Stupid ass required attendance classes

Look, I’m 19, I’m a sophomore in college, I pay all my own bills, I can hold down a job, and I can damn sure take care of myself.

So don’t give me a fucking attendance required class. I hate going to class, and I don’t want to do it. I’ll show up the first day, get the syllabus, buy the book, read it MYSELF in like a week, then show up on test days and ace them. I don’t need to be in class. I don’t need to sit in an uncomfortable chair for an hour and listen to you just regurgitate the same crap from the book. If I’m truly having a problem with a section, I’ll show up on the day you’re going to talk about it and ask some questions. OKAY!?

Sweet crap!

Today in Spanish class, I walked in like 3 minutes late. The ‘profesora’ (she refuses to speak English during class) stops class and says “Teem! Whar were hyu hyestardey? Hyu know uhtendahnce ees required, no?” And I said, “I really don’t want to interrupt class, if you’d like I can tell you after class.” “Ho-kay, Teem. Hwar is hyur book?” “Uh, I forgot it.” And so on and so forth. Arrrgh! I forgot my freaking book! Lay off! And I was busy yesterday, I don’t need to go over pronouns AGAIN! YEESH! And she keeps giving me crap about not being in class. Duh! I’m not in class because I already know this stuff! Maybe in three weeks when we get to stuff I’m not familiar or comfortable with, I’ll start showing up more.

Now I just KNOW everyone else is going to have conflicting opinions on this, so it’s starting in the pit, where it’s sure to end up anyway.


teem, and may I call you teem?
When I was in college, yea, there were certain classes I felt were “attendance optional”. A language class, frankly wasn’t one of them.

Now that I’m a mommy, and watched my painfully bright son decide that HIS classes were optional and his grade point heading towards, well, not in a good direction… I pointed out to him that class attendance often meant an oportunity for class participation, and tho’ he MIGHT know, understand everything on this earth (including giving me driving tips before he had his license for **** sake), his insights and wisdom might JUST be the thing for some one else in class blah blah blah.
But, what the hell, I’m not ** your ** mommy.

So, if ya gonna skip, be prepared to discover oops they changed the time/place of the final at the moment you walk in the wrong place, and really, truly, language classes are not a good one to skip (my overall GPA was pretty damned good, and the ONLY time I got less than a B- in college was when I took a French class pass fail…)

High-five Tim!!

No fucking shit!! This pisses me off to no end. I have an 8am class 3 days a week. Just for fun, on Fridays it really starts at 7 in the fucking am and goes for two hours!The first hours is supposed to be a review session, which to me sounds like it should be optional, no? No! The motherfucker teacher gives a quiz in the first 5 minutes of class. The utterly heartless bastard!! Complaining does no good - the department thinks it’s great. Good hell, people. This is college, not the damn kindergarten!

As a student and a college instructor, I was on both ends of the attendance question. When I taught at the community college, attendance was mandated by the college because of funding issues from the state legislature. The college had to show a certain active enrollment to get the money. Otherwise, there are accreditation and government aid problems.

This was not the case at the University. Instructors could do whatever they wanted. I never took attendance for the courses I taught. I agree with Homer, in principle. If you can learn the material and pass the tests, you should be good to go. I did this myself for several classes as a student. Most notably physics and several psychology classes.

However, there are certain types of courses that do not lend themselves to absenteeism. Foreign language, english, history discussions, etc… If I were teaching one of those classes, you bet I would take attendance. If only to see who gets the benefit of the doubt for a borderline grade.

And here’s a hint, Homer. Instructors know who shows up and participates in a class. This can make or break you toward the end of the semester when you are confused about something, or you need to reschedule an exam due to unforseen circumstances. Professors go out of their way for interested students, and tend not to care so much for the student who, before the final, decides he needs extra help.

And you never know when you may need that help. Be smart, Homer, and get your butt to class.

What divemaster said.

As one of my professors always says, “Why should I break my back for you, if you waste my time? You’re expected to come to class: deal with it.”

I mean, should you expect your boss to pay you when you don’t come to work?

Cheese and rice!

Yeah, I have a couple of those classes. One syllabus, the dude put “Attendance is mandatory” but without the quotemarks. He didn’t really have a good explanation for me except “you need to come to class”. Quite frankly, I come to class. 1, because I paid for the class. I’m going to get as much out of it as I can without bleeding it dry. 2, because it’s part of the fucking grade system this guy has.

Oh, btw, this guy doesn’t BELIEVE in A- or B+ or whatever. He believes in whole grades, which can go ahead and fuck me sideways, because I know I’ll be like a point away from an A. Lemme tell YOU, my gpa is such that an A makes a difference and a B does not.

