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Why is this important?

If students know that something meaningful will happen at the very beginning of class, they’re more likely to be on time. For example, setting an initial, graded task that cannot be made up provides incentive to be on time.

In addition, giving students room to be late is a passive endorsement of the late behavior. Lateness will not be well-received in the professional world, so it should not be condoned in the classroom setting.

Try these strategies:

  • Do not hold up the start of class or delay taking attendance for latecomers. Set an expectation early on that class begins at the scheduled time.

  • To encourage punctuality, you can make a practice of giving a short, timed quiz (for points) on the previous week’s material or research you assigned to them for homework. If they are too late for the quiz, there is no make-up, and late arrivals are not given extra time to finish. The quiz should not take more than 3-5 minutes.

  • Arrive early to have time to prepare. This models professional, organized behavior to students and communicates that you are engaged.

  • Allow at least 10 minutes at end of class to go over the homework assignment. Budget this time carefully to allow students to ask questions about the homework. This habit ensures that students leave with a clear understanding of your expectations for the assignment.

  • End class on time — not early and not late. Students have many commitments — such as shuttles or trains to catch, another class to be on time for, limited time for lunch or dinner, etc. — so ending on time is respectful of students' time. They will appreciate this courtesy.

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