Early Bird is Late to Class

New month and new student teaching dyad placement! It has been exciting and a little nerve wracking transitioning from 2nd Grade to 8th Grade English/ Reading.

The most notable difference I have observed is how tired my 8th graders are coming to class. Droopy heads, sleepy eyes and postures that clearly say “I do not have time nor the will power to think, let alone LEARN about allegories this morning!”.

It is an incredible difference to my 2nd graders who bounce in with tales of the previous evening, questions for the day and skip and holler like they have just risen from a solid eight hours of sleep .  With the 8th graders however, they slough on to their desks and zone out until a classmate speaks to them or the teacher gets everyone’s attention- a challenge on its own right when the clock reads 7:25 AM.

It is no great mystery as to why I am seeing such huge difference in morning behavior, after 6th grade students attend class earlier. And the older the student the earlier class starts – which  we all know is not creating a productive learning environment.  This is nothing new, and will not change before I embark on my first year of teaching. My question is what can we do to best rouse the academic life lost within the students morning haze? I eagerly await your thoughts!

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5 thoughts on “Early Bird is Late to Class

  1. That is a part of my middle/high school experience that I completely forgot about! One thing that I know causes older grades to start earlier is availability of bussing–districts have to logistically be able to transport all these students with limited number of buses and bus drivers! So staggered start and end times is the best answer :/

    Given that’s the situation teachers have to deal with, how does your teacher try to engage them so early in the morning? How can we encourage older students who are likely experiencing more freedom at home to be responsible with how they spend their evenings and make sure they get enough sleep?

  2. This hits all to close to home, bringing back memories of me forcing myself to class all throughout high school and sneaking naps during silent reading time (oops!). However, I do remember in middle school having P.E. as my first class one year. This really helped to wake me up and get my mind ready to take on whatever learning task was ahead of me. I’m not sure if it would be appropriate, but maybe your teacher could try to do an activity that involves some sort of movement and collaboration before class begins?

  3. I agree with Thoughts and Ramblings of a Future Educator, activities that get them moving would be best. The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) says “Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.” I’m sure that applies to students and school work as well!

  4. Interesting comments about the exercise. This makes me feel less guilty about my sixth grade daughter ice skating before school. On Mondays she is up at 5 and on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5:30. We really try to get her to bed by 8 but often times it’s closer to 9. (My second grader usually has 9-10 hours of sleep, so he’s the luckiest in the family)! So far though, my daughter is doing great in school and not complaining about being tired. Maybe because we are so aware of the fact that she has to get up SO early, we are better about enforcing bedtime.
    The third grade teacher where I am placed for my DYAD offers “morning mist” first thing in the morning. He walks around with a spray bottle of water as the students are getting situated for the day and spritzes anyone in the face who wants it that day. (It’s totally optional). It does wake you up! I tried it one morning.

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