This Teacher’s Reaction To A Sleeping Student Has Gone Viral For All The Right Reasons [Video]

Being a teenager is hard. Nowadays, it seems even harder. There always seems to be an endless list of chores to do, classes to attend, countless essays to hand in, extracurricular activities to sign up for, and sports to train for—all spread across the vast expanse of teenage angst.

Teenagers are busier than ever, and when they mess up, it seems like not a lot of adults are willing to give them a b-reak, especially teachers.

Being a teacher can be rewarding, but also extremely frustrating when after long hours of preparing a lesson, students are unengaged or worse, asleep.

Most teachers would respond negatively to a sleeping student, but high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. When he saw his student Meg fall asleep in class, he didn’t wake her for the kindest reason.


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2018 National Teacher of the Year sat next to me this morning.

Pretty humbling to sit next to such an inspirational human.

A post shared by Monte Syrie (@montesyrie) on

In a Twitter thread, he explained why he was not angered or offended by Meg being asleep, and why he decided to let her rest instead of waking her up.

“She has zero-hour math, farm-girl chores, state-qualifying 4×400 fatigue, adolescent angst, and various other things to deal with,” he explained. “My class is only part of her life, not her life.”

By falling asleep, Meg missed an in-class essay, but the teacher didn’t have to beat her up about it as she emailed it to him on her own later that night.

“In a different room, Meg may have been written up for sleeping in class and given a zero for a missing essay, but she wasn’t in a different room; she was in my room. My room.”

“I know we all somewhat subscribe to this notion that there’s a right way of doing things, and letting kids sleep in class falls outside the boundaries,” he wrote. The teacher pointed out that sometimes we have to “trust our instincts, even if it goes against the grain.

“Because I firmly believe that one size fits all is madness, I adjust to each student, trusting my instincts, trusting what I know,” explained Syrie on how he tries to be responsive to all his students. “Regardless of our responsibilities, life is hard and we all need some grace now and then.”


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Gift fromJaden this morning.

He is moving to Colorado in 2 weeks. 🙁

A post shared by Monte Syrie (@montesyrie) on

During the school year, teenagers report higher levels of stress than grown-ups, according to the American Psychological Association, and many students feel exhausted trying to keep up with the workload.

“I think too often the biggest thing that people forget about high school students is that they are kids,” said Syrie. Even the brightest students will struggle to keep up with all their obligations and expectations when the pressure gets too much.

Syrie then continued to elucidate how other teachers can also show understanding and compassion when dealing with their students.

“I can’t offer Meg a Math class later in the day. I cannot feed her horses…I cannot run 6 race-pace 300s for her,” he wrote. “I cannot spirit away her teen trouble. But I can give her a b-reak.”

A little understanding and empathy go a long way, and judging by the overwhelmingly positive responses that this Twitter thread has received from both students and teachers, Syrie is doing something right.

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