Strict teacher chooses kindness instead of detention when student falls asleep and snores during English class

BOS Babe

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

My junior high school English teacher was super strict and a bit mean. So when one of my fellow students fell asleep during class and began snoring with her head on the desk, we all thought she was in for a lot of trouble.

One of the other girls tried discreetly waking our Sleeping Beauty, but the teacher stopped her with a harsh look and a gesture that said, "Let her sleep. I'll deal with her later." To everyone's surprise, the teacher woke the student gently after class and asked her if something was wrong.

As it turned out, something was wrong. Her parents were getting divorced, and she wasn't getting any sleep at home.

The day my English teacher showed compassion to my sleepy classmate was one of my most memorable experiences in junior high school. It was a typical day in class, and my teacher was as strict and demanding as usual... until she realized one of her students was asleep with her head on the desk, snoring away.

At first, we all thought she was in for detention later for sleeping during class, but our teacher surprised us by not reprimanding her. I did not like this classmate, and quite frankly, I was hoping she would get detention for her unscheduled nap. I ended up disappointed.

Instead of reprimanding her, the teacher allowed the girl to sleep through the entire class and only then woke the girl by tapping her on the shoulder and asking her what was wrong. After class, the teacher talked to the student and listened to her problems. I like to think she offered her solutions, but I was out of the classroom by then.

My teacher's kindness and empathy showed me what true compassion looks like. It also made me appreciate our teacher for her patience and understanding.

At that moment, she could have easily punished the student for sleeping, but instead, she chose to be considerate and try to respect the girl's situation. That moment opened my eyes to the importance of understanding other people's situations and being nicer to those around us.

This experience taught me the importance of listening to other people's stories and not jumping to conclusions or judgments. I always try to remember this event when dealing with others and remember to be patient.

Too often we overlook people's troubles and don't take the time to stop and listen. We should make an effort to check in with our friends and family, and students if applicable, even if they don't ask for help.

The world would be a better place if everyone tried to show the same compassion and understanding that my teacher showed that day in class. I think about this incident often and always strive to be more understanding and patient with those around me.

What would you have done if you were the teacher? Comments are welcome.

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