The sleeping student is a classroom staple that has been the object of ridicule for ages by both peers and teachers alike.
They’re pranked (in some cases deservedly) and are used as a symbol of the dangers of slacker culture.
Although it’s funny, I mean, really funny to watch unsuspecting sleepyheads get their comeuppances, there are some professors who actually let some of their students get in a quick nap while they’re lecturing, believe it or not.
Professor Monte Syrie is one of those teachers and, as crazy as it may sound, his reasoning actually makes a lot of sense.
Call it being overly sympathetic, or call it maybe not being harsh enough, but Syrie considered the student in question, taking her situation into account, and decided to treat her accordingly.
Syrie knows that this particular student, Meg, has a butt-load of farm work to handle at home. That she’s an athlete, and that his class isn’t the end-all, be-all, most important thing in her life.
Syrie believed that if he trusted his instincts that Meg would do the right thing, and as a high school teacher who actually believes in a young person, that makes him a unicorn.
And before you call him crazy, it turns out that trust in his instincts paid off, because Meg ultimately got her work done – there just wasn’t enough time in the day for it beforehand.
Because if someone with a work ethic like Meg’s is dozing off in class, there’s probably a reason for it, and Syrie wasn’t going to jam her up as a result.
His tweet thread about busts-her-butt-Meg ended up making the rounds on Twitter, with parents thanking Syrie for his no-ego approach to running his classroom.
Other parents shared similar stories about their own kids who struggled with juggling all of their responsibilities, and were thankful that awesome teachers helped them out.
For this guy, a little bit of understanding and kindness from his high school teacher went a long way. Years later, he still remembers this awesome decision a teacher made after he endured one of the worst days in his life.
Or this other student who was happy their own teacher reacted like Syrie’s to her impromptu doze-off session.
He’s also inspiring other teachers to be a bit kinder to their students.
Because, like a lot of the stories in Syrie’s thread show, there are circumstances where an arbitrary application of the “rules” just makes you a jerk.
A little bit of compassion when the situation calls for it goes a long, long way.