I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!

By Karen McCafferty

We all know how important it is to challenge late-coming in class but it can be very disruptive to learners already in the room if you stop mid flow to speak to late-comers. (It also gives them a chance to make a grand entrance).

A couple of years ago I started using YOU ARE LATE cards as shown below. I have also shared this resource with colleagues who have adapted and used it, so it is tried and tested.


1 Sit down quietly and don’t disturb anyone else’s learning.

2 Make sure your lanyard is around your neck or clearly visible on the desk in front of you.

3 Switch your phone off and put it in your bag.

4 Get your books, folder, pen and calculator out – be ready to learn.

5 Stay behind at the end of the lesson to return this card and explain your absence to your tutor.

I had a few of these printed on bright orange paper and laminated. As the late student enters, you can hand them a card without saying anything (or leave a pile by the door and train students to pick one up if they come in late).  Since the cards are printed on bright orange paper they are clearly visible so you are less likely to forget to ask the student to explain their late-coming at the end of the lesson.

Instructions can be adapted to suit your own course requirements.

Mark and his team in the Copy Shop will laminate resources for you, but please give them plenty of notice as laminating is a time consuming job.

Some departments do have alternative ways of dealing with late-coming, eg students complete a ‘late slip’ so check what your department policy is to ensure consistency across the teaching team.


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