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Why your attendance matters

Your teachers, and your school, have rules on the number of days you can be absent.  That is because they want you to attend class!  Here's why:

  • You're likely to get better grades.  You can't learn if you aren't in school.  Research shows a clear link:  students who come to class do better in school.
  • You're likely to get a better job.  The habits you set now - attending class every day and coming to school on time - will carry over into the workplace.
  • You're more like to stay out of trouble.  One study found that 78 percent of those who ended up in prison had a first arrest for school truancy.
  • You'll be more like to graduate.  Missing too many classes is often the first step toward dropping out.  Students who drop out of high school have a higher rate of unemployment.

excuses, excuses . . .

It's tempting to skip school when you haven't studied for a test or when you stayed up too late with friends the night before.  But by staying home, you risk falling behind on classwork.  Consider why the following are not good reasons to stay home:

  • "Classes are boring."  Not every class can be your favorite.  Try to find something about the subject that interests you.
  • "I don't like my teachers."  It's normal not to get along with everybody - but that's just a part of life.  Remember, your teacher is in charge and deserves your respect.
  • "I don't feel safe at school."  If you have reason to believe you are not safe, talk to a teacher, your counselor or other school officials.
  • "I feel stupid".  Do you often find you just don't get it?  Find a "study buddy" or a friend who an help you after school.
  • "My job is more important."  Your most important job right now is getting an education.

Don't let mornings drag you down!

The annoying thing about mornings is that they arrive so early.  But, on the bright side, you know they're coming, so you have plenty of time to prepare.  And the better prepared you are in the morning, the less likely you'll be to run late, miss the bus or (worst-case scenario) miss school altogether.  To keep your mornings hassle-free and your attendance record spotless:

  • Prep the night before.  Lay out your clothes, plan your lunch and load up your backpack.
  • Know how you'll get to school.  Don't wait until the morning to make arrangements.
  • Get enough sleep (about nine hours).  Having a regular bedtime at a reasonable hour will help, too.
  • Don't squeeze in too much.  Just shower, dress, eat and go.

Sounds good, but . . .

Here is a list of things that sound like too reasons to skip school - but they're really not.  Discuss them with your parents:

  • Doctor or dentist appointment.  Schedule it before school, during your lunch period or after school.
  • Family vacation.  If your family has scheduled a vacation during the school year, talk with your parents.  Could it be rescheduled during a school break?
  • Babysitting for your younger sibling.  Your number one job is being a student, not a child care provider.
  • Being unprepared for class or a test.  If you didn't study or didn't complete your homework, it's your responsibility to face the consequences.  Talk to your teacher.  Together, you may be able to think of a way you can make up for it.

So what are good reasons to miss school?

  • A death in your family.
  • A family emergency.
  • When you are truly sick.

If you must miss class, contact your school.  See if a classmate can bring you the assignments and class notes.