Teacher Explains Why He Let Student Stay Asleep In His Class

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The classroom can be a great place to broaden your horizons as a kid; but it’s also a stressful place of exam pressures, expectation and academic discipline.

Sometimes, it’s too much, especially for kids who have other responsibilities. Monte Syrie, a High School English Teacher and Professor of Education, gets it.

This awesome teacher let his student sleep in his class and his explanation went viral:

A girl in his class, Meg, who Monte described as having ‘zero-hour math, farm-girl chores, state-qualifying 4X400 fatigue, adolescent angst, and various other things to deal with’ fell asleep at her desk.

So also didn’t hand in an assignment he’d set.

But Monte didn’t shout or take it personally because, as he put, his class in only a part of her life – not her whole life.

student asleep behind booksPexels

Monte wrote:

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.

Monte Syrie, English TeacherMonteSyrie/Twitter

Monte continued:

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. 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.

female working Pexels

When Monte ran into Meg while out doing his food shop and 6:45am the morning after the class in which she fell asleep, the student told her teacher she’d finished her essay.

At the time, Monte said via tweet, ‘she was getting some breakfast before her 7:10 math class’ and ‘she’d been up since 5:00 doing chores’.

You can read the whole story below:

As we all know, school stress can have a truly damaging effect on the mental health of all young people in education.

Stress was the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, and UNILAD partnered with the #IAMWHOLE campaign to help combat the stresses and strains leading up to exam period here in the UK.

Here’s what founder, Jordan Stephens of Rizzle Kicks, had to say:

If you’re not lucky enough to have a teacher like Monte looking out for you, there are lots of ways you can combat stress. In the meantime, someone has got to give this guy a medal.

If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.


Francesca Donovan

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.