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I have had a problem with students missing performances this year. Parents will write excuses for them. My policy is misses should be for emergencies and illness only, but I get excuses for family events, unable to get rides, etc. The students get the performance calendar at the beginning of the year (Sept.). I have gotten excuses for concerts and parades. If I put a zero in the gradebook for missing a performance, they go to my admin and complain. I then hear about it. The students don’t dare do this for our sports teams-they know they’ll be benched. They don’t understand they are in a performance class (that’s a huge portion of their grade). How should I get students to have ownership in what they do and not just show up to band during the school day? I’m frustrated as a teacher that the school wants performances, but won’t back me up in holding the students accountable. HELP!
I’ve had the same problem in the past. What has helped me was to have a frank discussion, a pep talk if you will, with the band a couple of weeks prior to the performance. Remind them how important it is to work as a team and how the other band members are depending on them to be there. I give them a Performance Reminder letter to take home and have signed by their parents and returned with enough time to call the parents of the students who don’t sign or say they can’t make it. It’s much harder for people to say “no” to you personally and it also gives you an opportunity to work out any issues with rides, etc. Also, your dependable upperclassmen or section leaders can be helpful. Ask them to talk to their section or underclassmen about what is expected of them. You can even have elections for President and Vice President, etc. They too can be an effective go-between. Best of luck.
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