Recently, a student came late to my community college class and missed a quiz. He told me that the bus he took was full, and he had to wait an extra half hour for the next bus. He was politely unhappy because I would not let him make up the quiz.
When I was new to teaching, I might have arranged something for him, even though I already went over the quiz with the class. I could have written a similar quiz and given it to him later. I now have no hesitancy in refusing to do this. It’s not my job to evaluate excuses. A quiz is worth approximately one half of one percent of his grade, and most students can afford to miss a quiz. I could have explained that I noticed he came at least half an hour late in one of the ten earlier classes. Coming late 20% of the time shows a lack of responsibility.
I simply refused. I didn’t want an argument, and I I didn’t want to explain. If he learns from this, I hope he takes an earlier bus. Perhaps he will just think I’m a mean old teacher that doesn’t understand the pressures he is under. That is probably true, but if he wants to get a good education, he will make sure he comes to class on time. If I took the extra time to write another quiz, I think he would come late more frequently, as would other students.
I don’t want to teach that lesson.
Postscript: The student was ten minutes late to the first test.