Student walked away from me during a discussion.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by applesnap, May 2, 2017.

  1. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    There's a bit of a back story here. I am currently teaching a grade 11 class and one of my students has attendance issues. She has already failed this class once (with another teacher at another school).

    She only shows up to my class when she feels like it, and is not passing. I have had several discussions with her about this, to no avail. I have done everything I can think of to get this kid to class. I contacted her homeroom teacher, which did no good. I called home and left messages. I sent her parents emails. I never heard back.

    A few weeks later I called again. Unfortunately, the student answered the phone, and when I asked to speak to her mom, the student would say things like "my mom's in the bathroom and can't call back for a while". I resolved to call back later, but got busy and didn't. That was about 3 weeks ago.

    The other day, she showed up for the first 10 minutes of class and then left when my back was turned. I had had enough - so the next time I saw her, we had a chat about her attendance. We came up with a plan. I said let's try our plan for a week, and see how it goes.

    The very next day, she didn't show up for class. So I figured our plan was out the window, called home, and set up a meeting with her parents.

    About 2 hours later the student came to find me, angry that I had called home. She had an excuse for missing class earlier that day, and was upset that I had called home before waiting a week. My first reaction was to shrug at her, and when I started to explain why I called, she walked away from me. I called her name and she ignored me. So I gave up and started to teach my next class.

    So my question is - what do I do now? I feel that this has become a power struggle. I really doubt the student will ever show up for class again, but if she does, do I address this? Do I ignore it and pretend it didn't happen? Do I mention this to the parents when I meet with them later in the week?
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    May 3, 2017

    The onus is on her to pass the class. If you feel that you have done what is required and more to get her to attend class then you've done your job. The bottom line is if she wants to pass she has to turn up - that's on her. Admin should be aware of the situation in case there is a home situation you aren't aware of that is impacting her attendance. I would try contacting her parents one last time but if there's still no improvement, I would fail her.
     
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  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 3, 2017

    At this point in the school year, there is probably no way she can make up enough work to pass and I think you have gone out of your way to be accommodating so it is time to let the chips fall.
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    May 3, 2017

    She's a junior. She is intentionally choosing this.
     
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  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 3, 2017

    In my opinion you are trying way more than she does to get her to class. You've done enough. You can't chase after every kid.
    We have huge attendance issues, especially in the past few weeks, 1/4 of the class is always out. I make all work available to be made up, they're supposed to get it on their own, but lately I've been looking at their record to see what they've missed and hand 3-4 assignments to some students (the ones that are so close to passing).
    Other than that, that's it. I often hear "But ma'am, I wasn't here" as in it should be excused. I tell them: "I did my job to show up and teach, you're supposed to do your job, to show up and learn".
    That gets my point across.

    Her walking away is not big of a deal in my opinion. She senses that you care, she doesn't, she probably doesn't even get why it's such a big deal to you, she walks away.
     
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  7. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 3, 2017

    Hi everyone. Thanks so much for your advice. I feel a lot better after reading what each of you wrote.

    I agree that I have been working my butt off to get this student to class. I really don't think there's anything else I can do - so at this point, she either attends or doesn't, but I am not chasing her down anymore. Admin is aware, as I cc'ed one of the assistant principals on an email about this student's attendance.

    Surprisingly the student was in class today. Hopefully she keeps it up.

    I work for kind of an interesting school... everyone on staff just started at the school this year, including the admins. The admins keep saying that our school mandate is success for every student. Teachers are expected to go extremely above and beyond to make connections with kids and make sure they pass. We have been told not to pass kids who don't deserve it, but I still worry the principal is going to think I could have done more.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 4, 2017

    You've done enough. The only thing left to do is to drive to her house, drag her out of bed, and bring her to school, but surely that is not in your job description.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    May 4, 2017

    We have a medical center in our town. It was found out that some of the patients refused to eat right and exercise. Each of these patients eventually had heart problems, so each doctor was fired and a new staff of doctors were hired. Obviously I just made up that story in my head, but isn't that what is happening to schools and teachers? When children are transformed into statistical data and when teachers are required to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; how is that going to not make things worse instead of better?

    I agree with all the above, you did your part and there's only so much you can do. At the same time, and this is out of your sphere of control, something is obviously plaguing this young girl. I can imagine plenty of counterproductive situations that might be responsible for her lack of attendance, laziness not included.
     
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  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 4, 2017

    As long as you documented her attendance and what work she has turned in,I don't see how administration can fault you. Make sure you have noted all the times you have called/attempted to call home. In the end, it's the student's issue. Her parents should be held accountable as well.
     
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  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 4, 2017

    I don't think there is an earth shaking tragedy behind every misbehaving / troubled kid. If a student is excessively absent, that can just be laziness. We have a lot of kids, who are juniors, even seniors, and are excessively absent. When I ask them, they just shrug and say they didn't feel like coming to school, or woke up late, or whatever.
    It is not our job to solve every human's life at our school. I slept less than 4 hours last night, didn't feel like coming to work, but I did. They can do the same.
     
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  12. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 16, 2017

    What is the attendance, tardy, and skipping class policy at your school?

    A student who just left class without permission and never came back at my school would be written up for skipping class and would spend at least the next day in ISS.

    Tardies are unacceptable too, and are recorded when we take attendance. Students who are tardy to their first class of the day must bring a note from the office because they are also considered tardy to school. If they come to class without a note, we send them back to get one. For their remaining classes, we just count them tardy if they are not IN THEIR SEATS when the tardy bell rings. One tardy gets a warning from the teacher. Second tardy gets a warning from administration. Third tardy gets the student after school detention (ASD). If the student fails to show for ASD, he/she spends the next day in ISS.

    Our students are only allowed 8 absences in a class. If they go over 8, they have the opportunity to make up their days after school. They have to stay for an hour after school to make up one class period. There is paperwork that must be signed by the attending teachers after school and then turned into the office. If a student is still over the 8 days at the end of the semester, they can go before the attendance committee to plead their case. There has to be a very good reason for the students' excessive absences, and most of the cases get denied. Students with more than 8 absences in a class, regardless of their grade in that class, will fail. They can have a 98 average and 9 absences and fail the class.

    Also, when students are absent, they must go to the office the morning they return to get an absent slip. This will be either "excused" (if they presented a note from a doctor or parent or some other legit reason) or "unexcused" (if they had no note from home, doctor, etc.). We are only required to give make-up work to students who have EXCUSED absences. They have to show the note, it has to say "excused" and they are given a set amount of time to complete the work that the missed. Once that time period has passed, they get zeros on the missed work.

    And finally, they keep a close eye on absences by class period in the office. Any student that leaves our campus must sign out or be signed out by a parent. So when students decide they're going to blow off last period and leave, when they are marked absent, the office looks to see if they signed out. If they didn't sign out, the office double-checks with the teacher to make sure the student was absent. Then the office calls home to alert the parent that the child left school without signing out and is going to be written up for skipping.

    It amazes me how lenient some schools are about these things. We operate under the idea that we are responsible for these kids during school hours. Any student that leaves our classroom has to have permission and a note saying where he/she is going. If a student leaves without permission, we immediately call the office to report that he/she is skipping class.

    Our kids gripe and whine about school being "a prison" and maybe compared to other schools ours is, but it sure cuts down on the skipping, tardies, and absences. Or should I say, there are at least real consequences for students who do these things.

    If your school doesn't have a firm policy in place to deal with such things, I think you've done all you can do. They need to back you up with consequences for the students' frequent absences.
     
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  13. SevillaSwag

    SevillaSwag Rookie

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    May 21, 2017

    I think that ideally, you wouldn't have shrugged her off, because she may have mis-read that as you only caring about attendance, rather than her success. However, I think you've done a ton to try and get her in the room, and have tried to "meet her where she is." You contacted parents. So someone else has to work with you on this process for there to be a change, and likely all of the other parties (students, parent, admin.)
     
  14. Pontus

    Pontus Guest

    May 26, 2017

    My first thought is, what is her motivation (like hobbies, interests)? From what I can understand there is a lot going on around her and focus and interest is not in school at all. A problem all too common these days, unfortunately.
     

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