Methods to Deal with Tardy Students

Ways to Stop Tardies

One of the key housekeeping and classroom management tasks that teachers face is attendance and how to deal with tardiness. While many students will be tardy at some point during the year, tardiness can quickly become a real problem if an effective tardy policy is not in place. Students need to understand the importance of being on time, not only in school but in their future life. As a teacher, it is often very helpful to have numerous ways to deal with individual issues. Finding what works best for each individual or group of students is part of managing a class effectively. Following is a list of five ideas that you can use as you deal with tardy students in your class.

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Make the Beginning of Class Important

Security Guard Watching Elementary Students Running
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Students need to understand that coming into class late can have consequences on their grade. Using items like Warm Ups and On Time Quizzes can have a huge impact. You control when class starts and how it begins. Make sure that you are prepared to begin class right on time. You can take care of attendance and other housekeeping tasks after the students are busy working. Students quickly get used to a routine if you are consistent in its use. Therefore, decide what method you wish to you use and get started right away.

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Use Consistent Consequences

Students will respect you and your rules more if you apply them consistently. If you have created a policy that includes specific disciplinary actions for tardiness, these should be followed at all times. In addition, if you have decided to use daily warm-ups that add up to a test grade, make sure to have them posted every day and grade them appropriately. If you students see you as playing favorites or making exceptions for reasons that do not seem fair, they will be less likely to follow your rules without complaint.

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Use Detentions

Detentions could be added to your classroom management plan. However, they require commitment on your part. You have to stay in your classroom during the detention time when you might have tasks you need to take care of at the media center or front office. Some teachers work together and hold a joint detention to help alleviate this issue. Student transportation can also cause headaches. Teachers who use this typically send a letter home explaining that if students earn detention then the parents are responsible for picking up students late. Despite these issues, detention can be effective as a deterrent for chronic tardiness.

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Use a Reward System

Provide students with rewards for not being tardy to your class. This can be as simple as giving extra hints before exams or warnings of pop quizzes during the first few minutes of class. However, it can also expand to more tangible rewards such as homework passes. The benefit of this is that students who are following the rewarded, hopefully reinforcing their positive behaviors.

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Help Form and Follow Schoolwide Policies

Many schools already have tardy policies in place, even if these are not consistently enforced. Make sure that you have gone through the school handbook and discussed tardy issues with mentor teachers and administrators so that you understand what the policy is. Schoolwide policies can be extremely effective if the majority of teachers enforce them. However, if the policy is not working, maybe you can get involved in trying to fix it. If the issue is a lack of teacher buy-in, become an advocate for enforcement and help come up with a plan to get more teachers involved. If the problem is the policy itself, see if your administration is amenable to you working with teachers and administrators to come up with something that will work.