I had a student hand in his final exam this afternoon with a question. “Are you on campus tomorrow? Can I come talk to you?”
This student has missed the last few weeks of my class. I didn’t know whether he was sick or just skipping class, although my teaching assistant reported that he saw him at the gym and around campus.
I expect that he’ll ask for leniency on a grade, or the opportunity to take an incomplete.
My syllabus clearly states that if you have a problem attending class, let me know before any missed time when possible. If you do that, I’m very willing to work with you to meet the class requirements with minimum penalties and maximum flexibility. If you don’t, there is no expectation that you can make up any work.
Right now this young man has an F in a Strategies for Success class. Ironic, sad and completely preventable.
Student Success Strategy #2: Let your professors know if you must miss class.
Even if you are skipping class, I’d like to know that you understand the importance of attending. If you use a fake excuse (once), I’d rather be fooled to show that I will listen to you when you really need to talk.
I will put in the effort to help you succeed, but it is up to you to show that you want to learn. Even in large classes, an email will show the professor that you care.
It’s not just a matter of courtesy, but a sign of respect for the class, your fellow students, and the professor. A simple email might be the difference between failure and a chance to recover the grade you need.