Resources for Educators
In last month’s survey, 64% of respondents said the most common conduct/behavioral issue at their school has to do with attendance (i.e., absenteeism, tardiness, etc.). That’s unfortunate, because poor attendance almost always leads to low achievement. There are many factors that affect attendance: personal responsibilities, socioeconomic status, social issues, feeling anxious while at school, school climate and staff morale, poor time management in general, and yes, even their relationship (or lack thereof) with the teacher(s).
While many of the reasons for attendance issues are out of our control, there are a few things teachers can do to help improve overall attendance. It’s primarily about developing relationships:
- Be passionate about teaching and helping students learn. It may sound obvious, but students respond better to challenges when they have observed that you are passionate about helping them do well in your subject matter.
- Show students they are important to you. Again, sounds obvious, but students are far more likely to show up if they know you genuinely care about them.
- Consistently enforce your attendance policy. Consistency is more important than the policy itself. If you bother to have a written policy, you’ve got to be consistent in its enforcement. Students will respect you for following your own rules.
- Get their support people involved. If you can somehow get their families or other support people to see the value of them coming to class regularly and on time, they may get some additional motivation at home. Invite support people to orientation, open houses, or schedule a special family and friends night. Building relationships with students is easier if you show them that you care about them and their extended network.
- If your school does community outreach, encourage students to get involved. If students feel connected to the school’s outreach programs in the community, they are more likely to be committed to the program in general, because they will see the value beyond grades. And participating in community outreach events with your students helps you to create those stronger relationships with them.
- Most importantly, improve your own teaching skills. Students like to come to classes where they are succeeding. And they are more likely to succeed if you are good at teaching them. We can all improve our outcomes by regularly participating in various continuing education opportunities specific to teaching skills.
(Shameless Plug: Attend some of our free Teacher Webinars.)