But in general, coming to class is a pretty good idea. You never know when the teacher will decide to give bonus points for going to class, or when s/he will give a pop quiz. I once did get actual points added to my grade specifically for coming to class, and managed an A- where I should have gotten a B because I came to class almost every time.

Tim, you paid yer money. Yeah, it’s yer cash. But why not get yer money’s worth? The purpose of the class is not to see how fast you can read the book. And reading a language, unless there’s a cassette along with it or something . . . that ain’t gonna teach you verbal/oral skills. You gots to go to class for that. I can see not going to a math class. Hell, I did that for business calculus and Psychology. But for the one French class I’ve taken, I wasn’t able to consistently wake up in the morning to get to it, so I dropped it. Would have been wasting my money otherwise.

My classes are attendance required. You would fail my exams if you had only read the textbook. I want my students to do well, and if that requires a bit of coercion, so be it.

Exactly. In most of my classes, I get WAY more from my notes than from the text, anyways.
IN fact, teachers don’t usually go just by the book-too easy to cheat on exams.

I’ve got a few funny stories about students who thought they could pass a class of mine without showing up. I mainly taught from notes, and used the text as supplemental material.

These were usually freshman, and can be exused a little ignorance about how college and/or the real world works. Some were able to learn the benefits of attending class pretty quick (like, after one exam). Others, though, didn’t get the message until that final grade hit them in the face.

The thing was, I didn’t mandate attendence while teaching at the university. I figured that a student could make his own decision, and would be adult enough to deal with the consequences of that decision.

For one class, I overheard a certain student (I’ll call him “doofus boy”) bragging to a classmate that he would be able to cruise my class without showing up. First test: 36%. Lowest in the class (well over 100 students). No-show for the second and third exams, or any lectures either. But guess what? Doofus-boy showed up for the final! As I handed him the test, I asked him what he thought he was going to accomplish. I suggested that he would have a more enjoyable day if he went to the beach or something.

But it doesn’t end there. I was also working as assistant manager at a bookstore (that’s what happens when you are ‘adjunct faculty’ on a semester-to-semester teaching contract). I was helping the manager with the hiring interviews. Well, who walks in for an interview? None other than doofus boy! I just sat there and stared at him while the manager interviewed him. I’m sure he wanted to just crawl out of there–he knew he was toast.

The manager and I had a good laugh once I told him the whole story.

Homer, I agree somewhat, some classes you can read the textbook, show up on tests, and pass. However, your language class is NOT one of them. I dont care how much you think you know the language. You cannot learn a language WITHOUT going to class to learn the finer points of grammar and useage. Trust me, i missed a day once and missed a lecture on an important bit of grammar and useage. Yes, you can learn to speak grammatically correct Spanish from a text, but in use it doesnt always work perfectly and you wont learn how to use it.

Why be in college and not go to class? You obviously chose to go to college and are paying good money for it. By not attending class, you’re wasting your instructors time.

My instructors never said attendance was mandatory, however, they said if you miss classes it will affect your grade. I know that in my school, instructors dont regurgitate from the textbooks (in my science class this semester, we dont have a text other than a collection of essays on science). I remember my Japanese culture instructor barely based anything in tests from the books we had, but based it mostly on his lectures. Also, most of my classes are discussion oriented. I could not miss most of them and expect to pass.

Most instructors have no sympathy for you if you choose to skip most classes and then fail. I don’t have much sympathy for your situation Homer.

I have a reputation among those in my med school class as being something of a slacker. I got this reputation because, around February of last year, I stopped attending lectures entirely.

Now I know what you’re thinking–sure, some freshman might get by with skipping BUN 101 occasionally after the big kegger. But to stop going to lectures entirely in medical school?

Yes, I did. I should explain that each and every lecture we ever had was accompanied by a sizable and usually complete handout. Seldom did the material stray from these handouts, and when it did, it was always easy to get the notes from someone.

I struggled like hell through the first year of school, and very nearly didn’t make it. In fact, I didn’t pass Gross Anatomy–I got a “U”, which is analogous to a “D”, and meant that I had to take a test during the summer to make up the grade.

I had three weeks to do nothing but study for the test. I spent 10-12 hours a day at my desk, reading books, making flash cards, quizzing myself. When the mood struck, I would go over to school and work on the cadavers. When I had questions, I would e-mail the professors or set up an appointment. Not only did I kick the test’s ass, but I genuinely enjoyed those three weeks.

Then we got back to school, and our Micro/Immuno block. Once again, it was four hours of lecture from 8-12 every day, going in one ear and out the other. One day during these lectures I began to think of how much more useful these hours could be if I were at home studying. I began to skip every other day or so. My grades went up somewhat.

