4 ways teachers can encourage punctuality

It was William Shakespeare who said ‘Better three hours too soon than a minute too late’. More than four centuries have passed since he crafted this immortal quote, yet still it’s as relevant as ever. In fact, it will surely ring a few bells for those who are currently teaching in the UK. After all, they don’t only have to monitor their own time-keeping but also that of their students. A typical school day usually gets started before 9am, but often there are at least one or two individuals who walk into the classroom a few minutes late. If you’re a teacher tired of this constant interruption, here are four ways that you can encourage punctuality.

Set an example

Never forget just how much influence you have over your pupils. That’s why you should lead by example and always be on time. If you’re late, you’ll send a message that it’s OK to arrive whenever. Obviously, there are valid excuses for being late – and it does happen to everyone. Just make sure that if you ever fail to arrive on time that you apologise immediately.

Start on time

Don’t wait around for those who are late. Instead, always be sure to start teaching at the time when you’re supposed to. This way those who are late will know that they are missing out because of their poor punctuality. Also, be sure to avoid dawdling at the start of each lesson or your class might give out the impression that the first five minutes or so are skippable.

Find out reason for lateness

Make sure that you don’t allow people to walk into your class late without an explanation. Obviously, it might not be practical to probe for excuses immediately in front of a room full of their peers. However, you should be fine to take someone to the side at the end of the lesson to discover the reason for their lateness. In some cases, you might be able to advise the individual about how to be on time in future.


Be sure to recognise the efforts of those who are routinely on time. You could do this by handing out certificates at the end of each term.

Make a change

You should find that an increased level of punctuality has a positive effect on several aspects of your classroom. It should be especially beneficial around the exam period when it’s imperative that your students maximise as much of their time in school as possible.

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