This Teacher’s Twitter Thread Went Viral, And For Good Reason

If you were on the Twitterverse yesterday, you may have seen this amazing thread that’s going viral. (I was one of the first to retweet, just saying.)

It’s from Monte Syrie, a high school English teacher in Washington State. I’ve “storified” the thread he shared about his student, Meg, with his permission. It’s a great read that I think you’ll enjoy.

“Meg fell asleep in class yesterday. I let her. I didn’t take it personally. She has zero-hour math, farm-girl chores, state-qualifying 4X400 fatigue, adolescent angst, and various other things to deal with. My class is only a part of her life, not her life.

No, she did not use her time wisely in class yesterday. She didn’t get her essay turned in. She knew that. I knew that, but I didn’t beat her up about it. Didn’t have to. She emailed it to me last night at 9:00 PM. On her own. 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.

I get it, and I’m not suggesting that we make it a permanent part of repertoire/routine, but I am suggesting that we sometimes trust our instincts, even if it goes against the grain, maybe especially if it goes against the grain, for I am not always convinced the grain best considers kids.

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. And in my room there are lots of things I CAN do. I can’t control the world outside. I can’t offer Meg a math class later in the day. I cannot feed her horses (many horses) in the morning or evening. I cannot run 6 race-pace 300’s for her. I cannot spirit away her teen trouble. But I can give her a break.

She was not being rude or disrespectful yesterday when she nodded off. She was tired. So I gave her a break. I can do that. And I want to believe, I have to believe — else my life is a lie, that it will come back in the end. And it did. Meg got her essay done.

In fact, serendipitously, she proudly told me so when I ran into her at the grocery store at 6:45 this morning. She was getting some breakfast before her 7:10 math class. She’d been up since 5:00 doing chores. #myroom #project180

Every kid deserves a teacher like Mr. Syrie. At the same time, the dedication that Meg demonstrates day in and day out should be an inspiration to students and teachers alike.

 

Photo by Marie Slim, CC-Licensed.

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