Managing Lateness to class.   Case study 1 – A day in the life YS, a “late” student

The learner who is late will be acutely aware that he is late and has yet to learn how to manage lateness to class.

He knows he will be asked to explain.  This may have happened once this week already because he woke late one morning, struggled to get out of bed and then his bus was a bit late.  He feels uncomfortable about the situation and wonders how he will be able to get away with it today.  He’s not sure whether the teacher will be on time, sometimes she isn’t.

If the teacher is on time, he knows he won’t know what’s happening in class because he’s missed the introduction.  He hopes the teacher is late.  He’s already a bit behind with his work because he didn’t know what he was doing from the last lesson.  His teacher didn’t have time to explain everything to him when he was late last week.  He looks at his watch and realises that it is nearly at first break, he’s missed 45 minutes of his first lesson.  Is there any point going to the class?  Maybe he should just go to the cafeteria and have a bottle of coca cola while he waits for the others to arrive for break time.  He knows he has now missed more than an hour of coursework for one of his units.  Oh well, it was a bit boring anyway, he can catch up later.

The second lesson starts OK, he knows what he’s doing and the teacher for this session doesn’t know that he didn’t go to the earlier class.  She starts the lesson on time, it’s a good lesson because she does lots of different things.  The teacher marks him as ‘present’ in the register.  He gets on with his work.  That was a good result for him and he feels motivated.

At lunch break he decides to go into town via the college bus which runs every 15 minutes.  He gets into town easily but he misses the return bus because there was a queue at McDonalds.  He’s going to be 20 minutes late back from lunch break and he isn’t sure if he can remember which room the next class is being held in.  He can’t ask any of his classmates because they didn’t go into the town that day – they think there isn’t enough time on Thursdays because the timetable is tight.  He begins to wish he hadn’t gone into town, but it isn’t his fault he’s late.  He needed to get a McDonalds and how could he have known that the queue would be long?

He knows that his teacher will be cross about him being late so he wonders whether to just go home or to “front it out”.  He decides to go to class and face the consequences.

In class the teacher has just finished the explanation of the lesson and the other students are starting their work in groups.  He arrives noisily, complaining about the late bus and greeting his fellow students.  He grins self-consciously at his teacher.  His teacher realises that she now has to shoe-horn this late student into a group in order for him to complete the work for this part of the unit.  The other students are all in full flow, and aren’t at all pleased that they have to allow a latecomer into their group and start again (so that he can catch up).  They loudly complain and the late student gets defensive, angrily justifying his lateness and further disrupting the flow of the lesson.  He is issued with a cause for concern ticket by his teacher.  This day is getting worse and worse for this learner.  “What’s the point?” he asks himself.  Nobody wants him in their group, and the teacher won’t help him to catch up.  It’s not his fault.  He feels like he won’t ever understand the work on this course.

This student is at risk of leaving, because he is often late.  He could become a NEET statistic by the end of the first term.  What would you do?

Managing lateness to class