Why Are Kids Sleeping in Class Again?


photo courtesy of a former student, which was taken on a normal class day

In the last few years, in schools where I taught, sleeping kids reigned supreme as the top reason for discipline referrals. Day after day, the same kids were sent to the office because they could not stay awake in class.

Sadly, I can’t recall any moment when the issue did not fall back on the teacher. Instead, students were disciplined because they were too bored to stay awake and also because a referral was written….which must result in an action, right?

How about this action for a change…

Do something different in your class! 

In almost every case that I was privy to, kids were a part of a traditional desk in rows, lecture and worksheet packet environment. Technology was banned and their teachers seemed to be doing more talking to themselves than reaching their kids. Admins were well aware and did nothing. As a matter of fact, they backed the teacher and the message was that kids needed to comply…end of story. Or, the admin felt that their hands were tied in the situation. I call foul on that!

As a campus leader, if you are aware of disengaged teaching where situations such as the one pictured occur, it is your responsibility and duty to your students and school to do something about it. When entire classes are asleep, it’s time to take a hard look at what is happening in that classroom.  What can be done to make learning more interesting?

The path to correction depends on the situation, however there must be a path that results in improvement. Right now, the “deal with each student” method isn’t working and isn’t improving classrooms. Doing that is akin to ignoring a problem that won’t just correct itself one day.

Change starts from the top and that is in deciding NOT to accept sub par classrooms but choosing to take ownership of what is acceptable and expected. I can guarantee that kids, even when they won’t say it, WANT to be engaged. They WANT to learn and they want learning to be an experience worth staying awake for.

It’s time that we hold our profession accountable for that.


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