Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sleeping in Class

Sometimes when I’m teaching I look out at the sea of faces and I see students sleeping. Their mouths are open, their heads propped up on fists. I don’t know what to do about it.
When it happens in my lecture classes, I can understand it. Eighty students, they don’t all want to be there, it’s early, maybe I’m not interesting (but I NEVER read my lectures, I always talk and try to tell stories--I know sometimes I’m failing.) But it also happens in my perspective class, when I’m lecturing about how to draw. WTF?
These are adults, if they want to sleep in class I will let them. But somehow I need to block it out, so I don’t get down on myself.
So if you ever find yourself dozing off in class, and you think the teacher doesn’t notice, think again. Get up and go home, or at least get yourself a stiff cup of coffee.


Tim said...

I recall falling asleep in class occasionally back in my college days, even in grad school. Actually, especially in grad school. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, Kloe. The reason a student falls asleep could have nothing to do with you. He could have been up late the night before studying, or (let's face it) partying. Or, he might be physically tired for some other reason, say, because he worked out earlier in the day before coming to class. In my own case, if I knew I was tired, I'd usually either skip the class or, as you say, at least try to drink some coffee beforehand. Sometimes, though, I'd feel fine at the beginning of a class, but a wave of tiredness would hit me partway through. I hated when that happened. I probably should have just got up and gone home, as you recommend, but for some reason -- maybe stubbornness -- I always stayed put an tried to fight it, usually with mixed success.

kloeamongtheturks said...

Tim, Thanks for giving the student's perspective. You're right, we're all tired, me too. Our culture just seems to push us to the point of exhaustion.
That's why I don't say anything or embarrass the person, I just let him or her sleep.
My confidence in these lecture classes is fragile, easily crushed. Sometimes I hear the students laughing, and it takes me a moment to realize they are probably laughing at a joke I made, not at me...