A Key Component of the Larger Provincial BPRC Strategy

No One Likes Teaching to an Empty Desk!

I don’t know any teachers who want to teach to an empty desk. Teachers work hard to create positive learning environments and plan their lessons to support students in becoming the best that they can be. When a student is absent, and if they are chronically absent, they cannot take advantage of their opportunity to learn and fall behind their peers. Falling behind never makes anyone feel good.

Parents only want the best for their children. They establish routines to make sure their children get to school. They help them with their homework, ask them how their school day was and attend school events to show their children that education is important. These parents know that if their children don’t attend school they will not achieve a grade 12 and without a grade 12 in this world their job opportunities decrease along with their lifetime earning potential.

There are legitimate reasons why children are absent from school: they are sick; they need to go to a medical or dental appointment that cannot be made outside the school day or they are accompanying their parents on a period of extended travel outside the school division. However, if a pattern of non-attending starts in the early years and there is really no legitimate reason for the child to be absent then the chances of them dropping out of school increase. The more school you miss, the easier it is not to go.

If your child does not want to go to school ask them why. If you cannot get an answer phone their teacher and talk to them about your concerns. Have a meeting with your child’s teacher, possibly including your child in the meeting, to discuss why they don’t want to go to school. Often what adults might view as a minor problem can seem insurmountable to a five year old or a 15 year old and it is our job to help our children work through problems and learn from them. The first step is to identify the problem.

Here is an attendance issue from my own experience. A student in grade two moved from one town in Saskatchewan to another. Both of her parents were in Education and both enforced the idea that school was non-negotiable: their children attended. Their youngest daughter had developed stomach aches and was missing an unacceptable amount of school because of them. This had never happened in her last school. The parents asked her what was wrong, but she couldn’t tell them. They met with the teacher and decided to talk to their daughter with the teacher about what was wrong.

During the meeting it was discovered that the child did not have coil bound notebooks like all of the other children. She did not want to tell her parents because she knew that notebooks cost money and she thought that asking for new ones was selfish. Her grade two teacher solved the problem. She told the student that she had some coiled notebooks that she would like to trade because the wire kept catching on her sweater. The child happily agreed to trade and didn’t miss another day of school that year. Not all situations are that easy to solve, but without communication between the home and the school maybe it wouldn’t have been solved at all.