Edgar Watson Howe, an American novelist and magazine editor in the early 1900s, once wrote, “The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can`t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.”
One of the ways that Florida Career Colleges make learning more accessible to students from all walks of life is by offering both day and evening classes. If you are an evening instructor or student, you may find that sleepiness has a way of creeping in at the most inconvenient times.
Education blogger, Anastasia Salter, offers 6 tips to staying energized and combating sleepiness in her blog titled When Teaching Goes Past Your Bedtime. While most of these tips are for instructors, there are some good ones for students in here as well. For example:
- Don’t skip dinner. Repeat after me: vending machine junk food is not an acceptable alternative to dinner. Nutrients are essential to maintaining energy and good health. And no, the peanuts in a candy bar do not count as adequate protein.
- Adapt your entire schedule. You may be tempted to sleep in on days when you have a late class or no class at all, but the best thing you can do for your body is maintain the same sleep schedule every day. Salter writes, “The first suggestion in a book titled: The Geek’s Guide to Optimizing Sleep, is ‘Wake up at the same time every morning,’” explains Salter. “Just sleeping in one day to compensate can do more harm than good.” Unfortunately, this also includes the weekend… Hey, I’m just the messenger!
Now as for the instructors out there (Students, don’t hesitate to share this with them!), combating sleepiness in class is all about planning ahead.
- Plan your class time. Salter writes, “The last part of class is a good time for strengthening skills, holding discussions, and building things, whatever that might mean in your discipline.” If your class is mostly a lecture, consider adding an activity. In order to break up the traditional lecture, a Bryman instructor recently split her class into groups and had them outline and teach a section of the chapter to the rest of the class.
- Schedule variety. Consider adding new methods and activities to your lesson plans. There’s a reason why late night TV often includes variety shows. Alternating activities can help get students’ attention and get them back on track.
- Save your aces. If you have a favorite section of the textbook that you enjoy teaching, or a favorite project that you assign each session, then see if you can save it for the busiest part of the year. The fact that it’s your favorite will help you stay enthusiastic and engaged during the most stressful time of the year.
- Embrace the nighttime. Do you have any night owls in your class? Feed off of their energy and utilize it during class discussions. Just as yawning can be contagious, so can infectious energy!