When was the last time you saw a dunce cap in school? In the classroom of the 21st century, it’s all but impossible to find one of these ridiculous relics of the past. Public shaming is making a comeback, however, this time in the form of announcements. Since the office began to issue attendance reminders and call attendance-avoiding teachers by name last year, there’s not been a single day in which classes — both morning and afternoon — haven’t been inexcusably interrupted by pleas to “excuse the interruption”.

I hate attendance; always have, always will. For a paragon of unpunctuality such as myself, a strange day is one in which I show up to school on time. Needless to say, announcements about the attendance annoy me. As biased as I may be, I’m not the only one who has expressed distaste for the twice-daily interruption of classes for the sake of petty housekeeping. We are all familiar with the groans of students as the list of teachers is read aloud, and even teachers sigh as they are forced to put their lesson on hold.

Don’t get me wrong, the teachers themselves are partly to blame as well; if they were consistent in sending in their attendance every day last year, the office would never have implemented such a ridiculous means of punishment. Now, we’re left to wonder if the announcements would stop even if all the attendance sheets were to be handed in on time. We’re left with teachers so afraid to hear their name over the PA that they hand in the attendance as soon as class begins so latecomers are simply marked absent.

Still, somebody had to have come up with the idea of disruptive daily attendance announcements. Surely the office has less disruptive ways to make sure attendance gets downstairs on time. Why not impose a penalty on attendance-avoiding teachers in private? Or perhaps page just the offending teachers without interrupting every other class? In response to my issues with the attendance, the office administration has said that since the implementation of attendance announcements, the number of teachers who send their attendance sheets late has dropped dramatically: “Teachers don’t like hearing their name over the PA; reading their names over the announcements has been very effective as a deterrent and a lot of schools are doing it now.”

Ignoring the desperate defence that a multitude of other schools also humiliate their teachers over the PA, the administrators make a fair point, and most people would be happy to end the debate right there. Even so, I can’t help but wonder if the same “effective deterrent” argument could be used to defend the use of dunce caps.

Having said all that, Ms. Liebster has stated that she and the other administrators are always happy to take any suggestions. So if anybody has a less unusual (and preferably constitutional) proposition for how the attendance should be collected, or just want to make a suggestion based on anything else that ‘a lot of other schools do’, don’t be afraid to make your way down to the office and make your ideas heard; I promise you won’t be forced to stand in the corner wearing a triangle hat.