Friday, March 23, 2012

The Sweep

The plethora of tardiness has finally pushed the teachers and administration into action.

Starting this week a new tardy policy was instituted that’s basically no tolerance; if you are late to class at all then you are given a campus beautification or an after school detention.  Parents can clear you, teachers can clear you, and if you are the usual 18 years old then you can sign yourself an unexcused absence.

Hell hath no fury like a teenager told that he or she must be on time, especially if said teenager is late because of a Starbucks run.  Yep, as you can probably surmise the tardy sweep has been compared to Nazi Germany, boot camp, a step towards dictatorship, and has been called all those names which would highlight a Bobby Knight basketball practice.  On my Facebook feed I found the occasional “Occupy UHS” post, along with the new “Fuck the Tardy Sweep” group.  Apparently that group is advocating that during one day next week all students should refuse to attend fifth period class after lunch.  Interesting.  In Florida students are walking out because of a classmates possible murder.  At Ukiah High School they walk out because they don’t like being told to be at class on time. 

Parents are now quite alienated.  Apparently the line of kids calling Mom and Dad on their cell phones at 7:30 in the morning looks akin to the lines for the newest Apple offerings.  And the parents calling in are none to happy that their kids are being held accountable.  Many teachers think this is actually a pretty pivotal moment; will we be strong in maintaining a policy of accountability or will be bow to public pressure that might accept the entitled attitude?

Well the answer is not that simple.  In fact my AP U.S. History students made a very valid point that “we aren’t tardy to classes that actually have consequences for being tardy.”  Very astute.  Far be it for me to call out colleagues but those teachers that don’t have tardy problems have a consistent policy in place that discourages being late.  I don’t have problems with tardies (though I do with overall absences).  And maybe we, the teachers, need to look at enacting our own classroom management strategies that hold students accountable.  That way administration can focus on serious issues, teachers can focus on a better classroom, and students know that teachers are serious when they show up.


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