93% of high schools in 42 states start the day before 8:30 A.M. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine researched that 73% of high school students get insufficient sleep. Insufficient sleep increases the risks of obesity, diabetes, poor mental health, attention and behavior problems, and poor academic performance. Students around the age of 13-18 should receive around 8-10 hours of sleep. As time goes by the amount of sleep students receive drastically increases as the workload increases. The AASM recommended to schools to start 8:30 A.M or later. Maybe the reason why teenagers have mood swings is because of how early school starts.
I have science first period. I asked my teacher, Ms. D’Alleva, to compare her first period class to her 8th period class. She said, “Our first period class is pretty unique—there are some very nice, hard-working kids in our class.”
But about her 8th period class, she said, “My 8th period class is more worn-out by the time I meet with them.” However, she said that there are some students in 8th period who work very hard but other students are worn out because of previous classes, for instance Math,Gym, or Lunch. She does think that fatigue affects students’ success rates. But Ms. D’Alleva said she doesn’t need to work hard for her afternoon classes. Ms.D’Alleva thinks that it’s not school start time that’s affecting our grades, but perhaps our interests in certain classes.
However, BHS English teacher Mr. Malossi, who teaches periods 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 9, believes that school should start later, and most students in his afternoon classes are more awake, but “some are sleep-deprived.” He believes that starting later “suits teenagers’ brains.” He thinks his first period doesn’t perform as well because most of his students are not yet fully awake.
But for Ms. D’Alleva’s afternoon class, she feels she simply has to work differently to get the kids motivated.
“I don’t have to work harder, necessarily,” Ms. D’Alleva said. “I just say things and do things a little differently.” She thinks performance is based on student interest in the class as well.
From a teacher’s perspective, students succeed more if they are awake or interested in this class. But both teachers agree that the workload in high school today definitely has increased over time and perhaps the administration should change the amount of workload or the starting times.
What’s your take on the school start time? Leave a comment!