Later, in our Path and Pharm block, I realized that the damage to my day was even more significant than that. For one thing, it really wore me out to go to class and try to get something out of it, and I usually didn’t want to spend the rest of the day studying. For another, my “peak study hours” are 10PM-3AM and 10AM-3PM, with sleep in between–an almost impossible schedule to maintain with lecture every day from 8-12. I decided that going to class was the worst thing I could do for my education, so I stopped. My grades shot up once again–my test average went up more than a full letter grade, while the class average stayed about the same.

The surprising thing was the amount of shit that I got from some of my classmates. One actually told me that I just thought of med school as a hobby; just something to do in my spare time. I countered that he thought of it as a obligation–something that he has to spend time doing. I actually think of it as a learning experience, and if lectures are keeping me from learning the science and art of medicine, then I owe it to myself and the many who have some interest in my success to not attend them.

There were three groups of people in my class. There were the Gunners, the 15% or so of the class that wouldn’t ever think of skipping, because they might miss something. I’m not down on them; they appear to actually get something from the lectures, and I envy them. (Note: not all of them are at the top of the class, although they do disproportionately well. I don’t attribute this to their class attendance–I think that their success and class attendance stem from the same internal drive.) Then there are the Obligated, those who attend class but don’t mind skipping every now and then. They don’t go to class because they get anything out of it; they either use the “I’ve paid for this class” logic, or they’re afraid of looking bad to profs and classmates, or they think that attending class is just what you have to do, no questions.

Then there were the very few of us who, as Robert Marion said in his book Learning to Play God, had “the strength of character to transcend the guilt.”

I don’t think that everyone should skip class regularly, but I would never teach a class that required attendance. I would hate to put some self-directed learner like myself through it. If others decide to slack and then fail, they’re learning a lesson that they would have had to learn eventually anyway.

(Yeah, it’s long. I was in surgery all day, and it feels good to sit down and type.)

Dr. J

One of my teachers still takes off marks because I don’t attend classes but at least I got him to admit that he was only doing it because he feels good when people attend his class and not because I need to.

It’s pretty funny because he taught Quantum Physics and Thermodynamics, I was enrolled in both yet I barely ever saw him. I only attended the first class of Quantum and all I did was argue with him for the first 10 mintues of class about how he shouldn’t penalize people for missing class, then I left when he started lecturing.

DoctorJ: When other students tell me that I’m not taking school seriously I make a note to go ask them their marks at the end of the semester. (WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU? DID YOU SAY YOU GOT A C?) When they get a low mark I chastise them for skipping class. (Everyone skips at least one class, right?)

I teach an attendance-required class, Homer, and your attitude is a common one. The class meets only once a week, so attendance is of utmost importance. The difference here, though, is that most of the points my students receive from me is based on attendance. They can ace all their quizzes and still get a C if they ditch my class.

I honestly don’t care if my students ditch my class- it’s their loss. They paid good money for information they chose to miss out on. If anything, I hate the disrespect it shows me. If you think I enjoy getting up early and fighting traffic and going to class every day, you’re nuts. I have important things to do, too. I work. I commute 3 hours a day. I take care of myself. I’ll be damned if you think you can tell me you do these things and therefore can’t make it to class.

I totally understand everyone’s views on foreign language classes, and I do understand that I need to be there to develop a feel for the language, that’s something no book could ever provide. BUT. I do not think this teacher should interrupt class every time I’m 3 minutes late, or have missed a day, and want to talk about it then. What if it’s personal? If you need to talk to me about it, you will do it AFTER class. Not during, and especially not publicly.

Second, even if a class is something you need to be there for, if a person can show up only for tests and still pass the class, I honestly don’t feel I could give them anything less than the average of their grades on the tests. They knew the material. They passed the tests. How can you give them a lesser grade?!

And finally, third, I do have some classes with compulsory attendance that I agree with the policy in them. One of my classes, Honors Colloquium, is a class with no tests, no homework, no syllabus. Nothing. You merely discuss for an hour, on whatever. We have presentations, we go see movies, we talk politics. We don’t have a textbook, or a set thing to do. We just learn from each other. It’s an awesome class, and you really DO need to be there. But this type is few and far between.

