Dr Paul Kelley, Head of Monkseaton High School has decided that the best way to help teenagers prepare for a successful career is to allow them to lie in bed for another couple of hours each day.
Whilst his announcement was no doubt applauded by Britain's youth, alarm bells will have begun to ring in wiser heads on hearing the following logic:
Early Starts = Creation of Teenage Zombies
Therefore school should start later!
Early Starts = Creation of Teenage Zombies
Therefore tell the parents not to allow them to stay up so late!
The bells will have become deafening by the end of the second paragraph where we hear the dreaded words: 'Research shows' and 'profound impact'
How did we ever manage in the past?
He saves the best for last however with the revelation that pupils scored 90% in a GCSE Science Exam despite never having studied the subject. This is because GCSE Science has become an utter farce. (My dog has complained about the 'C' Grade that he was awarded.) The only sensible suggeststion is that kids need frequent bouts of exercise.
Junior, bless his cotton socks, is 13. He took it upon himself to start walking part of the way to school - instead of changing buses halfway to school, he walks the second half. It's just over 2km, including two steep hills. By the time he gets to school, he's wide awake and raring to go. Sometimes, he walks the whole way, about 5km.
They need to go to bed early, get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast and get some exercise before classes start.
There. Can I be made a professor now?
What a complete load of twaddle! Honestly, when oh when are we going to stop pandering to the whims and wants of our young people instead of going back to ruling them with a rod of iron?
In our parents and grandparents day, teenagers were going out to work at 14 or 15, and they wouldn't have dared shown any "Teenage Moody Behaviour" to their bosses or they would have either gotten a clip round the ear or been sacked. You simply had to get on with it. Making excuses for them like this does no good, we are getting softer not harder.
When I was a teenager 10 years ago, I never had an alarm clock just my wrist watch, which didn't have an alarm and I made sure I was in bed by 9.30 - 10pm every night and I could guarentee I'd wake up between 6.30 and 6.45 every day as fresh as anything. I was hardly ever moody or grumpy or tired, and I was always well prepared for my first class come 9am.
It's simple, early to bed and early to rise. Stop making excuses. We have let our young people get this way by not being tough enough on them.
If the kids moved to another time zone, their body clocks would adjust, right? So they can flaming well adjust to real time in the time zone they live in!!
On the other hand, if they start school later, then teachers get to sleep in every day too! I would gladly stay at work till 6 or 7 if it meant that school didn't start till 11 every day...
ASAIK, the research for the benefit of late starts comes from America, where many (most?) high schools start at 7 AM. So according to the research, starting at 9 AM is better than starting at 7 AM.
Those using this research to buttress starting at 11 AM (which is happening in my city) haven't bothered to actually read the studies—they've only read reports of the studies in "educational journals".
I accet that something happens in adolescence that causes a shift in the sleep patterns of teenagers. Personally I've never grown out of it and I'm 51.
Quite why we should tailor the rest of the universe to convenience them is however another matter. How about this for a radical solution: let them be as tired and ratty as they like and struggle through each day the best they can. Millions of people before them managed it without mass injury to their collective mental or physical health.
I occasionally do a straw poll in tutor time - I ask them to write down on a slip of paper the time they settled to sleep ("went to bed" is meaningless in a situation where they have keypad access to all their entertainment facilities from their bed). From Y9 onward it is rare that this time is before midnight, and is, especially amongst boys, more often 1.30 - 2.30.
"Are you feeling tired?"
I will admit to falling asleep in class from time to time, but that was mainly because I was getting up at 5.30am for rowing training.
My whole crew would usually pass out around 2pm from utter physical exhaustion - unless you were in a maths class.
Our maths teachers had a bad habit of hurling wooden dusters at your head if you showed signs of nodding off, and they didn't aim to miss.
As for going soft, by the end of week one of the rowing season, I'd have over 30 blisters on each hand. We popped the blisters and toughened the skin underneath by pouring methylated spirits and then iodine into them. Hurt like hell, but we had hands like leather gauntlets before long.
Try that these days on some "hard" teenagers!
I admit there is alot of educational research out that that i think is crap, but in this case i'm incline to believe its true. Not only do i see the effects daily of the effect of teenagers being too tire to do anything but I know from my own experience as a teenager and as an adult, who suffers sleep problems. The most common response is "go to bed earlier" ... really I never thought of that, being constantly tired is not fun and at times (when driving) dangerous... I dont choose to be like this i just am. I'd like to see how well you cope if slept for a few hours a night... the simple fact is the modern work place doesnt allow for any variation in humans and to just say 'how did we cope in the past'... historical research shows that working to such strict timeframes is a modern thing. Just because it works for you doesnt mean it works for everyone.
There is probably something in the research that teenagers have different body clocks. That's like saying there is something in the research (and there is-lots)showing that our hunter gatherer genes programme us to eat in times of plenty and lay down fat for the winter.Both are biological explanations of why we end up -lazy and fat. But the solution is not to whine "I'm programmed that way" The solution is to recognise and to overcome the programming ie eat less excercise more and get enough sleep.
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