At most schools, there are no policies for when a teacher is late or absent from class. However, at almost every school, there are policies for when students are late and absent.
According to the Washington Post, one in four U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school. As well as 29% of teachers were counted absent in the 2015-16 school year, which was twice the number of students.
Though occasional absences are sometimes annoying to students, it is usually for good reason. However, a teacher’s tardiness is a separate issue. It is a common thing for students to oversleep, or be careless with getting to class on time, but when it is a teacher adopting those bad habits, it puts everyone at a disadvantage. To prevent and avoid this, teachers should also be counted tardy when they show up to class late.
Teachers are the most important part of a class. When they show up late, it can put their entire class behind on written assignments and lectures. Whereas when a single student is late, that student is typically the only one at a disadvantage. Moreover, when a teacher comes to school late, all the students miss out and are the ones paying the consequences of something they cannot control. Because teachers are rarely penalized for being late, that could lead to them being careless about arriving on time, which does not set a good example for their students.
Many students ranging from preschool to highschool look up to their teachers. When teachers are late, especially ones who work with younger and more impressionable kids, it could set the standard that being tardy to school or work is okay. However, if they are held accountable for their actions the same way students are, it could promote timeliness and organization to their students.
It is important that classes are supervised by an adult or responsible person. When teachers are late, not only will their students be kept waiting, but they are also not being watched, and have the freedom to cause chaos if they wish to. Most students, primarily in elementary and middle school, are not mature enough to be left by themselves at home, which means that they likely are also not mature enough to be left alone in a classroom setting, where they are with their equally childish peers. An environment like that could end in complete madness. If teachers were counted tardy and held accountable for being late, they would not continue to show up late to unsupervised students.
Though in most cases, people strive to be on time, it is normal to run late every now and then. Teachers are certainly not an exception to this common thing. Because they work so hard to prepare our classes, and are not on the same level as the students they teach, they should not be treated as such.
However, even though tardiness can be excused sometimes, if students have to be penalized for being chronically late, teachers should not be an exception to this rule, even though they are their student’s superiors.
Teachers should be held accountable for tardiness like students are, but instead of giving warnings and detentions, schools should have their own systems of holding teachers accountable for lateness that promotes timeliness to their students. The Chicago Tribune, for example, reports that at some Illinois elementary schools, the teacher’s tardiness comes out of their paycheck.
Every school has their own unique system of holding their students and teachers accountable, whether it is regarding tardiness or something else. So whether it is a slight punishment or something more drastic, teachers should at least be recognized as tardy when they are late to class.