We need to be honest about something.
It is a known fact that students tend to sleep in class, regardless of teacher or lesson. No matter how much we might thoroughly enjoy what we are being taught during the day, the desire to put your head down on the desk and catch a few moments of euphoric, well-deserved rest will always be much stronger.
The powers that be on campus have provided what appears to be a reasonable solution on the outside by turning the thermostat down so low that even the most hardened northerners and self-proclaimed Yankees in our school are reaching for a sweatshirt or considering that long sleeve polo before they leave home in the morning.
This was intended to be stimulating and give the student body a jolt when they enter the building to start the day. During my three years of classes, it has in fact proven to be the most counter-productive practices I have ever encountered. It is not just the fact that most of my classrooms are so cold that penguins from the Arctic Circle would be reaching for the heater, it is the simple fact that this is not even necessary to prevent students from sleeping in class.
If I am to understand this strategy correctly, lowering the thermostats to these ungodly levels had a few major purposes. One of the most logical was the prevention of dozens of exhausted students from slipping into a deep sleep during class. I am here to report that the experiment has failed, it does not seem to be making a major impact on this trend.
If anything, this only promotes dozing off in the back row by forcing students to carry sweatshirts and hoodies that can easily be transformed into pillows. Because I speak from experience when I say that high school students do not necessarily need the most comfortable surroundings in the world to drift off into sleep. The adverse effects are not isolated to school only.
I have one friend who now claims that he cannot fall asleep even in the comfort of his own bed without his arms being folded under his head as they are positioned when he naps during class. Tired students, after a long night of essay writing, studying, and reading, sometimes have the uncontrollable desire to catch some shut eye during class, and nothing on this green earth is going to prevent them from accomplishing this task, not the threat of punishment or low air conditioning.
Therefore, one of the most central ideas behind keeping the temperatures unreasonably low does not hold much water, or in our case, ice. Along the lines of keeping students awake, lower temperatures across the school are supposed to keep us focused. Whether you view your teachers as inspiring individuals who are seeking to provide you with the tools to land a well-paying job or as Ben Stein’s character from Ferris Bueller, the fact that it is roughly the same temperature in some classrooms as your average meat locker makes it nearly impossible to focus solely on the lesson.
It is impossible to be zoned into any lecture when you are constantly forced to reposition yourself in your desk because you are trying to be relatively comfortable or because your arms are getting cold even through your thick sweatshirt. I am sorry, but I am not going to be as concerned about the central themes of the War of 1812 as I am about not losing feeling in my arms because I forgot to wear a jacket.
You can call me uncommitted if you want. Sometimes the best intentions have the worst results. The air conditioning is kept low so that the entire school gets a reasonable distribution of cold air. However, this has some rather unforeseen and drastic consequences as some classrooms receive the business end of Herculean blasts of these frigid temperatures.
I am sure that I am not the only one who has personally witnessed the fly zone that occurs when the air conditioning blows so strong in a class that textbook pages did not need to be physically turned by the reader. The vent was more than happy to do it for him. Not only this, but the vent was more than happy to remove that important piece of paper from a desk and find a new home for it three feet away on the floor.
Keep in mind that this incident occurred around February or March of last year. While I understand that we can have some pretty unforgiving weather in the summer, it can be confidently stated that we do not live in the Mojave Desert. Temperatures in Texas will never reach levels that call for this excessive air conditioning. I believe a happy medium can and needs to be reached regarding this issue.
Apparently, we do not like to wait for the winter to arrive, we usher it in ourselves with a homemade version of the Ice Age. In summation, unless ski jackets are now going to be a part of the dress code, and the school is going to start supplying combatants against hypothermia, do us a solid and turn the thermostat up.