There are a few superhuman students out there who never cut corners on assignments, lose their focus during exams, or nod off during lectures. Most of us, however, often get so weighed down by the dozens of responsibilities we must juggle daily that we don’t have the energy to give school — or any one area of our lives, really — our complete, undivided attention.
Enter Monte Syrie, a longtime high school English teacher who took to Twitter earlier this month to explain why he let an exhausted student sleep through one of his classes. His tale of profound empathy and kindness is one that will deeply inspire you.
Monte teaches at Cheney High School near Spokane, Washington.
He took to Twitter on May 16 to reveal that he caught Meg, one of his students, sleeping in class. But he “didn’t take it personally,” he wrote.
According to KREM, Meg had once told her teacher that between her track schedule and her farm chores, her schedule was particularly hectic.
Monte suggested that teachers be more compassionate when it comes to their students’ lives. After all, they have responsibilities outside school, too.
Just think of how a zero or F would have affected Meg not just grade-wise but in terms of her overall stress.
Monte then acknowledged the fact that things going on outside his classroom can be paramount to making the time inside it count.
Everyone needs a break sometimes, and it sounds like this one worked out beautifully for all parties involved.
Monte shared his story about Meg as part of Project 180, or Let’s Change Education, his personal quest to improve education by shifting teachers’ focus from grading to learning.
Monte’s tale touched people on Twitter and quickly went viral, with many commenters chiming in to praise his handling of the situation and his overall philosophy.
Many parents told Monte that they hoped their children would have the good fortune to be paired with teachers like him.
His story really resonated with people who’d gone through similar situations while in high school themselves.
And in case you thought Monte was an anomaly, worry not. It sounds like there are plenty of great teachers out there who make a point of looking out for their students’ best interests.
Monte was blown away by the amount of attention his story received and took to Project 180’s blog to address it.
“I did not expect the staggering outpouring of support from around the country as educators, parents, and others lit up my feed all day long with likes, retweets, and comments,” he wrote. “I don’t think it even comes close to qualifying as trending or going viral, but in the last twenty-four hours this thread has made over 40,000 impressions and the number is still rising.”
“I am not sharing that from a place of arrogance,” he continued. “I am sharing that from a place of hope.”
Monte added: “It tells me that there are many out there who come from a place of compassion and empathy in education. It tells me that there are many out there who understand that we are not producing products in our classrooms; we are helping humans grow. It tells me that there are many out there who believe that trusting our instincts and going against the grain when it benefits our kids is okay. It tells me that I am not alone. I am glad that I am not alone. I now know that more than ever.
“And it’s all because Meg slept.”