Tardies are a pain. We all know that. Some schools have systems where tardies are accrued and the administration takes various levels of action with them or has interventions that correct student behavior. Mine doesn't. I've got kids walking around with 50+ tardies and some that had as many the first week of the new 6 weeks. The system we use where they count the infractions and issue a consequence works. It says what the repercussion will be. Our admins just don't do anything so the kids don't care. That's another issue though.
Missed time in class is missed knowledge. Being on time is an important skill to learn no matter what you end up doing in life, so why aren't we more insistent on that? There are a few excuses I hear fairly frequently that make me increasingly full of teacher rage. Here's my top 5:
5. "A teacher kept me late / I was finishing an assignment." - This is probably the most acceptable of all of them. Usually it isn't a problem. If a student needs to finish a test or a teacher is keeping them to have an intervention, I understand. Sometimes I cause this myself. The annoying part is the kids that are late for some reason every day with a pass from the same teacher. Stop letting them be late! Stop writing them passes! You don't need to talk to them that much! This is more of a nit pick, but it bothers me.
4. "I came from x location" - This excuse is also closer to valid, but most of the time is absolute BS. I understand passing periods are short. Sometimes I struggle with it too, but more times than not, I can make it anywhere on campus in under 4 minutes if I want to. Our campus is big and oddly shaped, but I can make it. I don't even have to run, and I'm a husky fellow. I've lost a few steps in my years as a teacher, put on a few dozen pounds, and am now only really quick over short distances, but I can get to class on time. These young, healthy students with strong backs and infinite energy from their soda and hot chips should be able to make it from next door in less than 5 minutes.
3. "I was walking my girlfriend to class" - Why? For what? Are you afraid of her being stolen? Are you worried she's going to run off with another student between Physics and the Algebra I class she's repeating because she never goes to class? If so, you probably need a new one anyway. Not the kind of young lady you want to spend your life with. Also, you're going to break up. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you won't be together by graduation. Let's take a few steps back and look at reality. I know you can't because you're a child, but let this bitter old fogey give you some advice just this once.
2. "I just barely got here..." - i know. I know that because you weren't here when the bell rang and now you are. Go get a pass, this is a fake excuse. You can't just say I just got her late and then I'm going to accept that as an excuse for why you are late. Makes no sense. Oh you want to clarify? Please do...
1. "No, mister, I just got to school" - Really? You're going to double down on your terrible excuse? I KNOW THAT! I SAW YOU WALKING IN AT 10 FROM MY WINDOW! You didn't wake up on time, you were walking slow, maybe you had to get a younger sibling ready and that made you late, but if it was a legitimate excuse like that, you would've said it. Thanks for the clarification, but this isn't better. It actually makes me more unhappy.
Have other excuses you hear? Let us know on twitter or in the comments.
Here's a bonus excuses I heard the other day that made me laugh: "Oh I could've been on time, but sometimes when I walk by I'm not ready to go in yet so I decided to walk around until I was ready." Gold.