Teachers enforces school’s tardy policy differently

February 10, 2017 — by Frederick Kim and Chelsea Leung

Tardy policies are handled differently between teachers. 

Junior Clifford Yin walked into teacher Audrey Warmuth’s engineering class 10 minutes late, expecting to be marked tardy. He was happily surprised, however, when Warmuth decided to ignore the disruption and go on with her lecturing.

Students have noticed that teachers often have different attendance policies, which sometimes change day-to-day. Some teachers mark students who are a second late to the classroom as tardy, whereas others allow students to be five to ten minutes late without penalty.

English teacher Erick Rector, who admits to having a fluctuating attendance policy, believes that students should adapt to different teachers’ rules.

“Every teacher’s gonna have their own way of doing something,” Rector said. “You’re not going to go to college and be like [to the professor], ‘I didn’t know about your tardy policy.’”

Chemistry teacher Janny Cahatol, who has a tendency to single out students who are tardy to enforce the tardy policy, sees addressing students’ tardies early on is “better for the student in the long run.”

“The little things count in life, not the big thing,” Cahatol said. “I would like the students to have a firm foundation since it is important to be on time to your appointments.”

Cahatol thinks that she draws her views on the importance of being on time from her own personal background.

“When we gather, my family gathers 15 minutes before the actual time we’re supposed to meet,” Cahatol said.

Although the school allows teachers to control their own tardy policies, assistant principal Brian Thompson emphasized that teachers should always be consistent in their own policies.

Teachers attribute their changing policies to how much material they must teach that class, saying long and involved lesson plans usually force them to start class right when the bell rings.

“If I kept track of every student who wasn’t actually in the room when the bell rings, the people who do show up on time are not getting the full 90 minutes of class,” said Warmuth, who teaches some engineering courses and AP Calculus BC. “I resent taking instruction time to keep track of people who aren’t doing what they should be doing.”

That being said, some teachers, including Rector and Warmuth, find that current punishments for excessive tardies, such as detentions and Saturday Schools, are ineffective. Rector thinks that a harsher punishment, such as having late students help clean the school, would be more effective, while Warmuth wants tardies to be able to affect students’ grades.

“It’s really, really frustrating how many tardies there are,” Warmuth said. “If you can be a minute late, why can’t you be a minute early?”

Thompson stressed that students knowing the impacts of consistently being tardy matters much more than punishment. Students realizing how being regularly late affects their own education, other students’ learning and the teacher’s instruction is much more important than being punished, Thompson said.

“When you talk about tardies and attendance, it’s about personal responsibility and personal accountability,” Thompson said. “There isn’t anyone who enjoys punishing our students; it’s about understanding who we are and how we can continually improve.”

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