What should my attendance policy be?

“This is from my 1106 syllabus:

‘You are expected to be in class each class period.  If you must be absent, understand that it is your responsibility to make up any work you may have missed.  Understand as well that you are responsible for any assignments or changes in the calendar that may have been made in your absence.  Students in writing classes generally do not do well if they do not attend class regularly.  I expect you to be here.’

“I ask students to let me know in advance if they are unable to be in class.  They do that:  they email before class, not to ask for an excuse, but to alert me to the absence.  I always reply, thanking the student, offering sympathy (if appropriate), and advising him/her to contact someone from class re: what went on that day.  If there are further questions, they know I can be reached by email.”

“Composition classes are ‘studio’ classes.  They are ‘how to’ classes.  They are like gym or home economics or shop or music or art.  They are places where students should be doing things every day.  You can’t learn how to play volleyball or cook mussels or play the saxophone if you don’t attend class, and you can’t get credit for doing something if you are not there to do it.”

“If a student is there, make it worth her while. If a student is not there, it’s her problem. I don’t count off if they are missing – but if they aren’t there, they aren’t handing-in their journals; they aren’t getting the assignment; they aren’t doing an in-class journal/exercise that I count. I take roll, though, so that if someone says, “I’m doing A work, right?” then I can say, well, “I wouldn’t hire you, Jane, because you’ve missed 7 classes.”

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