Being Late for School
These days we see many children who come late for school. During our times like when I myself was a school going girl I was usually on time except for some unusual days like heavy rains or stormy weather, or the days my bike’s tire burst out. These sweet memories make me smile even today.
However, we had a special punishment for late comers. We had to run 20 rounds of the school play field with our school bag on. God, I never had to but it was a real threat.
Now I am a teacher and I see students who are regularly late for school. So as I said occasionally one may be late due to one good reason but being late everyday, or thrice a week calls for an action, yes there is a problem.
We do a lot these days to handle the situation. In one of my earlier schools, teachers had to arrive an hour before the usual school time and stand on the school gate to check each entrant and put on his name and class and section on record just to keep a track of who is late for more than ten times in a month.
Now being a teacher I have a different perception on this problem. I often ask myself were we controlling this habit of the children. No we were not. We were simply doing a duty as a routine because we were answerable to the management.
On this I think a teacher should have a stand, after all she deals with the children, she gets disturbed when all of a sudden in the middle of an instruction a child turns up to say he is present, or when she has to rectify the error of marking a child absent who actually was only late.
We should take it as a big problem as right from the beginning of the schooling we tell the little tiny tots that punctuality is the asset of humans, but we just watch them punished for the same wrong thing again and again.
Finding the causes
I suggest instead of being a mere spectator, we must try to investigate what makes a child come late to school day after day and almost everyday. Certainly the following reasons would come out:-
• Careless Parents: There are many children who are late to school because they are late at home. Many parents, who are careless about this or due to any reason fail to get everything ready for the child in time, unknowingly become a reason of punishment for the child.
• Aimless Wandering: It is not always the parents who are the culprits in such situations. Many times we see especially in the grown up students aged 14-17, the tendency to wander on roads for no good reason. Once a child repeatedly does this, it becomes his habit, and he starts liking it.
• Avoid Classes: One of the major other reasons could be that the child willingly tries to avoid the class, may be because he dislikes the subject or the teacher who teaches it. So he turns up late to avoid being a part of that period which he actually hates.
• Other causes: Then certainly there are many other causes like distance from his home to school, traffic on the way, conveyance he uses for school, weather conditions on a particular day and many more.
So, there can be numerous causes for this problem, which is definitely a big problem and requires immediate attention of our school authorities.
Suggested Cure/ Solution
Once the teacher has investigated the causes of unpunctuality in her class, she can adopt the following measures to solve the problem.
• Meeting Parents: The teachers must meet and talk to the parents of the late comer students, without letting the children know the purpose of the meeting. The problem should be discussed and the parents should be made to realize the need of being punctual to school.
• Keeping an eye: The teachers must keep an eye on the students specially those of the adolescent age. She must try to recognize the areas where he wanders and reasons if any behind that kind of wandering and wasting time.
• Establishing Rapport: A teacher must then try to establish a healthy and friendly relationship with the child. Without letting him know the reasons, the teacher must try to find out the deepest thoughts lying in his subconscious mind and analyze them in context of the problem of coming late.
• Keeping Away: The school must provide for good security within and nearby school premises to ensure that there are no strangers, wanderers or anti social elements trying to interact with the school children. On seeing such things, action be taken not only against the student involved but also against the stranger involved.
• Discussions in PTA meet: The problem should also be discussed with parents in Parent Teacher Associations so that the parents can take up actions to help their children be in time to school.
• Reward Programs: The school administration must announce a reward for outstanding punctuality of students. This may help create a competitive feeling in them and they would be desperate to get it.
• Deduction in marks: If the school administration starts deducting marks for unpunctuality and absenteeism more than 50% cases of late coming would be solved without any extra effort. It is so because more often we see the students as well as the parents are much bothered only about either the marks scored in exams or fines in terms of money.
• Monetary Fine: Another successful attempt would be to declare a fine in terms of money. The more a child is late, the more you have to pay off. Most of the careless parents would start checking on the matter then, and even if the student himself is the culprit, he would give up the habit due to his inability to pay the fine every time. Certainly this would not be the way he would like to spend his pocket money.
• Delegating certain duties: A very smart way out to solve the problem is to delegate some duties to the identified late comers. Like for the next day’s assembly they can get the news reading, line checking or speaking the thought of the day, or adding them in the choir or any other activity so that it is mandatory for them to be on time because of their duties.
• Self Checking: As often heard, to improve the system you have to be in the system, we should check our own shortcomings as well. The only fact that today we are in the position of the teacher doesn’t give us the authority to be late in school. All the academic and non academic staff including the administration should be there at the time of assembly to leave a positive impact on the students.
The problem of indiscipline is on an increase, all that is needed is the change in our outlook. We can’t just look at the old traditional methods that have been used on us as well as our grand parents. We talk of the changes in society, relationships, education scenario then why not in our methods, in our techniques to overcome a problem?
No problem related to children can be a problem. We make it a problem due to our failure to understand and then resolve it.
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