Dear Mrs. C:
Our son, “Waldo,” does not like to carry his backpack during the school day at Buena. The problem is, because of the location of his classes (from one end of the building to the other) – and going to his locker – he is often a minute or two late to a couple of his classes. He is becoming annoyed that his teachers mention his tardiness. What would you suggest? He is a pretty good kid otherwise.
Signed: Concerned Parents
Good kid could become better.
Though not a 25-to-life type of crime, coming late to class is annoying, and – with repeated occurrences – could cause the TO (Tardy One) to be assigned some type of consequence. I would use this as a ‘teachable moment’ type of thing, and share that TO’s future employer would be oh-so-not-amused at this type of attendance pattern. “Five minutes early is on time” – one of my favorite mottos. Another approach might be to ask TO to imagine that he is a high school teacher (or employer), and some of his underlings chronically arrive a bit late. What might his approach be? Also could ask him what the implications are for folks who are chronically late.
“Waldo, darlin’, LGO (Late Great One), you are a tall, strong, young man. Let’s get those feet a walkin’ – directly from one class to another – so that you don’t delay the learning process. “But but but …. a couple of other kids come in late, so the teacher has to wait to start class anyway.” Wrong answer. LGO needs to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Here’s the deal, son-o-ours …. Dear old Mom and Dad can do a daily visual through ParentVue on each and every class ….to see whether or not you are on time, tardy, or absent/unexcused (which usually means ditching). Should that dastardly pattern appear – just sayin’ – it would be bye bye phone plus other valued activities – until you could get this pattern corrected. Comprehendo? “But but but … you are such mean parents – other parents don’t care if their kids are late to class … Can you cut me some slack on this?” That answer, of course, is NO, nada, nyet, never, don’t even think about it’ type of thing.
On the positive side … you could try this approach: “Waldo, young aspiring entrepreneur, as future CEO of Waldo Enterprises Inc., we know that you will have the highest standards for your Increasing Your Earnings Potential conglomerate company. Most millionaires and billionaires show up on time for their commitments. Hope you get the gist of what we are trying to impart to you.”
Regarding the ‘it’s too far to get from one class to the next one’ – not a valid excuse. We have walked every possible combination of ‘from here to there’, and five minutes is sufficient. Of course, that could mean that Waldo doesn’t stop to visit with Trixie or Bubbles; that he has thought ahead and snagged supplies he will need for his upcoming classes. A good rule of thumb is to get morning materials before first hour, then swap them out at lunch for afternoon classes. That way, he never needs to use precious minutes to go from class to locker to class.
Hope this helps!
- Mrs. C
ELAINE CARLSON is a Buena High School counselor. Questions can be sent to her at email@example.com.