Thursday, December 05, 2019

Boy, This Place Is Hard to Find

I hate it when students arrive late. It wouldn't be so bad if I could arrive late as well, but administration takes a dim view of that. They feel if they're paying me that I ought to be working. Who knows where they get ideas like that? Anyway, since I have to be there, I figure the students have to be there too. Of course they find that irritating, because it's far more convenient to just show up whenever you golly gosh darn feel like it.

I challenge them sometimes. "Why are you late?" They say I'm in room 215 and it's far away. The next day, if I'm free, I'll show up at the end of the period and walk them to my class. We are never late. Of course if you linger in the hall discussing all the vital issues of the day with your friends and acquaintances, that won't be the case. There are a whole lot of reasons to be late, and almost none of them are good.

Now I'll admit that I'm late on very rare occasions. Sometimes I'll be at a meeting in the principal's office and the bell rings. You don't always want to just get up and run the hell away. However, that might happen a couple of times a year at worst. I have students who are late every day, or every other day.

When I'm late for a class, or a meeting, or anything, I walk in and say, "Boy, this place is hard to find." It doesn't matter if I go there every month, every week, or every day. There's really no good excuse for me to be late. Why not go the dog ate my homework route, since no one will believe me anyway?

I'm tired of hearing my students tell me they had to wait for the bus, or their class is too far, or they went to visit some secretary in some office somewhere when they were supposed to be in English class. I'm particularly tired of hearing it from students who are late on a regular basis. I don't want to tell them anymore to catch an earlier bus, because it's now become a been there done that thing.

Now I tell them no more excuses. When you're late, walk in and say, "BOY, this place is HARD to FIND." For one thing, it's as good as any ridiculous excuse you're going to make up. For another, I can lean on them and demand emphasis and enunciation. If they say it like they're asleep, I make them repeat it.

The students who are frequently late are really irritated by this.

"I'm sorry," they say.

"What do you say?" I ask.

"Can I pass?" they say.

"That's not what you say."

Sometimes they say the right thing, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they forget. However, the girl who sits closest by the door remembers. She will write it on a piece of paper and hand it to the latecomer. I give her extra participation credit.

Then I make them repeat it, with feeling.

I'm not sure why they hate it so much. My hope, though, is that they hate it enough to show up on time.

We shall see.
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