|Student attendance key to success in classroom and life|
|Written by Ariana M. Taylor, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:00|
As the unseasonably warm weather continues to spoil students, several may choose to ditch the classroom setting in order to enjoy the sun. Nevertheless, professional staff encourage students to attend their classes, for poor attendance typically equates to poor grades.
Kathryn Black, graduate teaching assistant in the Spanish department, explained her thoughts on class attendance from an instructor's standpoint, as well as a student's perspective.
“Attending classes as a college student is very important because it is the time when you have to take responsibility for your own education. You don’t have your parents around to make sure you’re going to class,” Black said.
Although some teachers may not deduct points for class attendance, Black explained that attendance is a requirement. She added that some absences are excused, however avoiding class for fun in the sun will harm a student’s grade.
“I keep track of attendance every class period, and absences count against the students’ participation grade. Students are able to make up assignments, quizzes, [and] tests if their absence is excused,” Black said. “Generally, I would say it’s acceptable to be absent if a student is sick and goes to Student Health Services, has a family issue, or is part of a sports team that travels. [With] that said, students are still responsible for the material they miss due to an absence.”
Similarly to many English professors, Kirstin Hotelling Zona, English professor, allows three absences during the semester but each additional absence lowers one’s final grade by a whole letter. She mentioned that her purpose is to create an inviting classroom experience that students should look forward to.
“Because I teach small discussion-based courses that depend upon us creating, together, a safe and dynamic community, I do have an attendance policy … At the same time, though, I put as much into my courses as I ask from my students, which is to say that I do my best to set up and facilitate a classroom experience that students want to be a part of,” Zona said.
Zona added that she does not “believe in testing for literature courses,” therefore she does not give quizzes. She does, however, assign plenty of writing assignments, and students are able to make up one late or missed paper.
“In general, I expect papers to be turned in on time unless a student has a legitimate reason for turning it in late.”
According to Zona, college gives students the opportunity to “stretch and grow and think and invent and create in ways that make [them] feel more alive.” With that being said, Zona mentioned that she does not understand why one would not take attendance seriously.
“When [students] feel that thrum, that ‘aha,’ that click, [they] become hungry for more — for more digging, more asking, more wondering, more making. And this hunger inevitably leads [them] to the edges of [their] comfort zones, and hopefully beyond them, which in turn opens [them] up to the possibility of connecting with more kinds of people, understanding or empathizing with more points of view,” Zona explained.
“The stress can feel unbearable at times. Students are holding down jobs, and have lots going on … But when you put your all into your classes you find yourself far less drained, paradoxically, than when you try to just skate by,” Zona added.
Zona said she hopes that students will make sensible decisions concerning their class attendance. She added that she will continue to do her part as a professor.
“It’s up to each person to decide for him or herself when skipping class is worth it, when being there is worth it, when failing is worth it, when getting an ‘A’ is worth it … All I can do is give the classroom all that I can, make my expectations and grading policy clear and transparent, and hope that the students are there because they want to be,” Zona said.