Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
March 14, 2024 ·  3 min read

A high school teacher’s reaction to a sleeping student has gone viral for all the right reasons.

A sleeping student is not a very rare sight, but how many teachers actually take the time to figure out why they are sleeping? Usually, teachers assume that the student is simply playing hooky, or wasting their precious study time doing something useless. After all, teachers put in a lot of effort to prepare their study lessons. However, the sleeping student may be dealing with a lot in his/her life.

That’s where teachers like Monte Syrie make a mark. He left a message on Twitter about his treatment of a sleeping student. He is an English teacher at a high school, and high school students are probably the most problematic. However, his kind response has won the hearts of the majority of his audience.[1]

The Sleeping Student Has A Lot On Her Plate

Monte saw his student Meg fall asleep in his class. However, instead of being offended by it, he chose to let her sleep. Unfortunately, Meg ended up unable to turn in her essay. But Monte knew what Meg was going through.

Monte explains that Meg has “zero-hour math, farm-girl chores, state-qualifying 4×400 fatigue, adolescent angst, and various other things to deal with.” That’s quite a list for an adolescent teenager to do in a day. Monte’s awareness of the situation goes to show how much he cares for his students. In this light, it seems Meg can be forgiven for having a snooze.

However, Monte continues that Meg did turn in her essay later on in the night, without any further prompting on his part. Monte acknowledges that every teacher has their individual preference for handling things. Letting sleeping students sleep is not usually a part of it. Monte, though, suggests everyone trust their instinct once in a while since the norm usually misses out on the fact that the students are kids.

Fortunately, for Meg, the incident occurred in Monte’s classroom. Monte admits that some other teacher could have definitely given her a zero on the essay for it.

A Big Problem Among Teenagers

The school year is tough, and Meg is not the only one who is left exhausted by it. As such, Monte explains that most adults miss out on considering the students as what they are – kids. Moreover, high school kids have to face a lot of pressure and expectations in a short time from everywhere, not just in their school. It’s only natural, Monte explains, that even the best minds can succumb to it.

As such, in his Twitter thread, Monte explains that teachers can be a lot kinder and more understanding at this point. Sure, teachers can’t give every student special treatment, like an extra class or nutritious meals. However, he can let Meg take a break.

Monte explains that he does not only attend to Meg in this way. He does this with as many of his students as possible since he strongly believes that “one size fits all is madness.” Life will only get more difficult as time goes on for high school students, so a little break is warranted.

There have been some comments which are negative, but the majority of the response has been positive. Some said that letting a sleeping student go without any consequences will only make her weaker in the “real world”. However, Monte believes that the students are not standardized, factory-made products. They are young and unique individuals who are still finding their way in the world. Thus, it is even more necessary that these fragile but potential minds receive some empathy while dealing with such immense pressure.

Monte’s final words are words to live by: “And if that does not prepare them for the ‘real world’…then maybe the world needs to change. I want to live in a world where there’s empathy.” If you want to know about Monte’s work, he has a full website dedicated to how he plans to change education:


  1. A high school teacher’s reaction to a sleeping student has gone viral for all the right reasons..” Upworthy. Annie Reneau. November 26, 2021.
  2. Twitter