Saturday, December 16, 2006

Student / Parents

My problem student from the last post just responded with "you knew I was a single parent, I didn't skipp class on purpose" --

This is a real problem for me at BNCC. The problem is that in any section I have many single parents and usually ONE of them takes advantage of that fact to miss a lot of class.

My quandry is whether or not to continue to look the other way on attendance issues.

I've already eliminated attendance points. They don't lose ground on their grade especially for attendance. On the other hand, I do take attendance into account when deciding on close grade increases... and that is where the single parent loses out.

It is my intuition that this is fair, but is it really?

What about the single mom who has arranged her life and childcare so as to have excellent attendance. This take sher a lot of time and stress, but she manages to accomplish it anyway.... Just like I couldn't randomly give her extra-credit for making extra effort to get to class, it doesn't seem fair to let the single mom without reliable childcare get away with very poor attendance and no consequences.

On the other hand, I'm at a community college. My students are at my CC because they have responsibilities and often those responsibilities hurt attendance.

On the third-hand.. if I had one... Most of my students have other pressing committments and obligations. Who am I to say that one student's childcare challenge is more pressing than a student who is working 4 jobs to support herself or the student whose elderly parents rely on them to get to doctor's appointments etc.

This is an issue that won't go away --

What do you do in these kinds of situations??


Chaser said...

I try to give them a few chances to miss and then don't give any more. Going to school when you have kids entails sacrifices and organization. I had one guy who had to miss class because his kid bit another kid at daycare and was sent home for the day. That made me laugh so hard I couldn't help but excuse the absence. The context, however, mattered: the guy was one of my most industrious students in studio, so it didn't matter.

Anonymous said...

As a prof who was a single mom the whole time (10 years!) that it took me to get my bachelor's degree, I agree that it can be tough to know what to do in these situations. That said, you are absolutely right that the responsible parent who works her tail off to ensure that she has adequate childcare does NOT get rewarded for it, so I have no problem with docking someone's grade if they have failed to ensure that they can attend class regularly. Of course, things happen (as dr. lisa pointed out), but students who whine about unfair treatment when they missed classes because of their status as single parents are the kind of students who would whine even if they *weren't* single parents. Yes, juggling responsibilities not faced by the average 19-year-old at a four year school makes attendance harder for many CC students. But if you signed up for the class, you have committed yourself to fulfilling its requirements. That's life. When was the last time you heard of a boss cutting someone slack about her work attendance for this reason?

Anonymous said...

Isnt it silly by making single parent moms on your radar as some sort of bane to your teaching existance? I would be embarassed to scold someone for not showing up to a class which they are paying and going out of their way for. A student could easily flip it back into your face by saying the sacrifices they are making are so much more worth it, "ya know" with your added opinion about single parenthood.

Next time you use your hand to feed your face --give this a try-- take a huge bite at your hand and blog about it. Be sure to quote how industriously your hand was working at the actual feeding part and how it should not snivel under the command of your all-knowing and impervious blackened obsidian being.