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Tips on Deterring Tardiness

Tardiness is disruptive to the learning process. While it may be unavoidable on the rare occasion, unattended or unnoticed tardiness can persist and become chronic. The following tips are provided to assist in deterring this problem

  1. On the first day of class, review your policy on tardiness. More importantly, adhere to it. If you are considering making exceptions, keep in mind that while the student who is asking for an exception may have a very legitimate reason, you don't know what sacrifices the other twenty students made to arrive on time. Also, allow for some flexibility in your policies. For example, some faculty give their students one "pass" that they can use towards being late, no questions asked.
  2. Model promptness by starting on time and ending on time.
  3. Have a routine at the beginning of class that students would hate to miss (e.g., a warm up activity related to the topic, an in-class writing assignment worth a few points that can not be made up, a homework quiz that they have the first ten minutes to work on together, etc.). Whatever the activity, it should not be interrupted or extended for latecomers.
  4. Have logical consequences for being late. Do not reteach the class or stop what you are doing. Hold the students responsible for obtaining any missed information, handouts, etc. and make this policy clear at the onset.
  5. Speak privately to chronically late students. Remind them that you are on their side and you want them to succeed, but according to the syllabus...
  6. Specifically acknowledge the late student(s) by saying something like "Hello. How are you today?" However, this does not support #3 and 4 above, but it may better suit your style.


Reed, Rosalind. "Strategies for Dealing with Troublesome Behaviors in the Classroom." The National Teaching and Learning Forum 6.6 (1997): n. pag. Web. 8 Oct. 2008.

Rodriguez, Lisa. "Classroom Management." Web. 8 Oct. 2008.

"Civility in the Classroom: Tips for Dealing with Troublesome Behavior." Faculty Guide. Texas Tech. U., 2008. PDF file.

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