I want you to think wayyy back to high school. Specifically 1st period. Do you remember it well? I’m guessing that you don’t. Because I hardly remember any 1st periods from my high school education… that was an hour way too early to function. Especially as a teenager.
Studies actually show that the teenage brain isn’t fully functioning until mid-morning – like 10 o’clock status. This is caused by the internal “biological clock” that kicks in during puberty. This clock creates a “forbidden” sleep zone around 9 and 10 o’clock pm, hence forbidding sleep around these times. So naturally, waking up between 6-7 am is a struggle for some high school (and middle school) students.
So it is quite possible that our students will be sleeping their way through our class. They could be missing out, and it isn’t really their fault.
Knowing this, should school districts cater to their students’ needs and “biological clock” and start school at more appropriate, mid-morning time? Waking up later sounds nice, but there is a catch. Later starts would mean one of two things. One, the school day would end later (figure 5 or 6 in the evening, per 7 or 8 hour school day requirements). Or two, that the school year would be extended or even converted to a year-long track.
I don’t know about you all, but both of these options sound as great to me as tearing out my finger nails. But at what lengths should we embark on to enhance and fully support our student’s learning?