late to my class. Every once in a while, I steal a joke from my old Shakespeare professor, and right after someone walks in I say, "...and that is the most important thing that you need to know about statistics." But mostly I just ignore them. I keep talking, and if they ask a question about something I did before they came in, I answer and move on.

So, some students are chronically late to my class. I imagine some of them have pretty good reasons -- their previous class is far away and tends to run over, or they are working a job where they can't leave until their replacement shows up. And I imagine that some of them don't have a very good reason at all -- they are just the type of person who shows up late to things. And it never gets them in trouble. At least not in my class.

Some days, though, I'd like to lock the door at the beginning of class. This morning, my 11:00 class was terrible. There were about six students (out of 20) who came in after the start of class. And they all felt obliged to bring their homework up to the front of the room and put it on my desk. Oh, and half of them missed the handout (which was on a desk by the door) so they had to get up again and go get it. I wanted to shout "Will you people please sit down! I'm trying to teach, here!" But I didn't.

So, any advice on how I should deal with late arrivals? It's probably too late for this semester, but I could change my behavior, if I could figure out some way to do it that would actually help the problem.

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Anonymous said...

I usually bring it up at some point in the term if it's really a problem. I bring it up at the end of class though. I also embed punctuality in my class participation grade under "good class citizenship." And then I let it go. Though if people are really late I do look up at the clock significantly and perhaps pause for a moment.