Get excited, Steve is irritated again. I ask for your attention today as I completely dismiss any notion of validity to the concept of collegiate attendance policiesa grand load of horse shit indeed.
Let's review the common sylabus-staining garbage: "You are allowed TWO (2) non-excused absences over the course of the semester. Each absence thereafter will result in some completely unjustifiable penalty to your grade." Throw in some meaningless variation and that pretty much covers them all.
So here is the situation as I understand it, Mr. Professor: I am paying YOU good money to be here, which I will spend the next 30 years paying off including interest, on top of the books (addressed in previous rant) I bought for your class. Fair enough I guess, if you're a good professor I can handle that. But you're telling me that if I choose to do something else with my time other than come to your class, you're going to penalize me for it? How does that work? My boss pays me my salary, but how do you think it would go over if I told him I'm going to fine him $100 for every day of work he missed?
You may be saying "Well, freshmen are generally not accusomted to the discipline required to be successful on the collegiate academic level, therefore some such guidelines must be set in place to ensure their creation of good habits in their first year and beyond". My response? Fine. Freshmen are largely immature and feel free to attendance policy your heart away on them with my full blessing. Counterpoint dismissed.
Regarding the non-freshmen undergrads and grad students, I find that at this point in our lives we are responisble for nearly every aspect of our daily routine. I get myself out of bed, I make my meals, I do my laundry, I manage my money or lack thereof, I study, manage my time for all activiitesto sum it up in the words of the cute kid from Big Daddy "I wipe my own ass! I wipe my own ass!!!" So, no disrepsect to your class, I realize what it means to you, but what if I decide on a given day my time is better spent doing something else? Like sleeping off last night's all you can drink, or studying for a class that might have some semblance of meaning in my future? Maybe I can get the grade I want without being there 97.5% of the time, and what the hell do you care if I do well anyway? What's that? Ohhhhhh, if you didn't have an attendance policy, no one would come. Hmmm. This policy thing really doesn't force you to make the class enjoyable, interesting or worthwhile now does it? and you get paid regardless.
Some of the greatest classes I've taken were taught by professors who agreed to some degree with my line of thinking, and did not have an explicit attendance policy. Rather, they created an atmosphere people desired to be involved with and exceed in, and people came to every class because they wanted to be there. I would speculate that those classes saw less absenteeism than the shitty ones we were forced to attendthe ones where we'd die before ending the semester without using our two "free' absences. So to the good and wise professors out there who have figured this out, I commend you, spread your ways amongst the rest. To the others, read my blog every day. You are allowed to miss TWO (2) days, but aside from that I need a noterized doctor's note explaining to me why you missed; and beyond the aforementioned TWO (2) days I will begin to deduct points from your paycheck