Friday, February 22, 2013

Perfect Attendance

I was reading an article recently about how it's not such a great idea to offer attendance awards for perfect attendance during a brutal flu season, because it encourages kids to come in when they're sick with the flu.

I'm a little bitter about perfect attendance awards. In high school, I never stayed home sick once the whole four years. But did I ever get a perfect attendance award? No. Because I'd be out for math competitions and somehow those would get recorded as absences, even though I was doing freaking math.

Still, even if I had legitimately been out sick one day with the flu or something, would I really deserve an award less than another kid who didn't get sick with the flu? I mean, it sucks enough to get the flu, but then they take away an award?

And really, who is making the decisions about whether a kid stays home or not when sick? Isn't it the parents? I couldn't just waltz up to a teacher and say I decided to take the day off because I felt like it. I needed a note from my parents (or guardian).

I think it's good to reward attendance, but not in a way that punishes kids who are legitimately ill. And it perpetuates that pattern in certain professions I can think of.... *cough* doctors *cough*

Of course, I think an important point to make is that kids who are going to play hooky probably don't give a crap about getting some stupid certificate. I missed the part of Ferris Bueller where they're freaking out about not getting a perfect attendance award.


  1. I taught in a school where they gave teachers awards for perfect attendance. It was always men who got them because their wives stayed home with the kids when they were sick.

  2. My daughter is involved in a competitive sport which she absolutely loves. She trains on Fridays and misses school. The fact that she now has to be even more organized and diligent about her schoolwork is worth much more than a perfect attendance record. (For the record, her marks have not suffered)

  3. Did you guys ever ditch in highschool?

  4. I remember at my senior year high school awards, there were like 4 people who had perfect attendance from kindergarten to 12th grade. Not only did they get applause/awards, they also got ipods. I knew one of the girls who got one, and remember her coming to school when she was sick so it didn't mess with her perfect attendance (she went home later that day).
    Really WTF - way to encourage showing up to school sick.

  5. A college admissions recruiter once mocked me for mentioning my perfect attendance. I didn't go there and I'm still pissed off about it. Yes I was fortunate to have good health, but I was also a dedicated student. I sure didn't show up for the awards because we didn't have them.

  6. On one of my awards days in high school they called out 4 names of kids with prefect attendance that year, apparently my name was called out, only it ended up being a big joke because I was home sick awards day!

    If I remember correctly though they gave my certificate to my sister to bring home to me....

  7. I had top marks in my French class, but some other girl got the top marks award. I think I missed a quiz or something, or stepped on the teacher's toe, I don't know. Or he just didn't like me. I was pissed off. I never tried very hard in those classes after that. The top students could bugger off and fight over who is better - the chick with 97% and perfect attendance, or the chick with 98% and one day of school missed due to her getting top five for some math competition.

    My 85 got me into university just fine. And I stayed home when I was sick.

  8. It was an odd occurrence in my house growing up when I didn't get a letter from the state board of education about missing too many days of school (for the record, I competed internationally so I had to miss school just to travel to competitions). Almost two years done with med school... have to say that my lack of attendance then didn't affect me THAT much ;)