Sunday, March 08, 2009

Perfect attendance?

When I was a wee lass, I was only allowed to stay home from school if I was actually producing vomit or diarrhea out of my body. Or perhaps obvious red chicken-pox like marks. Or maybe a high fever. There had to be physical evidence, otherwise out the door I went, complaining and whining about feeling sick be damned. Of course, I'm sure it helped in this regard that my mother was a nurse, and my dad was a cop, and they both worked (though my mom didn't work until I was about 7 or 8). I couldn't pull the wool over their eyes by faking illness, and they didn't want to have to stay home and miss work. So that was that. And yes, there were occasions when I got sent home later in the day after I barfed all over the floor, but hey, at least I made the morning classes.

When it came to undergraduate studies, I missed quite a lot. I was a slacker who was relishing my freedom and discovering a love of alcohol and nightclubs, and thus my perfect attendance record went completely out of the window. I ended up with a poor grade, and lifelong shame. It is a regret of mine that I wasted some good opportunities at college just because I wanted to party.

So this time around, I am studying something that I find interesting, that I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be good at what I do, and I want to get good grades. I am also now a responsible adult who turns up to stuff when required. I kind of assumed that others would be the same way, and so I find myself shocked that people miss classes ALL the freakin' time. One of them missed Saturday morning's class because she had a headache (this being a class where you have to have at least 95% attendance to get a passing grade). Others will miss classes and say they weren't well, or their back hurt, or they had stuff going on. And then today, I went to a totally optional, six-week qigong class that one of the teachers is doing. Nobody had to do it, no pressure. One other girl in my class said she'd go. Did she turn up? Nope. I called her and she said she didn't feel like it but she'll probably go next week. OK, I mean, it's optional and all, but when it's an exercise class you kind of need to know the basic moves first so not turning up to the first class seems a big deal to me. Also, I find it disrespectful to the teacher if he is planning for so many to turn up and then half just don't bother. The man is giving up his Sunday morning and you can't be arsed? If you weren't going to be arsed, just don't sign up in the first place! What if he turned someone away because all the places were filled? What if he really needs the extra money?

I mean, seriously, is America full of sissies that get sick all the time or do they just not care?  I pretty much don't get sick - I did get that norovirus that was going around last year (or was it the year before), but other than that I don't remember missing work due to being sick in the last 5-10 years (not counting IVFs).  Also, do Americans not find it disrespectful to the teachers not to show up in class? Do they think that nothing useful is said in class and that it is easy to catch up with 10 minutes of skimming someone else's notes?

I just don't understand.


bleu said...

They do not care, at all. Sadly true. They also have grow more and more each year and each decade it seems to take others feelings less into consideration, I am not sure why but thoughtfulness seems to be passe.

Almamay said...

I think they are spoilt and don't realise how lucky they are to have a free class.

I have come across this before and some people don't understand that you can't demand respect without giving it.

Sara said...

I don't think that respect for teachers even crosses the mind of the average US student. Yes, there are exceptions, glorious exceptions, but the rule seems to be that it's all about me me me all of the time.

Miss X said...

I missed work today b/c I had a migraine. I felt guilty about it and still do. Thanks a lot! ;)

Care said...

I always felt guilty when I skipped class in college (the first time around.) But seemed like most of my peers felt class attendance was optional, so long as they showed up enough days to get credit. When I went back to school later on, I never missed a single class (although I might have slept through one or two after pulling a night shift that ended rigth before class.) Now, that said, I do get sick more than most - always have - but generally still go to work unless it's something contagious. It's tempting to take a sick day every once in a while for mental health reasons, but would feel way too guilty to do that.