Opener, Bell Ringer, Do Now — These are some of the names for the 5-10 minute activity that starts a class. That activity performs multiple functions. Students are put to work right away. Students get to practice previous academic material. Teachers can take attendance and deal with small administrative issues.
I never did put Peter in as absent during those first few minutes. He wasn’t in his seat, but I knew the odds favored Peter’s eventual arrival. I wrote him a few referrals for tardiness. I called home. Others called home. I talked to Peter. Peter kept missing openers. He missed the introduction for a variety of new topics as well. In the end, he barely passed math.
Eduhonesty: When kids are walkers, if no parent gets them up and on their way, sometimes tardiness becomes a habit. I have hopes for Peter. He reads for pleasure. That alone can make the difference when (if) he pulls his act together. The potential remains for Peter to go on to college where he will need a remedial math class or two. I never give up on readers.
But Peter’s referrals might as well have gone directly into the recycling for all the good they were going to do. I wrote them because I needed to document my useless interventions. I recorded phone calls for the same reason. In the end, however, when a 13 year old is made responsible for getting himself up, a first period teacher may have little chance to fix the tardiness problem.
Looking back, I wonder if I should have been calling to wake him up. If I have a similar problem next year, I think I will try being the alarm clock. This approach may not work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess.