Even though the semester is just starting, I have noticed that many students are absent every day! This is not really a new observation because in my TA position, my Geometry class had 6-9 students missing daily. Although I don’t know why, I was under the impression that this semester would be different. Being in a small, affluent district I guess I figured that education have a higher value resulting in a lower absent rate.
My first two hours of the day are both Algebra 1 classes while my afternoon classes are normal 8th grade math courses. There is a noticeable difference in the attendance rates of these two courses. Typically we have 0-1 missing in Algebra but in 8th grade math it is more like 4-5 absent.
With people gone each day, it makes the job of teaching WAY harder! I find it hard to keep track of all of the work students need to make up. I have to help them make up the homework assignment, the Checkpoint Quizzes we do multiple times a week, the in class notes, etc. In 8th grade, it seems it is still partially my responsibility to ensure the students complete their missing work. Even though this is complicated, I can handle it and I know it will get easier as I continue to teach and make my own system. Yet, I feel like the main question I am debating is, when students are absent is it better to have then make up the work (like a quiz or test) as soon as they return and miss another day’s lesson or, have them do the lesson with us and make up the work at another time? Neither seem to be a great answer, I wonder if there is something better. It becomes complicated if students need to come in and make up a test at lunch, before school, or in home room because they often can’t finish it in one sitting. That doesn’t seem right to me…I believe could give them an unfair advantage. Yet, if I have them make it up during class time they just end up farther behind by missing yet another day’s lesson. Does anyone have suggestions, what is the best way to do this?