I had a crazy, terrifying teacher in first grade. She carried a ruler around and banged it on your desk when she screamed at you. She sat kids in the corner for just looking at her the wrong way and never let us use the bathroom, which ended in lots of puddles on the floor. But despite her sadistic teaching methods and rules, she taught us one thing of importance–being on time.
She would tell us daily that being on time showed respect, good work ethic and manners. She said, “a person that shows up late is saying ‘I matter more than you’.” This is the one lesson that I agree with, and being on time is the one thing that I see less and less of these days.
I am a Pre-K teacher and every single day kids are brought in late to school. My daughter is in kindergarten and at Back to School night, her principal said that lateness was a big problem. Not only are the kids missing out on the morning routine, but they are being taught that they can show up whenever they want.
I asked a couple of local preschool directors if lateness was a problem at their schools and not surprisingly–it is….
We have the families that are perpetually late. Most try hard to get here on time and are usually very apologetic about being late, but it seems to me that there are just some folks who are never on time. This is the reason we need penalties for late pick up of children. I tell the ones who are always late that next year in public school they won’t be able to do this– it’s a real wake up call for some.
We have families who routinely come to school late. Over the past few years we have started our school year with a Family Orientation meeting that is required of all incoming families. During that meeting our Family Services Director discusses this issue at length along with other pertinent school/home information.
We discuss the feelings that children experience when they walk into a classroom that is already working; the late arriving children miss valuable time to interact with peers and teachers and get prepared for the day’s work. We liken it to adult’s work and the feeling one has when arriving late for an important meeting or presentation.
This proactive approach has helped to decrease the number of late arrivals; however it continues to be a challenge for us.
I’m not perfect. I was late picking up my oldest daughter from school yesterday because I’m potty training my little one and I had to wait for her to use the bathroom before she had an accident in the car. Poop happens–we all mess up sometimes. But teaching our children that they need to be somewhere on time is an important life lesson.