That sounds like a very good idea, in theory anyway. The first day of the semester, I always give The Speech about how to excel in my Spanish class. Number One on the list is coming to class each and every day. Why? Well, class, you should come to class because attendance is 15% of your overall grade, I like seeing my students in class, and if you come to class, you might actually learn something. Most students do come to class just because it’s required. Others, however, think attendance should be optional and nothing I say will persuade them to come to class more frequently.
A few years back, a student enrolled in my class who took skipping class to a new level. He showed up the first day of class and then I didn’t see him again for two weeks. I couldn’t figure out why he would miss so many classes. One day, as I was reading the university newspaper, I noticed a guest opinion piece in the editorial section titled, “Let’s all go to class,” in which the author stresses the importance of attending class. In fact, he keeps harping on it even though he missed a lot of classes the previous semester to sleep, play video games, and almost finish writing late papers for his English class. In principle, I agreed with the idea that all students should attend class, but something about this piece made me suspicious. The author was named Patrick. So I immediately remembered him. That’s one thing you should know about me. I don’t often remember names unless your name is David, Catherine, Adam, Yolanda, Patrick, Poindexter, or Allouissius. So I suddenly realized that the author Patrick was the student whom I had only seen on the first day of class and then never again. About two weeks later, he showed up to class again and I asked him if he was the author of the guest opinion. He blushed and admitted that he was, in fact, the author. I asked him if he had ever considered following his own advice. He looked at me as if it had never occured to him! I didn’t see him in class again for another two weeks. His attendance the rest of the semester was very sporadic and somehow he managed to pass the course!