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Lie or try to explain reason of my absence during classes?

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Peter Jarvis


( 4 months ago )

I have a difficult situation about limit of absences during classes in my university.

The teacher of one subject made a rule that 3 absences with disrespectful reason during the course leads to fail grade. I've exceeded this limit because of my part-time job, which I need to perform in order to pay for my education.

One (and almost the only) respectful reason for absence is illness. Illness must be proven using a medical certificate from a doctor. The teacher asked me to show a certificate. Obviously I don't have it.

However, I did all the tasks and presented them.

Now I have a dilemma:

Try to forge the document about illness OR try to explain my situation about work.

Each option is a risk. The risk of forgery is obvious. And the risk of trying to explain my situation is that the teacher can say that he doesn't care about that, and then forgery will be impossible, and so I will automatically fail the course.

What should I do in this situation?

Brian Burl


( 4 months ago )

Take initiative about this, and be honest. By doing so, you can help your professor see you as a busy student who made a mistake, rather than a suspicious student who doesn't seem to care about the class (and who maybe gets caught in a lie).

Ask to meet with your professor in private. At that meeting:

  • Honestly explain that you have missed class three times because of your job. Even though you respect the professor and care about the course, your job has interfered several times, and you are dependent on that money for your living expenses.

  • Apologize, sincerely. This is for missing class, for conveying disrespect through your actions (it seems like that is part of the professor's insistence on attendance), and for [other effects of your absence on the class or the professor]. What did you lose out on, and how have you tried to make up for that?

  • Acknowledge that it is reasonable for the professor to fail you under this policy.

    • You now know that the professor has this class policy, and you understand that work is not a qualifying reason for missing class, and that three absences is an automatic reason for failure.

    • Because you were absent for the class when this professor explained the absence policy, you did not know right away, but it was your responsibility to find out what you missed during that class and learn about the policy in that way.

  • Ask if there is any way that you can make up for those absences. You would like to successfully complete this class if possible. If you can sincerely do so, tell the professor what you've already learned from the class, why you're interested in the material, and what you hope to do with your degree.

  • Calmly let the professor know that this is a big deal for you, but do not literally beg or (try to) emotionally manipulate the professor.

  • Recognize that the professor can say no. And that "no" is helpful to you: if there is no way for you to successfully complete the class this term, knowing this will allow you to focus on your other classes, research, and work.

Integrity is critical to schooling, whether you're on an academic or professional path. Professors will respect someone who acknowledges breaking the rules and apologizes. That respect might allow you to stay in the class, or it might mean they give you a fair chance when you retake the class. On the other hand, someone who evades responsibility and is willing to lie about one thing may be more willing to take improper shortcuts, cheat, or lie about other things. For your career, you do not want anyone to question your integrity, whether you plan to conduct research or enter a profession.

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