This paper will explore the issue of being late to class. The paper will look into the various cultural perceptions of lateness, as well as the effects of lateness. In exploring the affects of lateness, the paper will examine the negative impacts of lateness on both the late student and his or her classmates.
Arriving in class late is a common phenomenon in the school life of many students. Different cultures define differently what is late according to their standards (Deutch, 2007). Different students have a diverse perspective about lateness in class; some feel that the habit is costly to one academic life while others feel it is okay to be late. In some instances, students attend lessons even 30 minutes after the lesson commences. Students who have the habit of late arrival in school affect the learning process of the school. Many institutions have policies that try to curb the culture of students arriving in school late. However, the culture still persists among the student fraternity. The habit is usually trivialized by many students. However, as research has indicated, the habit is detrimental in the student academic performance.
It is only few students who can manage to attend classes for an entire term without being late for at least once. Students come up with many reasons that make them delay their arrival in class. Students develop many creative excuses. They may range from traffic jams, car developing trouble along the way, misplacing of note books, parents who are sleepy, mysterious alarm clock failures, argument with friends, among other funny reasons. However, this is not always the cause of the lateness.
Many students fail to arrive in class on time, because they do not see the advantage of being in class on time. This could be as a result of the failure of the lecturer or the failure of the student. For instance, if the lecturer does not communicate the consequences of lateness to the student, the student may develop an attitude that being late in class is a normal phenomenon. Students may also develop the habit of class lateness if the lecturer develops inconsistency in enforcing the consequences of class lateness. This makes the student believe that class lateness is not a major issue.
The habit of being late in class has a negative consequence to the student; the habit affects the performance of the student, because of various reasons. The chronically late students always develop a poor relationship with the teacher and the peers. To some students, time is highly precious, and when a student arrives late and starts disrupting the other students, they see it as disrespect both to the teacher and the students. The poor relationship makes the student end up hating the teacher or the vice versa. In addition, bad blood develops between this student and his fellow students.
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The late student lacks the chance to ask their teacher questions where he/she fails to understand. During discussion groups, not many students wish to be in the same group with the student who come late in class. The rest of the students view them as parasites that wait other students to do the assignment and then copy from them. This makes it difficult for this student to interact well with his colleagues; this affects his overall performance. In some instances, some colleges have developed policies where students who arrive in the class late for more than ten minutes are kept out of the class for the entire lesson. This way, the student loses the whole lesson for being late probably for 10 minutes or so. Consequently, this student misses important information from the teacher, and the final result may be failing an exam.
Besides, the habit of tardiness affects the individual student in his school life; consequently, these students affect the other students in the class. This student causes a lot of disruption in between lessons, which as a result affect their studies and the general class performance. These students who have the habit of being late in class are always the first ones to claim that lateness is not a serious offence in school, even though late students claim that they do not hurt anyone, the reality of the matter is that they do disrupt learning process in class. Late students must always be ready for the consequences of lateness they are causing to their peers (Thompson, 2006).
Regardless of how quietly these students try to slip into the class, they always cause disruption to other students. In addition, if other students see their colleagues arriving late with no consequences or any reaction from the lecturer, the students will believe that there is no offence in being late in class. Consequently, more and more students might develop the culture of arriving in the class late. This will multiply the disruptive effect as more and more students start coming to class late. A college student was once asked to explain why he was ever late in class; he stated that he never saw anything wrong with being late. This was because his lecturer had no problem with it neither did the lecturer express any displeasure after the conversation.
It is important to mention that after this incident, the number of late students in that class started increasing. In one lesson, half of the class arrived to class late; one student arrived in class 50 minutes after the commencement of the lesson. The lateness of such number of students affects the learning of the class. The teacher expressed a lot of disappointment since she had a lot of information that the majority of the students lost a great deal. This elucidates several questions: does the teacher contribute or perpetuate the culture of lateness in class? Does the teacher play any role in reducing the culture of teacher play in student arriving early in the class? Based on my own evaluation, the answer to the above questions is yes. Some students are late in some lessons, because they know that the teacher is lenient with them. However, they are never late in others where they know that there are consequences for their lateness. Therefore, in the above incident, the leniency of the teacher with the first student was a factor in the subsequent lateness. Students who are late to class also set a negative attitude in a class. This is by sending a message that whatever assignment a class has from a lecturer is not important and does not require making any effort to come to class early or on time. This leads to class shifting from learning to the power struggle between a lecturer and students (Soldat, 2008). Therefore, it is essential for lecturers and students as well to inculcate the culture of being in class on time. Teachers and lecturers must be in the forefront in fighting the culture of coming to class late. They can do this by enforcing policies about tardiness to the letter. The teacher/lecturer must ensure that students who are chronically tardy follow and obey the policy guidelines set by the school. Failure to adhere should result in consequences, which will compel them to take their classes seriously.
The teacher/lecturer should be conscious with time and ensure that as soon as the bell goes, they are there to begin the lesson and give students meaningful assignment. This will encourage tardy students enter the class on time. Additionally, it is important for the teacher/lecturer to find out about the background of the persistently tardy students. In most instances, these students who are latecomers consistently come from a disorganized family. In this family setting, children are never taught on the importance of being punctual. This habit is perpetuated from the family to the school setting (Soldat, 2008).
When dealing with late students, the lecturer/teacher should offer support to the student. However, it is important for the lecturer/teacher to put the responsibility of the students’ behavior on the student themselves. He/she should discuss with the students on the steps they plan to take in order to eliminate the problem of tardiness. The lecturer/teacher should be consistent in enforcing the policies on late coming and the student should always learn that there are consequences of late coming. As a result, the tardy students will strive to be punctual in class. In addition, from my point of view, the teacher/lecturer should make the chronically tardy student sit near the door every time. Students who arrive late in class distract others. As they try to get to their seats, they will distract the other students who are already present and thus cause them to fail to remember the correct answer when they write the final exam, thus reducing the chance of other students to pass the course (Bigbrain, 2010).
In conclusion, lateness should be avoided at all costs; this will reduce disruptions to the other students whenever the student comes to class late. When teachers give materials to students, they should place the materials on the desk of the tardy student near the entrance so that this will avoid disruption if he or she comes to class late.