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Q: If a student comes in late to every class, should I say something? Amy T, Dallas, TX

A: Well……does it bug the shit out of you? Is the student disruptive? It’s common knowledge that this is straight up not cool behavior. Yet, it happens, and will always happen unless a studio has a policy about not letting people enter late, or locking the door.

I’ve dealt with this situation a few times over the course of my teaching career. And I’ve said something. But what I said was in question form. “Hey, what’s making it so hard to make class on time? I love having you in class, and just wondered if there is anything specific getting in the way of you being prompt?” The answers vary from poor time management to work to child care to parking. Typically, this resolves it without assuming or scolding. Bottom line, you can decide it’s okay, or decide it’s not and speak up. Your call.

There is nothing wrong with holding everyone to the same standards unless there is a truly legit reason why someone is always late. If they give you a reason you can live with, and you’re willing to make an exception, you’ll probably form a closer relationship with this particular student.

It’s also a great opportunity to get creative and step away from rigidity. You can set up props for them near the back of the room to cut down on disruptiveness. You can also use it as a way to practice dealing with distraction. It’s all how you look at it, just like anything else!