Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom

Wake Up!

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on December 17, 2012
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


“Please pick your head up off the desk and pay attention.”

“You need to get more sleep at night.”

“Wake up!”

These words can be heard in classroom on almost a daily basis. The teens struggle to focus, suppress yawns, and fight to keep their eyes open. Students are tired. Many are tired all the time. Why don’t they get some sleep?

Some are student athletes and claim to stay up late finishing homework after games or practices. Others babysit or do other jobs after school. But I know the teachers on my 8th grade team don’t assign that much homework. So are the kids simply staying up late staring at the television or engrossed in video games? Do they sit on their beds until the wee hours texting friends?

I recently read an article on this subject by Daniel Willingham. Basically, Willingham says teens who do not get enough sleep will suffer negative consequences. These include problems with memory, mood, attention span, and academic performance. I see these problems all the time, and the negative effects include poor grades, discipline consequences, disrespect, and the inability to get along with peers.

Willingham explains that when adults are tired, they “listen” to the internal clues their bodies give telling them to get some shut-eye. Teens, for some reason, are less likely to “hear” those clues and claim they aren’t sleepy. When given the choice, they choose to continue playing their video games, listening to music, or watching television because their bodies fail to relay the message that they need to sleep.

The optimum amount of sleep for a teen is nine hours and less than eight is insufficient. I’m positive very few of my students get that much. No wonder they have such a hard time staying awake.

Parents need to set boundaries. As kids get older, we want to give them more freedom, but we have to remember we’re still their parents. They aren’t ready to be completely self-sufficient. If they were, kids would move out on their own at 13. Isn’t that a scary thought? There are a lot of decisions we wouldn’t let our teenagers make for themselves without some input or advice from us. If we as parents are concerned about our children’s education and future, we have to realize their bodies aren’t equipped to make the best choice in this area of their lives.

They may scream “I hate you!” when you cut off their computers, turn off the television, or put parental controls on their phones to stop texting late at night, but don’t worry. Once they are old enough to understand, they will be smarter and much more rested, and I’m certain they will appreciate the boundaries you set which prove you love them.

God designed us to be parents and guide our children throughout their lives, not just until they reach the teen years. Don’t be afraid to be a parent instead of a friend. Kids can find friends everywhere they go. Parents are harder to come by.


6 Responses to 'Wake Up!'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Wake Up!'.

  1. Susan said,

    Very interesting! I agree that parents need to take a more active role in their teenagers’ lives.

    What’s a teacher to do when a student falls asleep or lays his/her head down in class?

    • I’ll give students a warning, but if it becomes a continual problem, they will receive a written minor discipline warning. I hate doing that because it is time spent that could be used for something more beneficial! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. paulamowery said,

    Amen! I see so many young parents today letting their kids be in control. When you question them, they say: “I want him or her to see me as a friend.” Forget it! You are a parent. Stand up and take control. I cringe when parents tell me they didn’t attend a church function because their seven year old decided he didn’t want to come. Who said he had a choice? If those parents could only see the security a child gains from discipline and boundaries. Though many labeled me a strict parent, I can happily report that I have a mature and disciplined young woman in my daughter of 18. And, we’re really close.

    • Paula,
      I totally agree. My daughter is almost 17 and I have always been “hard on her” according to other parents. When her grades slipped because of texting, I set a 2 hour block on her phone in the evening Monday through Thursday for study time. Once the grades went back to where they should be for her ability, I took the block off. She realizes I’ll let her try to manage her time and her life, but when she gets off track, it’s my job to adjust her path. And like you and your daughter, she and I are really close. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      Merry Christmas,

  3. marneymcnall said,

    I’ve been feeling a bit this way, too, this year. It’s the first year I won’t be able to celebrate Christmas with my parents. The logistics are impossible as my husband is in Germany on a short tour of duty. But, at the same time, I am grateful to be here, too. It’s just one of those bittersweet times.

    • Bittersweet is a great description of my feelings, Marney. Thanks for sharing. It’s always comforting to know others feel the same. It also is good for making me shake off the self-pity and focus on some thankfulness! Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: