It started during Covid. I noticed that more and more students were chronically absent. Now that we are back in the classroom and operating in a “normal” way, student absences are still high. So how to handle absences in Spanish class? I have some ideas that will help students catch up without having the teacher lose his/her/their marbles!
When students are absent frequently, it causes all kinds of problems and it’s hard to know how to handle absences in Spanish class. Let’s talk about the #1 problem: the student that approaches you as you’re trying to change materials from your last class and answer questions while the new class is coming in. “Miss, did I miss anything”? Squash the impulse to give a sarcastic reply about how the rest of the world stopped while this kid stayed home, and instead, simply say, “Yes. Please check the lesson plans I post every week and let me know if you have questions”.
I’m not going to lie. Posting your weekly lesson plans takes extra time. However, I claim that the extra 5 minutes it takes is sooooo worth it. Check out this blog post about lesson planning if you are not a consistent plan writer. If you are, and especially if you type your lesson plans, your life is so much easier! Get my Lesson Planning Outline in the Free Resource Library!
First, you don’t have to search for anything because your activities are linked into your daily plans. And second, I copy the week’s plans into a new doc. I edit and remove links from things like assessments. I note what is also posted in Google Classroom. And every Monday, I post the lesson plans for the week. Because I KNOW there will be at least 10 absences during the week, if not more. All of those students can look there first, and sometimes I even have students who will complete their work while at home!
Papers Students Need
Another way to handle absences in Spanish class when there are paper copies involved is to just get into the habit of putting names on papers. Jonah is absent? I write his name on the vocab list I’m passing out, and make a pile on the front table. That way, it’s a visual reminder to me to give that paper to Jonah the next time I see him.
I do the same with homework or classwork papers, if I have a hard copy of them. I avoid writing a due date unless it is something that students will have many days to work on. For example, if it’s a homework paper for a Spanish 3 class, I don’t write a due date. (Usually this kind of homework is due the next day.) If it’s an AP Spanish report that students have a week to complete, then I write the due date.
For me, it’s all about creating systems to handle absences in Spanish class. If a student is absent on the day of an assessment, there are 2 things I always do.
The first thing is to write their name on an assessment paper. I make a pile throughout the day and put them in a drawer. When the student is ready to come in and take their assessment, I know exactly where it is. Each time a student comes in, I have a visual of names of who has not yet come in the make up their test!
The second thing I do is to enter a zero in the gradebook. I have the option to select “codes” and I also click “missing” and “absent” with that zero, as a way of letting students/parents know why they have a zero. I explain at the beginning of the year that I put that zero in as a placeholder. The zero usually tanks their overall grade. It’s not nice to see, and it really helps improve students remembering to come in to make up their assessment!
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