Attendance is a problem. After 20 years of beating my brains out trying to keep track of everyone’s make-up work, I have discovered a method that works. It takes the responsibility off the teacher and puts it where it should be: on the student who was absent.
I have a three-ring binder for each class. I keep these on a bookshelf at the front of the room, next to the door. When students are absent, it is their responsibility to check the notebook for missed work. Inside the notebook I keep a form, which asks for the following information:
- assignment collected (yes/no),
- quiz or test (yes/no),
- work today,
- student absent, and
- student signature.
I list the students who are absent and after reading the assignment sheet, the student signs his name, which by signing he is accepting the responsibility for make-up. I also have a form inside the notebook for the student to complete if she missed a test or quiz. I have two days a week that I stay after school for make-up and tutoring. It is the student’s responsibility to report during this time for make-up. Many of my students have jobs after school. I tell them that they must make arrangements with their employer to complete their missed work.
This has been very successful and parents love it. If you use a reliable student as class secretary, it makes it even easier. One warning, if you use a secretary, it is always a good idea to check the notebook and initial it so the students know you are not leaving your job to a student. This is a guaranteed way of checking for mistakes, too. At the end of the day, when you check to notebooks, you can pull out the appointment sheets for make-up work.