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Missing class calls for student, teacher action

Oracle Editorial Board

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Your alarm rings on Thursday morning and you sigh with dread. Another day of tests and quizzes that you know you should have studied for, but didn’t. It was an off week, and you just didn’t have the motivation.

“Mom,” you shout from your bedroom, “I’m not feeling too great. Could you call me out for first block? I think I just need one more hour of sleep.”

You would miss your first block history test and can make it up later. There was still the math quiz third block, but your 94 percent quarter grade feels pretty secure. Even though you didn’t study, one bad quiz grade wouldn’t be the end of the world. You go back to sleep, satisfied with your decision.

Many students use getting “called out” of class as an easy way to avoid stress about a certain piece of classwork, such as a test or quiz. In the scenario above, the student had plenty of warning and opportunity to prepare for the test they would be taking that day, but decided to put off the test instead of studying.

According to a non-scientific Oracle-conducted survey of 365 students, 48.5 percent said that they have missed class in order to postpone an exam or specific classwork, just like in the above scenario. In light of these survey results, the Oracle Editorial Board would like to suggest alternative methods for students and teachers to handle this type of situation.

STUDENTS:

You may have heard this before, but getting called out does not actually solve the problem; it simply postpones it. There are many ways to advocate for yourself and avoid feeling the need to get “called out.” Though some of the tips in the above graphic may seem obvious, we urge you to take them into account when you are faced with stressful schoolwork situations.

Being in class is the best way to learn and to stay up-to-date on assignments, and missing class should be the last-resort option in stressful situations. That being said, if you’ve tried to study and still feel like you’re very unprepared, getting “called out” might still be what you choose to do. While you should definitely make sure it does not become a habit, getting “called out” every once in awhile for a break from stress is okay, as long as you know what make-up work is expected of you.

TEACHERS:

The Oracle Editorial Board would like to acknowledge efforts made by South teachers in order to balance test-taking and student stress. With that said, the Editorial Board also believes that there are a few ways teachers can work to improve communication so that getting “called out” is always a student’s last resort when they feel overwhelmed.

Keep an open-door policy. Remind students every so often of your office hours so that if they have questions or concerns, they can talk to you and come to a solution instead of avoiding the problem they are facing. Although some students may not take advantage of this opportunity, it will  make a difference for struggling students.

Give students some input on dates for tests and quizzes. If your curriculum allows the flexibility, send out a Google Form asking students which day, out of only a few options, they would prefer to take a test. This way, the majority of students will likely be prepared to take the test or quiz on the day it is given. Spanish teacher Rachael Rothrauff used this method with her Spanish 4 class last year, and she says it was successful in improving student test scores and overall learning.

“I’m really happy to be flexible because I want [students] to be able to prepare well,” Rothrauff said. “That was sort of our deal. […] If we postpone it, I want to know that it’s because [students] are then going to prepare for it.”

Try not to be too harsh on students you suspect of getting “called out.” Instead of giving them harder make-up assignments or a short period of time to make up an assignment, try to talk to the student and come up with an appropriate due date based on their situation. While some students may not be responsive to this, reaching out may encourage the student to talk to you first next time.

When it comes to school, students will always face certain levels of stress regarding classes and assignments they may find challenging. A major part of the learning experience during high school is learning how to manage this stress, and if students and teachers work together, this stress can be managed in healthy and productive ways. Avoiding stress by getting called out of class will never effectively reduce it.

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Missing class calls for student, teacher action