Audrey: One of the main differences is that I pay to be there, and you are paid to be there. Since I am paying, it’s my choice if I attend. Since you are paid, you must attend. I’m not paying $150/hr to sit in a class and have the text regurgitated to me. I’d rather sit at home and masturbate to UseNet porn. (I’m not saying that you merely preach straight from the book, I have no way to know or judge that.) If I go to a class, it’s because 1) There’s a hot girl in there that I’d never get the nerve to talk to, 2) a class with compulsary attendance, or 3) a class where the discussion is interesting and often veers off the textbook path. The classes I don’t go to are 1) full of ugly people (:smiley: just kidding), 2) boring, 3) straight from the book, or 4) boring.

Audrey, on another note… do you care if people fall asleep in your class? Because I had a small (30 people) class where the professor just ignored the sleepers, and I had another 150 person lecture class where the professor would stop the class and berate the sleeper.


I’m not paid. I teach the class because I know they need the help. I also do it because I love teaching that class.

My classes are small, also- less than 20 students. I don’t care if they sleep, but if I’m feeling particularly devious that day, I will do something to the sleeper. I’ll throw a dusty chalboard eraser at him. I might make mention of his less-than attentive state to the rest of the class. I’ll make him “volunteer” the next time I need a volunteer. I’ll quietly evacuate the class. :smiley: Something. Hey, you sleep in my class, you’re game for that kind of thing.


No offense, hon, but you have a thing or two to learn about pedagogy. If college is just about “learning the material,” then you might as well take a correspondence course.

Yes, my students get graded on class participation and attendance. Why would I bother to teach the class if I were only interested in getting them to memorize a list of facts? The textbook serves a crucial role–it imparts that list of facts to them, so we can then spend class time in analysis and discussion. I look at myself as a giant shortcut–I take years and years of study and knowledge and understanding, and distill it and serve it up to these undergraduates who really don’t know jack shit about the history of this (or any) country. They walk out of my class knowing–not knowing that William Howard Taft was the president between 1909 and 1913–but understanding how the hell we got from there (1492–a “new world”) to here (look around–you think Columbus would have recognized it?)

So many of my students approach me at the end of my semester and say “I’ve never liked history before,” or “You know, this was a crappy semester and this was the only class I liked, and it kept me sane,” or even just “Thank you for a great class.” And they beg to get into my classes the next semester. And these aren’t even the top students. Frequently, they are students that just sat there like bumps on a log the whole damn semester. Anyway, I must be doing something right.

Plus, I drop BIG hints in class about what things will be covered on the exam. You miss class, you miss the big hints. And I don’t think that the students do such a good job imparting this information to each other, either. The students who don’t come to class do poorly on the exams, end of story. (Interestingly, there is a strong correlation between where the students sit and their exam grades, too. The students who sit in the front or center of the classroom pretty much all get good exam grades. The people who sit in the back or corners, with a few exceptions, get poorer grades.)

I know there are plenty of professors who just lecture out of the textbook, and I really don’t blame you for skipping those classes. (I skipped more than a few myself when I was an undergraduate.) But you shouldn’t paint all classes with the same brush.

Come and sit in on one of my classes. I’ll school you, boy.

p.s. your Spanish teacher was out of line.

It says in my policy sheet that falling asleep gets you marked absent. I can’t believe I had to add that in writing, but when I had a daily sleeper–yes, daily–I told him at the end of the semester that he needed to schedule classes later than 10 AM. That’s right, this was a 10 AM class. His reply? “The fraternity’s kept me busy.”

BTW, you can’t pass my Composition class without showing up. Papers are only 60% of the grade, and there’s only one test. The rest is participation.

Personally, I think your Spanish teacher is going above and beyond the call of duty in trying to talk to you about it. Most professors would just say, “Don’t show. Flunk. I don’t care.”

I don’t think this means anything. Take some of those students from the front of the class and put them in the back, and move some of the folks from the back to the front, and I’d wager that the grades would work out to be about the same.

Some car insurance companies will give you a discount if you’re a member of AAA, because AAA members are better drivers. Is there something about a AAA card that makes you drive better? No; it’s just that people who care enough to join AAA are not as likely to drive like maniacs.

I freely admit that most of those who skip classes just don’t care enough about the material to put any effort into it. I think of myself as an exception.

(I should also point out that in my story above, I’m speaking of lectures, most of which consisted of a professor reading something to me in 50 minutes what I could have read myself in 20. We occasionally had discussions and the like, and I always went to those.)

Dr. J

Correlation does not imply causation. The students who sit front and center do so becausethey are good students. They are not good students because they sit there. As I said, there are also some good students who sit in the back. (But sitting front/center does allow you to see and hear better, so it probably does have some effect, albeit minor.)

I was alluding to the fact that if you are trying to make a good impression on a professor (and when he/she is grading you on class participation, you do want to make a good impression) you should sit somewhere in the front/center section so as to seem like a good student.