Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"I'm Sick"

When ML had strep throat a week ago, the timing was both fortunate and unfortunate. Good in that she got sick on Thursday night, and since her summer school class is Monday-Thursday, she didn't miss any classes or labs at all. Bad in that she had a huge test on the hardest part of the course material that Monday.

She went to the teacher after turning in her test and told her that, though she knew it didn't make any difference, she wanted the teacher to know that she had been very sick with strep throat and not able to study until Sunday afternoon, and if her grade was not good, it was because of that -- not because she didn't care about doing well. (Which was, I thought, the best way to handle it.)

But, being a teacher myself, I know how often students use sickness as an excuse to get out of things. Unfortunately they are often enabled by parents. When I get a note saying "Please excuse ___ for not completing ___. He was not feeling well." -- I know that more than likely the student was tired, or just didn't feel like doing the work, or whatever, and talked Mama into writing a note. "Not feeling well" is not the same as "sick."

The extreme of this situation is what we always have two or three of every year: students who get to 19 absences in a class, the absences almost always scattered in nature, at about February or March. They automatically fail the class at 20 absences. It is amazing how they are able to get to school without any absences for the rest of the year.

Anyway - the point is this: There is a high enough percentage of enabled and not really necessary absences, that teachers get a bit jaded at some point. Then, when someone like ML comes along, who had a real and debilitating (for a few days) illness, the teacher has to make a judgment as to whether it is legitimate or not. Fortunately, when a student has a good track record, as ML does, it makes it a little easier to judge correctly. I certainly hope that was the case in ML's situation with her teacher.

1 comment:

rk2 said...

And the parents who write those notes wonder why their children end up lying to them some day!