I’ll make this one quick because I could go on for days about this issue. If you ever become a student anywhere, you will miss a class or experience a moment that could lead to you missing a class. I hated missing class, but I soon learned that I couldn’t avoid the unexpected.
Education has become far more data driven, and so has financial aid. This means that the stakes are high and attendance rules everything around me like Wu Tang Clan and C.R.E.A.M. So when you don’t show up for class it can create a rift between you and the instructor due to the fact that they are under quite a bit of stress already. There are a few people in life that you always want to stay on good terms with: the person who signs your paycheck, the person behind any gavel, the person pointing the gun, the person holding your rope or ladder, and the person deciding your final grade.
So if you are going to miss ANY class, remember to do these 3 things:
Step 1: Contact and Accountability
Contact your teacher ASAP to let them know that something has happened, but don’t worry about telling them specifically what has happened just yet. Students often times get so hung up on what actually happened that they never say anything at all. Never saying anything is the same as cutting class for no reason at all. The instructor can never deny that that you made contact, and in the end someone will have to acknowledge that. When you have documented evidence that you contacted your instructor immediately concerning your absence, a college must take that into consideration–which could lead to a changing of a grade, re-taking of a test, make up work, or more.
Step 2: Get Your Documentation Ready
Now its time to get like Jason Bourne and collect your evidence. I don’t care if your teacher is Miss Krabapple or Miss Finster–somewhere on that ladder of academic authority someone knows the truth–and the truth is that no one can deny documentation. While you’re at the doctor, get a note on his/her letter head. If it’s a car issue, get a receipt from the garage or towing company. All you need is something in writing from a credible source (i.e., a professional witness who saw you). And make sure that your teacher does not have to ASK you for the documentation 3 weeks later. That just makes things worse.
Step 3: Get Updated
I’m not telling you to lie–I’m just telling you to be really, really smart. If you missed class Thursday, check your syllabus to see what was supposed to be covered on Thursday and ask your teacher about that topic: “Professor Smith, on Thursday we were supposed to cover American Economy from 1880 to 1899. I would like to know about the key events during that era that you covered.” Now that teacher is going to have to explain what they did/did not cover, and you get it straight from the horses mouth. Teaches used to be able to act like jerk-faces and simply reply “Oh, just ask someone in class to give you their notes” but now teachers are being watched for student engagement and customer service. So if you have these kind of conversations documented as well, it will keep you out of that kind of trouble.
HOWEVER, none of these tips will work very well if you have or will display the following:
A nasty attitude
Stories that conflict with one another
Bad attendance every day BEFORE the incident
Bad attendance everyday AFTER the incident
Previous incidents between you and the teacher
Follow the three pointers listed above and you will find that regardless of the class, you do have rights and procedures that protect you in the case of class absences. Just be smart and use them 🙂