Kids’ formative years are some of the most important in their lives. It is a period when the groundwork is lain for what type of person they will become as adults. Parents and the way they raise their offspring is important in this endeavor, but kids spend the larger part of their day in school. That’s when the teacher steps in.
Most of us have precise memories of the people who shaped our lives. We often find ourselves falling back on advice we once received from a favorite or maybe not so favorite teacher. Perhaps it was thanks to a particular teacher that we pursue our current line of work. Whatever it is, it changed us, and hopefully, for the majority, the change was a positive one.
As adults, we like to think that we are the only ones with hectic lifestyles and obligations. But that is so far from the truth. Schooling may have been more rigid and strict when we were young, but that does not mean the younger generation has it easy. Kids can suffer from stress as much as we do.
Nowadays, there’s so much distraction and pressure to perform. What only a few could achieve in the olden days because of societal advantage is now available to all who are willing to grasp it. It’s a challenge that never stops, and young people have to be ahead of the game to be able to compete in a world where about anyone can have an edge on you.
It’s no wonder young people are worn out most of the time.
Their bodies are in perpetual flux. Hormones, the brain, and muscles are growing and changing. Then come peer pressure and the constant drive to stay connected until well into the night. Time class comes; it’s time to sleep and catch up on lost ZZZ’s, an endeavor that is significantly aided by the drone of a pedagogue’s voice.
So, how to prevent kids from snoozing off in class?
Not the cane, adopt the subtle approach
If you’re a teacher and you’ve noticed one of your students is deeply nested in ZZZ-land, give the class an activity to start on and gently awaken the offender and suggest they get some water. First, the movement will get them going again and second hydration always helps. Being kind also keeps their hormones at bay. Gently reminding them that they fell asleep and are missing out on a fun group activity will get them going.
Be passionate about what you teach
This may come as a strange suggestion to some of you, but mundaneness can get to the very best of us. Keep your teaching style engaging and different. Sometime during the last millennium, the mere threat of punishment was sufficient to make students at least feign wakefulness.
Today it is quite different. In a way, a teacher has become an entertainer. And that’s what you have to do no matter the subject you instruct. Engage your students by asking them questions. We all learn best when we have to explain stuff. Create a certain degree of competition to foster the ambitious side.
In essence, you have got to have the energy of an entrepreneur. If your students realize how fun, exciting, and relevant your subject matter is, they are more likely to stay awake. If their smartphone can do it, then so can you.
Use the tools you got
This builds upon the previous point. Be original. Think of ‘Dead Poets’ Society.’ Robin Williams, as John Keating, certainly got those creative juices going by always changing things (just don’t get expelled). Get your students to move around and ask questions. If you are technologically oriented, use computers or maybe even smartphones as tools.
Go out on a limb if you are dedicated to your work and create an open chat with your class. Get them talking about what you are teaching to develop motivation.
Talk to the parents as a last resort
If you notice one of your pupils is constantly ‘zombing’ in and out of consciousness, it may be time to inform the parents that their cherished offspring is not getting enough shuteye. It’s possible that their mattress has outgrown them. Doing some research on a new sleeping surface on review websites like this could be of assistance. However, most likely, the kid is zoned out because he or she was deeply involved in social media the previous night. That is oh, so important.
Anyway, a chat with the parents can help. At least, you will know what might be affecting the student.
Of course, there is always the age-old classic of the constant threat of testing and grades. If it does come to this, make it fun and competitive in a healthy way. Always remember, why you started doing what you do – to educate the next generation and make them better people. And that is one heck of a responsibility and challenging at best.