Last week, Montie Syrie, a high school teacher in Washington state, tweeted a thread about letting his student sleep in his class. Since then, the thread went viral.
You may be thinking: so what? Perhaps the answer is because Syrie is showing thoughtful empathy for his student, who he describes as a track athlete with “farm girl chores” who undeniably is exhausted. Instead of reprimanding her for falling asleep, he lets her sleep. He explains:
I can’t control the world outside. I can’t offer Meg a math class later in the day. I cannot feed her horses (many horses) in the morning or evening. I cannot run 6 race-pace 300’s for her. I cannot spirit away her teen trouble. But I can give her a break.
But I can give her a break. She was not being rude or disrespectful yesterday when she nodded off. She was tired. So I gave her a break. I can do that. And I want to believe, I have to believe–else my life is a lie, that it will come back in the end. And it did. Meg got her
— Monte Syrie (@MonteSyrie) May 16, 2018
The entire thread — seven tweets in total — went viral in part (I assume) because so many read it and wanted to say “thank you.”
One responder tweeted: “You could have written this about my 17 yr old daughter. Teachers like you are such a blessing to our children.” Another fellow teacher said: “Knowing our students and doing our best for them is the best, hardest and most important part of our jobs.”
And perhaps my favorite response was this: “So glad you’re treating your students with empathy. It’s something they will never forget, and it’s something they will pay forward. Thank you for doing what you do.”
It comes as no surprise students are overtired. In general, Americans recently scored a C- when it comes to our sleep habits. There are a handful of studies that explain how inefficient sleep among high schoolers is common, and can lead to an array of health issues. Others say sleep deficiency among teens is an “epidemic.”
This Twitter thread seems refreshing, minding us that teachers are human are so are students. Sometimes life exhausts us to the point we doze off in class. And that’s okay.
Just take a lesson from Syrie:
I know we all somewhat subscribe to this notion that there’s a right way of doing things, and letting kids sleep in class falls outside the boundaries. I get it, and I’m not suggesting that we make it a permanent part of repertoire /routine, but I am suggesting that we sometimes trust our instincts, even if it goes against the grain, maybe especially if it goes against the grain, for I am not always convinced the grain best considers kids. In a different room, Meg may have been written up for sleeping in class and given a zero for a missing essay, but she wasn’t in a different room; she was in my room. My room.
You can read the entire thread here:
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