Something that sets the tone for the entire Seminary morning is my early arrival. It is something I am committed to and I can count on one hand how many times I have arrived in the parking lot and had students or parents waiting for me. This is such a tender mercy for me as I have struggled with not being a "morning person" for most of my life. My class starts at 6am and my goal is to be there by 5:40am. I know it is the Lord who is making this possible and, most of the time, waking up at 4:45 is easy (not always- but most of the time) It makes such a difference in the spirit when I arrive early and set up details for the lesson without rushing or pushing. As my students arrive, I like everything to be ready and waiting for them-no rushing around on lesson set-up. When the classroom and lesson are ready for the students in advance, it provides me with the opportunity to greet them and let them know I am happy to see them. I like to get a feel for their spirit, tone, mood, etc. Many times I will see one of them and know exactly which part of the lesson I need to spend the most time on.
Most of my students arrive early and are in their seats ready to start at 6am. The students who are on time are rewarded with a treat from the "on-time" jar, however, there are still a few who push the late arrival limits on a regular basis. My class is so large the room set up has the students facing the entrance doors that any late arrivals is very disruptive.
I don't like giving attention to this situation, but at the same time, the students who make the effort to arrive on time are affected by the interruption of late arrivals. The spirit leaves and it it difficult to get back on the flow of our lesson when students are trickling in and trying to get settled.
Right now, when the students arrive excessively late (much after 10 minutes), I send them to the Bishop who is in the building each morning. They get to sit with him and read and discuss scriptures. It has been very effective and the late arrivals stop for a few weeks and then the same students start slipping back to their old habits. The Bishop is very supportive and he makes sure to speak with their parents and discuss how to get their children to Seminary on time.
It is painful for me to send these students to the "Bishops class" because I want them with us, yet it is the right thing to do for our situation. I am grateful for his support.
Other than the sending them to their Bishop, I am not sure of an effective way to address late students without giving it too much attention.
What has worked or not for your class?