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?

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    If you had told the teacher about the job and the conflict at the beginning of the semester they would probably have worked with you. Now you should probably just beg for leniency. – Dawn Apr 19 '18 at 21:22
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    So, you knew the 3 absence policy, knew your job would conflict with the course... why did you think you would be excepted from the rule without some prior discussion? Because you expected to claim illness caused you to miss >3 classes without some documentation? – Bryan Krause Apr 19 '18 at 21:33
  • @BryanKrause sounds stupid, but the course is conducted by two teachers. I've missed the tutorial of the teacher mentioned in the topic when he was talking about rules and requirements. I literally didn't know about this rule at the beginning – MozilaIP Apr 19 '18 at 21:44
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    Ignorantia legis non excusat - it's your duty learn about the requirements if you missed the tutorial. – user68958 Apr 19 '18 at 22:20
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    If you're even entertaining the idea of lying and commit forgery about this, you need to take a serious look at how you're conducting yourself. – aeismail Apr 20 '18 at 1:06

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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    Integrity is critical in life, as a student, as a researcher, as a professional, and in one's personal life. If someone is willing to sacrifice integrity for a grade, what will he or she do as a professional? – aeismail Apr 20 '18 at 1:04
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    @cactus_pardner thank you a lot for such detailed response and supporting. I clearly understand that I am an idiot and did many things wrong. I appreciate your willing to help, not to criticize – MozilaIP Apr 20 '18 at 23:25

Incidentally, a student approached me recently on an issue that sounds extremely similar.

My policy on absences is that if you miss three sessions, you fail the course (it's actually a university-wide policy over which I have no discretion). Exceptions are made only for proven medical exigencies. Some of the introductory sessions are taught by a colleague. The student in question said s/he was ill-informed about the policy and expected (and planned for) three work-related absences. However, the policy is stated clearly in the syllabus.

I told the student that the policy is what it is and that I can't make exceptions. (I can appreciate that it's hard to study and earn a living, but I work in a country that offers support for students from low-income households, and thus any jobs should work around university and not vice versa. If you want to study part-time, that's your choice, and you need to select courses according to your work constraints.)

If the student were suddenly to hand in a doctor's note for the third absence, I would be very suspicious. If there were obvious signs for it being forged, I would not let it pass. This could become very unpleasant. Apart from normative concerns regarding integrity and breaking the law, I therefore strongly advise against this, purely to protect your own best interests.

However, if the student made a very good case why s/he needs to finish this particular course at this point in time, and that her employer is indeed inflexible (i.e. the student can't take a vacation day), I would offer the student to submit an extra assignment to compensate for the missed session.

To the OP, I suggest to approach the lecturer (again), explain the reasons as above, and actively ask for an extra assignment. Again, I strongly advise against any foul play.

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