Would you fail a student if it meant sending them to fight in Vietnam?
Being a soft teacher is the best teacher one can be. Also, I hate grades. Why we make such a big deal around them for 20 years of our lives, when we don't even need them in real life? SO much stress for something so useless. I'm 33 and I still have nightmares about having exams, and I was pretty good at them. When I was working at the university all I wanted to tell students was that grades don't matter. But poor kids, they don't know any better.
I hate to admit, I probably would, except Vietnam was very real to me so maybe not. BUT I've fired employees for being tardy back in the 70's, those were the rules. And even though the last time was "not their fault, for a really good reason" I'd say it's not this one time it's the 18 previous times! This was back before flexible work schedules...those were the rules. Silly rules.
Absolutely identified with this, as someone who spent most of her career teaching in a community college, being an easy teacher because, unlike so many of my colleagues, my goal wasn't to flunk or drive so many students away that I wouldn't have to shoulder the impossible load (250 students a semester). What had convinced me to work at that community college was its commitment to the idea of taking a student at what ever point they were at, and helping them achieve whatever goal they wanted to achieve. We weren't gate keepers, we weren't there to sift out the chaff, we weren't there to judge what that goal should be. Did students flunk my classes? Of course, they did, but I also gave multiple second chances, for those who made the effort and didn't judge them when they didn't or couldn't. As I read this post, I also had the thought that one of the reason I chose indie authorship, self-publishing all my books, rather than the traditional route, was because I don't like gatekeepers. I don't like the idea that there is only one goal for publishing, and that a couple of individuals- an agent or editor-determines whether or not I achieve my goal of getting the stories I write out to the people who like to read them. I love the idea that a writer's goal can be a memoir to hand out to their family, a chap book of poems, a manuscript of the heart that doesn't fit their brand if they are also published traditionally, but that the process doesn't have to be "hard" ie make it through the traditional gates, to produce a good result.
I would give the student tutoring, then create extra-credit assignments and hope they pass. UNLESS it was a core course gate-keeping a career where their performance meant life or death for other people. There are nuances and tradeoffs, like with everything else.