Dealing with Problems: Personal Responsibility in School
When some students miss class or turn in an assignment late (or not at all), they may think ignoring the problem or pretending there isn’t a problem will make it go away. One of the things you learn throughout school, though, is how to take responsibility for your actions (or lack of actions). The following sections cover how to handle common problems such as missing a class, a homework assignment, a test, or other work.
Miss a Class
If you miss a class, first explain to the instructor why you were absent. Most instructors are understanding if you have a valid reason for missing class (such as you were sick), but don’t assume the instructor knows why you missed class. On your first day back (or even before you return, if you can e-mail or leave a phone message), make sure your instructor knows why you missed class.
Next, find out from your instructor what happened during the class. While you shouldn’t expect your instructor to redo the class just for you, he should be able to tell you what class activities you missed (lecture? group discussion? quiz? test? worksheet?). The instructor may also be able to provide you with any handouts and assignments given during the class. If not, ask another student and make copies.
When you know what you’ve missed, you can seek to catch up by completing the appropriate worksheets by borrowing notes from a classmate if the instructor gave a lecture the day you were gone, by scheduling a retake of the quiz (if allowed), and so on.
Let your instructor know that you’re interested in making up the work and turn in the missing work as soon as possible. This shows responsibility on your part. For some class activities and assignments, you may not be allowed to turn in the work late. For example, your instructor may not allow makeup quizzes. If not, you have to suffer the consequences of receiving a 0 or F for that assignment.
Miss a Test
If you miss a test, make arrangements immediately to take the test. Like missing a regular class, make sure your instructor understands why you missed class (especially if you had a valid reason and weren’t just skipping school that day). Be prepared to take the test your first day back, even if you were sick the day the test was given.
Your makeup exam is important, so you need to know exactly when the instructor plans to give the makeup. For example, do you need to take the makeup exam the day you return to school? If so, get any study materials you need from school and study from home. If you missed a study session, ask a classmate to borrow his or her notes. If the instructor schedules the makeup test later (not your first day back), be prepared and don’t put off or reschedule the exam. Get it done as soon as possible so that the information is fresh in your mind.
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