Remember trying not to fall asleep in high school? What a one-sided fight that was. You’d put your head in your hands, then put your fingers over your eyes as if you were just massaging the stress out of your temples so that you could close your eyes for 10 seconds. And somehow, you figured this was your teacher’s first day on earth and they couldn’t tell the difference between rubbing your face and falling completely asleep five feet from their nose.
By the way—why were you falling asleep again? Was it because you were up until 3AM ferociously compiling the final paragraphs of an essay on Scout’s narrative reliability in To Kill A Mockingbird? lol nope. TikTok and Snapchat. That’s all it was. Waiting for nudes that would never come on Snap, killing the time on the Tok. That’s what our high school students do now. God forbid you get them in the period immediately following lunch, where their nutritional independence sees them putting that $7 of lunch money towards a slice of pizza, a pile of wet tater tots, a pint of full-fat chocolate milk, and a pack of sour skittles for diversity’s sake. Hitting every tier of the food pyramid will surely provide young David that consistent blood sugar level for the remainder of the day. No chance he falls off that roller coaster 20 minutes in to the paintings of the renaissance.
That’s the part of teaching that people don’t talk about. Can you imagine how demoralizing it would be if, every single day, you had to deliver a presentation that you’d worked on for decades, and about a third of the people listening passed out cold? You went to two more years of school to get a special degree so that you could do this, and the people you’re trying to help—these young minds that you believe in with such passion—care so little that they fall asleep? I’d start smoking, or more. Probably way more.
10 seconds, that’s all I need. Just a quick rest for my eyelids which feel as though 10,000 tiny men are hanging on each lash trying desperately to bring the curtains down. Next thing you know, you’re tumbling through space and jolting awake because your elbow slipped off the desk and you lost your makeshift bivouac sleep support. And that’s when Ms. Tetrault says something smarmy like “are you still with us, David?”
Just then, you catch the tiniest glimpse of color out of the corner of your eye. Just the faintest hint of pink lace, peeking over the waistband of your crush’s jeans. Hell, she doesn’t even need to be your crush. She could be the least desirable girl in your world. But that unexpected panty cameo sends you scampering down the hall for a “bathroom break,” which definitely wakes you up. For the back half of class, you’re alert, engaged, and respectful.
Maybe that’s the answer: mandatory masturbation breaks for all students. Something tells me the same schools that leave the evolution block out of the bio syllabus might take issue with this plan…
This Bloomberg article is pitching the idea of half-time school. As a sports fan, it’s hard not to read that as a school day featuring a halftime break, where the teachers make roster adjustments and maybe the Blue Man Group bangs a few drums in the cafeteria while everyone asks who are these dudes? Even so, it’s not the worst idea.
Bloomberg– At least for the upcoming fall semester, moving to Half-Time High will be a necessity. The only way for schools to maintain social distance in crowded buildings is to operate well below capacity. This may mean running two shifts a day, morning and afternoon, or asking kids to show up in person every other day.
Looking back, my high school day was the least efficient job structure I’ve ever had. No 16-year-old is functioning at 7:30AM. Maybe things are different with this generation, but I wasn’t on coffee at that age and I certainly didn’t have the discipline to keep to a 10:30 bedtime needed for my 8+ hours. I like the idea of half-days, making it more like the class schedule in college. Sure, the deadbeats are going to fall even farther off the path with this schedule. But as Alec Baldwin said, the world needs plenty of bahtendahs.