Clubs, sports create additional school absences


Ji-Sung Lee

When sophomore Avery Samuel is in softball season, she is absent for nearly every other fourth hour class. For tournaments, it could be a day and a half of material she misses. This constant cycle of playing catch-up is certainly not limited to softball players. With an abundance of clubs and sports filling student schedules, achieving perfect attendance can be difficult for those managing multiple extracurricular activities at the same time.
In Samuel’s experience, making up work is difficult because she doesn’t hear the teacher’s lesson, causing her to rely on copies of the notes to learn the content, which sometimes makes it hard to do homework. Samuel, however, said she understands lessons shouldn’t work around athletic schedules.
“I don’t necessarily think about the school work when going for a sport,” Samuel said. “I do it because I enjoy it, and yes I have thought about the school I’m missing because of softball, [but] in the end softball is what could get me into a college and help me out in the long[run], so I continue to play and just get the homework done when I have time after practices and games.”
As Samuel doesn’t believe school should revolve around sport schedules, junior Corinne Farid sees fairness in the opportunity costs of having to make-up school work for another activity. As a tennis player, Farid misses at least one day per week during the season but missed closer to two to three days due to poor weather conditions and rescheduled matches.

“I definitely find it fair [that I have to make up missed work] because tennis is my passion and it is something I value very much in my life,” Farid said. “There are some cases when I would miss school and not have a lot of extra work to make up, but usually I have some sort of homework or project to get ready for.”
When it comes to teaching, French teacher Krista White relies and appreciates networks such as Schoology, which helps because assignments, links and new materials can be posted for the students to get caught up.
“I expect [students] to let me know ahead of time and get the work finished before the next class,” White said. “The student should take responsibility for being absent and catching up.”
Student-athletes have guidelines they are expected to meet.  In the state of Missouri, student-athletes must earn, in the preceding semester of attendance, “a minimum of 3.0 units of credit or have earned credit in 80% of the maximum allowable classes in which any student can be enrolled in the semester,” according to the Missouri State High School Activities Association.  Farid said as an athlete, it is up to the students to make sure they get the work and notes in advance.
“Recently I’ve been finding it harder and harder to get my work done and caught up because of how much work I miss,” Farid said. “Usually it can be pretty manageable but just this last week I had a lot going on in all of my classes.”
Being absent, however, spreads further than to just the athletes in the school building. As a member of the Speech and Debate team, junior James Glaser misses about a day or two of school a month during his competition season.  Glaser still finds it manageable to make up class work, although missing a test can tack on a few extra days to fully catch up.
“Definitely, some classes have a lot of time dedicated to review,” Glaser said. “Even in content heavy classes, I’m able to catch up on new content because a lot of teachers will stick to the textbook or upload agendas online.”
Looking to the future, Glaser knows he will be absent for his last Calculus 3 midterm  because of a debate tournament. Since it is a course taken at the University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC), the school has different rules that apply to missing class time.
“Since it’s MU, they have a policy where if you miss a midterm you get the same grade on it as your final,” Glaser said.  “The result is that my final is going from 30 percent of my grade to 45%. Besides that, [missing class] is all pretty manageable, although tests can be difficult to make up in other classes too.”
As students reach the peak of their season and start to see an increase in school absences, either in sports or clubs, the flexibility of teachers certainly helps students stay on track.  Ultimately, it is communication and proactivity that ensures student success.
“Most of my teachers are very generous and patient with me,” Farid said. “[They] help me figure out times that I can come in and do the work or they will tell me to get my work done as soon as possible as to continue moving with the pace of the class.”
How often do you miss class for extracurricular activities? Let us know in the comments below.