The Picador

Filed under On Campus, Showcase

Attendance Report: Should There be Penalties for Tardy Teachers?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

You wake up and look at your phone, and there’s only 5 minutes until class. You throw clothes on and speed walk to your class, but you’re three minutes late. It happens to all of us at some point. Maybe you don’t wake up, and miss your first class, maybe you skip practice, regardless of why, accidental or on purpose, you get a late or an absence. The next day, you know you’ll have payback bright and early. This has been the accepted system of punishment for lates and absences for as long as anyone can remember. However, if a teacher shows up five minutes late, for whatever reason, or misses class without a sub, accidental or not, doesn’t it seem fair that they too would receive some sort of punishment for their tardiness?


Although teachers are not late or absent nearly as much as students tend to be, it affects the class more than when just one student is late or absent. If a student is tardy, the class continues normally. If a teacher is tardy, the class cannot accomplish anything. Therefore, a teacher’s absence from the class affects the course much more than a student’s. In fact, a teacher’s tardiness can be assigned a monetary value. Assuming a student is paying full day tuition (paying for education only and excluding boarding/living fees) of $38,500, and taking five classes per semester, each class period “costs” about $40. If a teacher misses a class, each student effectively loses $40 worth of education that they paid for. If we break this down even further, each minute that the teacher is late (assuming it’s a normal length block) “costs” each student $0.88. If the student is late or absent, it’s their own fault and their own money lost. If the teacher is x minutes late or absent, though, every student in the class loses the cost of x minutes of education, from a strictly financial view.
I understand that there is often a good reason for a teacher being late, especially if they have kids to take care of. So, just as with students, teachers could have their late or absence excused. However, for unexcused absences (or three lates), I think that there should be at least some sort of penalty. The penalty could be a number of things. Perhaps the teacher is assigned to proctor study hall, or maybe they get weekend duty. With both of these penalties, the teacher would still have time to grade papers, make assignments, and work on whatever they need to get done, but at the same time, they are held accountable for their having been late or absent. In a school that is so focused on community, shouldn’t teachers be held just as accountable for their punctuality as students are expected to be?

About the Writer
Carter Bourassa '17, Editor

Hi, I'm Carter Bourassa. I am the only surviving male editor of The Picador.

1 Comment

One Response to “Attendance Report: Should There be Penalties for Tardy Teachers?”

  1. John C. Lin on January 30th, 2017 10:48 pm

    Thank you for these numbers, Carter. I would never have tried to quantify our lapses as faculty in this manner. For this reason, I may not donate to the Annual Fund, because, according to the numbers, if we lose another day for that extra head’s holiday, which Mr. Peck promised if we have 100% giving from the faculty in the challenge, I would essentially be depriving you and your classmates of about $56,000 worth of education that you rightly deserve, not to mention the fact that you might miss an AP Lit class with me, which, by the way, is worth more, much more, than $40. (I have assumed in coming up with this figure that each of about 280 students might be enrolled in 5 classes that would be missed that day, a truly outrageous amount of education that would go into the ether.) Teachers will miss class accidentally once in a while and be late for class occasionally for all sorts of reasons, and we should not plan and add more missing class time. You are absolutely right — missing a full day of teaching, and for something as frivolous as another head’s holiday, would be irresponsible and unprofessional. Thank you for writing this enlightening piece! I’m with you: no more teacher latenesses and absences for any reason! Thank you, Carter, for your wise and inspiring words!

We welcome your comments -- supportive, critical or otherwise. We do not censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, abusive content, vulgarity, or personal attacks.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.