Inspired in part by Dan.
You may not need to be told this, but attendance can be a huge problem at my school. When I took the time to look at the numbers recently, I was astounded by the number of students who had missed over 8 days this semester. That's 8 days since January 14. I guess it's less than one day a week, but still I don't think I missed 8 days of high school total.
The cynic in me notes that this is why I struggle to help students learn the material. If you're not here to hear it; if you don't have the time to practice it; if you miss bits and pieces along the way; if you miss a huge chunk in the middle; learning is never easy, but some situations create more work for yourself.
And yet, there are times when I feel like students would be better served outside my classroom.
The Gifted department has a field trip this week. Take 2 days (the middle 2 of our 3.5 day week) to go to Rapid City and Spearfish to visit colleges. For most students I signed the slip saying they could go no matter what their grade was. (I did say one student could not go. Yesterday was the first time I'd seen her in two weeks.)
I was disappointed when half of them showed up for class today. "Aren't you supposed to be on the trip?" For some reason, they decided not to go.
Yes, you need to be in the classroom learning. But some days I know you're learning more when you're not here.