Teachers share reactions to students sleeping during class

Long nights and tiring days make it common for Uni students to sleep during school. Lunches, free periods, and Uni periods are times when students have the freedom to do so. Yet sometimes, kids can’t help but fall asleep during class time, and teachers have varying reactions to it.

English teacher Matthew Mitchell usually does not call students out when they sleep.

“I notice and I usually don’t call attention to it; I’m not into…waking the kid up in an embarrassing way. They’re embarrassed by it,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell thinks that at Uni, especially, students have a different attitude about sleeping in class.

“I don’t experience it as… a kind of thing about kids’ attitudes like, ‘Oh forget this class I hate it I’m just gonna go to sleep.’ I understand that if someone falls asleep in class they don’t mean to,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell also believes that students sleeping in class is not always entirely their fault.

“I don’t get upset, but just as a teacher, it’s a little like, you know, if you were giving a speech and someone was sleeping… you’d feel like it’s a reflection on what you are doing, whether it is or not,” says Mitchell.

History teacher Chris Butler agrees with Mitchell in that sometimes class gets boring.

“They’re tired. Maybe I’m boring. I lecture a lot, so that can be boring. I’m not being that facetious. I like to think I’m interesting, but nobody’s interesting all the time. When I’m showing videos in class sometimes I have a hard time staying awake!” says Butler.

Whenever Butler notices students beginning to doze off, he tells them to go drink water, which he believes tackles their dehydration, which also causes them to sleep.

“Kids your age, also, your sleep cycles are off because of school and you just have a different circadian rhythm, so you’re tired. I understand that perfectly, but …we have to deal with it. I’m not really mad,” says Butler.

Spanish teacher Juan Socarras, like Butler, actively tries to wake students up.

“I call him out. [Socarras says] ‘Hey, read this, this activity,’ then he has to do that, and I try to approach to be close to him,” says Socarras.

Socarras thinks there are factors which contribute to why students sleep in class, which include what period of the day it is and their extracurriculars. He believes that many times there is parental pressure in relation to students having these extracurricular activities.

“Some parents… think that to be talented, to be smart for their kids, is, in addition to the classes, these extracurricular subjects or things that they have to do. So many activities for students, then the next day they are dead here in the classroom,” says Socarras.

Math teacher Craig Russell has not seen a student sleep in his classes for many years, but if the circumstance did occur, he would respond differently based on what student fell asleep.

“I’d probably go check on them subtly, I wouldn’t wanna call someone out… If it was the class clown that was asleep, I might be more public about waking him up,” says Russell.

Biology teacher David Stone also says he is fortunate enough that students tend to not sleep in his class. The only instance in which he has encountered a student sleeping consistently, the student had leukemia.

Like Stone, Russell has had students sleeping due to medical reasons.

“I have had situations where I’ve known about medical situations with students and a student falls asleep in class and I just kind of let them sleep or I’ll go over and say would they rather go down to counseling office or something,” says Russell.