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One of the most stressful and time-consuming things I had to deal with my first few years of teaching was how to handle student absences! With multiple classes throughout the day in middle school, there are often lots of student absences throughout the day. I was spending a good chunk of time at the end of the day filling out absent sheets for every single one. Since I implemented my current solution, I no longer have to worry about this because my students completely take care of it!
So what is this magical solution? A class secretary! If you’ve read my post about my classroom jobs, you know that this is one of 10 jobs I use in my classroom. Even if you don’t want to implement a full classroom jobs system, though, you could just have a class secretary. You could easily ask for volunteers or nominate a student in each class to be the class secretary. There are always a few students who love to help out!
My class secretary is in charge of filling out absent sheets for any students who are gone in their class period each day. I train them to ask me at the beginning of class who is absent that day, and then they fill out the absent sheet(s) and staple any handouts to it.
In the picture above, you can see what my Absent Student Center looks like. I have a hanging wall organizer with folders for Monday through Friday. I keep a big stack of blank absent sheets behind the Monday folder, so the secretary can just grab them as needed. They let me know when I’m running low so I can make more copies. You can get the absent sheets I use here! (The poster hanging next to it is from Teaching the Distance.)
I keep an agenda board updated each day so the secretary can easily find all the information needed to fill out the forms.
After filling out the absent sheets, the secretary places them in that day’s folder. So if today is a Tuesday, the papers for that day will go in the Tuesday folder.
When a students return to school after being absent, they know to check the folder for the day they were gone to get their absent work. They can then follow up with me if they have any questions or if they need to schedule an assessment they missed.
And that’s it! Super easy. Do you have any tips for handling student absences?