If I’m Not Awake, Then How Can I Learn?

by Olivia Bump

 

If you’re the typical American High School student, you’re day usually starts extremely early.  In my case, the day begins promptly at 7-23 in the morning.      

 Every day since Freshman year, I’ve noticed a pattern amongst students and teachers during first period.  Some students are slumped forward in their seats, their heads on their desks as the warm arms of sleep enveloped them.  Teachers attempt to wake students by various methods such as letting them stretch or in some cases, yelling at them.  However, these two methods don’t work because some students are still sleeping during class and are not actively engaged.  This is an age old problem that needs to be confronted.

Ever since the dawn of American education, school has been notorious for beginning early.  Back in 1810 and unlike the modern society we live in today, school’s actually had a purpose for starting during early hours of the morning.  Children were expected to spend the other part of the day they weren’t in school operating the farm.  Two hundred and eight years later, American teens are still forced to start school at the crack of dawn even though the Center For Disease Control has said that the earliest time teenagers should start school is at 8.  Another study has shown that the teenage brain doesn’t fully function until 9 in the morning.  The ultimate irony in all of this is that schools are places to help students and gain knowledge.  Yet we’re not helping students gain knowledge by forcing them to start school when they brains are simply not ready.

I interviewed a mix of students and teachers who all agreed early start times need to be changed.  “I think it’s too soon for high school students.” Brian Douglass, a student from Jackson Mississippi said, “I recently did a survey on this subject and you’d be surprised on how many students said they retained no knowledge what so ever.”  A good solution to this problem would be to let students have part of the say about when school should start.  Conferences on the matter should be scheduled where students are open and honest on the subject.  This would allow Officials to see things from the perspective of the student.

School must start later in order for teens to be fully engaged.  This tradition is hundreds of years old and must be abolished.

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