Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Big Sleep

Recognizing that we live in a world run by early risers, Liam once observed that those of us who stay up late could take over the world, but the early risers would simply take it back while we were sleeping in the morning after. Perhaps it was just the family I grew up in, but I’ve never really seen the value in getting up early. There’s the old adage about the early bird getting the worm, but I prefer the converse in which the early worm gets eaten.

Why in the hell does school start so early? Have you ever heard a genuinely good answer to that question? Is there really any value in teaching students at 7:30 a.m. that there wouldn’t be at 8:30 a.m., or dare I say, 9:30 a.m.? Could after school programs not function if they started at 3:30 p.m. rather than 2:30 p.m.? I read somewhere a while back that, for adolescents, and optimal sleep cycle goes from 1:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Why do we fight the body’s natural habit?

I’m only 4 days in, and arriving at school at 7:30 a.m. is beginning to take its toll on me. I came home yesterday afternoon and collapsed on the couch. I like to think that life will be easier once there’s another computer teacher and I don’t have to teach every period of the day, but even so, I will still be sleep-deprived.

And yes, I know I just need to adjust my sleeping schedule. I realize I shouldn’t be going to bed at 12:30 a.m. But it’s easier said than done, mi amigo. Especially with the weather here. Things get to be so comfortable right around 10:30 p.m. The heat from the day finally wears off, the roosters have finally gone to bed, and there’s a fresh episode of The Wire on my hard drive. And the second wind hits.

All this complaining probably sounds premature. It would be nice to think that since the school year has only just begun, things are bound to improve. But those who know me well know that my sleeping habits never met an early alarm they were willing to adjust to.

At eCivis, I was expected to be at my desk working at 7:30 a.m. This call time was strictly enforced to a slightly irrational point. I am not exaggerating when I tell the story of how I showed up at 7:33 a.m. and got called into my supervisor’s office. I understand that I was a polychronic person living in a monochronic society, and that my leniency toward my own tardiness is a little absurd by other people’s standards, but eCivis brought that absurdity to a new level.

There was also the time in high school when, because of construction and road congestion, the bus in the morning picked me up at 6:05 a.m. How did I live through that? I had 7 classes and water polo, and I still stayed up late. Oh to be young and ignorant of the body’s pleas for sleep.

CNET was perfect. While they weren’t keen on my polychromic standards, they valued the quality of my work, and let things slide a little.

Teaching is a monster though. Show up late and you have 30+ faces wondering where you’ve been. It’s a little daunting.

Samoa still beats Oakland though. In Oakland I had to wake up before dawn to catch Muni and then BART across the bay. Here my commute is a 30-second walk. I guess I should count my blessings.

I hope you’re getting enough sleep. One picture below.

Kiddies using Mavis Beacon. Sharing. Good times.


Amanda said...

thanks for showing me what mavis beacon looks like. it's part of our genes to not be able to sleep!!

Barb Carusillo said...

You may not believe this now, but your body does adjust to getting up early when you have to do it, and after awhile, you kind of prefer it since you can get a lot more things done. When you have kids later, you give up on sleep altogether for awhile.

Anonymous said...

I'm turning the corner on five years of a 7:30 start time and I still hate it every. single. morning. Luckily my adolescent students are pretty comatose through second period.

You'll get used to it, but if you end up loving it pass on your secret.

Unknown said...

some people are truly night people. this is why i work the night shift. i'm not a fan of starting the day at 7am. when i used to work day shift, i took a nap everytime i got home. helped enough. good luck!

Anonymous said...

In Samoa, the reason why school starts early in the morning is so school can finish early in the afternoon. The reason for that is so students can go home and attend to their plantation and home duties. It was also to beat the heat of the day in the mid-afternoon apparently.

Believe it or not, the Samoan body-clock works to the early-morning time schedule. You'll see people up and about by 6am most days. For centuries, the roosters have been waking people up at 5-6am so people got used to it. It is also to avoid the hottest part of the day, so much of the work is done early in the morning to midday. The afternoons are traditionally to take it easy.