The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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How one Norrix history teacher deals with students sleeping in his class

Credit: Kylie Ruiz
History teacher James Johnson instructs a class that mostly has their head down. Most teachers at Norrix struggle with students sleeping in their classrooms.

U.S history teacher James Johnson knows that students definitely don’t get enough sleep at night because he was once a student and remembers how busy it can get. Due to this reasoning, Johnson has tried to make many accommodations for students. 

“I would never discourage people from outright not going to school, but at least they will get better sleep at home then if they come to school and sleep anyway,” said Johnson.

A question that Johnson often asks students sleeping in class is “are you alright?” By the end of the trimester, he starts to get a little more combative if the sleeping is constant. At this time, Johnson may be heard saying, “you need to stop sleeping, you’re failing,” and “time to wake up.”

Sleeping in class and refusing to wake up or being combative leaves Johnson with no choice but to call or email home as a consequence.

Sleeping in class means students are not listening to instructions. If students aren’t listening, then they’re not participating, and then they aren’t learning what they need to learn. 

“School isn’t just a checklist of things you do when you feel like doing on Google Classroom,” Johnson said. 

Students learn from listening and doing activities related to the lesson. They also learn by interacting with other students. Sleeping and refusing to participate could put students in a bad spot when the test comes around. 

Johnson tries not to be overly confrontational when he encounters a student sleeping. He usually just taps on the desk or the back of the chair instead of touching students, which could make them mad or scared. Forcing a student to wake up is something he doesn’t like doing, since it takes away valuable time from teaching his lessons. Still, Johnson doesn’t usually fear waking up a student because he has never had a problem in the past. 

Johnson thinks high schoolers should get at least 8 hours of sleep. However, there are no punishments or direct consequences for sleeping in his class that will affect your grade, since he doesn’t do participation points. 

“If they’re gonna sleep and not learn what they need to and they fail, I view that as the punishment,” said Johnson.

Sometimes, Johnson is lenient if a sleeper is attentive most days. But sleeping everyday will cause a student to fall behind and have trouble catching up on what they’ve missed in class.  As long as a student is willing to put in the effort to learn and master what they miss, they can pass Johnson’s class.

“I’m never going to deny somebody the information to punish them for something that they’ve done in the past,” Johnson said. “Even somebody who is asleep everyday, and at the end of the trimester, they come in wanting to learn what they missed.”   

Even Johnson has been known to put his head down and grab a Z or two as a high school student.

“I’m human. I fell asleep occasionally, put my head down, and closed my eyes,” said Johnson.

Johnson wishes that more parents were curious about how their kids are doing in class, given how easy it is to see their grades, attendance and to quickly email teachers. Johnson also noticed that it’s mostly the parents of sleeping students that he cannot manage to reach. He thinks a lot of the parents see sleeping students as acceptable, that it’s not a big deal, or that it’s teachers’ fault.

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