Dealing with chronic tardiness in schools



LATENESS to school by students has become a recurring concern throughout the years. This attitude in students has been of great worry to school administrators, teachers and parents/guardians alike and various steps have been implemented to reduce the recurrence, including spanking, sanctioning and sometimes manual work.

  Speaking on the issue of lateness to school, Mrs Ogechukwu Mengwa, a retired primary school teacher said “negative trends in tardiness are naturally detrimental to your instructional goals, but they are also detrimental to the students that are tardy. Chronic tardiness can cause students to fall behind academically and lead to increased stress levels for you and the student”.

  “Now, imagine a day in your classroom where you are just about getting into your flow with the lesson and your students are listening to you intently. And then in walks a latecomer and at once, the hold you had over all the students is broken. Indeed, late comers disrupt classes and they also erode class morale. As a teacher, it is your duty to handle this disruption in the best way you can and maintain discipline”.

  School administrators should try as much as possible to deal with tardiness once and for all by implementing effective tardy policies that allow them work together with students to deal with the problems they face. Whether their lateness is excusable but still needs to be addressed or inexcusable and requires immediate disciplinary action, they should apply strategies to help students overcome their tardiness. Underlisted are my own suggestions that might help encourage students to show up on time:

  Find out what is going on: You can never know what is causing a student to be consistently late unless you ask. Without passing judgment on a student or making them feel as if their tardiness is their fault, get to the bottom of the problem. Show the student that you intend to solve this issue together and that they are not alone. Odds are, they do not deserve all the blame for being late.

  Teachers should be the examples: They should always begin their classes on time. You cannot start late and ask the students to show up on time. When you start class late, you encourage students to do the same in return.

  Do important tasks at the beginning of the class: Usually, teachers do important tasks like giving class assignments, assigning classroom activities, marking attendance at the end of the class. Instead, do these tasks at the beginning of the class so that if students do not arrive on time, they miss it. This motivates them to arrive to the class on time.

  Talk to parents if late coming persists: There may be a student who is always late, no matter what punishment you give him. Try talking to the student after class and find out the actual reason for his late-coming and try to help him with the issue. If the issue persists, talk to their parents.

  Then on his own part, Mr Edwin Okafor, a technician and a parent said, “as parents, it is not easy to get children out to school that early, but following these underlisted steps will help.

  Choose school uniforms, prepare meals and pack school bags the night before: Doing all these things in the morning could take hours. Truly, so, to ensure you are not wasting your precious time in the morning, teach your children the importance of being efficient by making some necessary preparation for school the night before.

  Stick to a routine: Children thrive on schedules. If your children are doing different things at different times each morning, they won’t be able to productively get ready each morning, which could lead to them being late for their day. In all, we should just know that the target is to get the students showing up on time while minimising any negative impact on the other students in the classroom”.

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