Night Owl

It’s 11:30pm, I have to wake up in 6 hours, and I’m writing this instead of going to sleep. Why? Because I’m a night owl!

Waking up at 5am should be reserved for fishing trips and crazy people who run a lot before going to work, but I do it 3-5 times a week, and I have for 6 years now. This year, I have woken up at 4am a handful of times to chip away at a massive stack of grading or study something I’ve long since forgotten that I’m supposed to be teaching in a few hours. And after years of waking up in the dark, you might think I’ve gotten to the point where I actually don’t mind dragging my exhausted headache into a cold-tiled bathroom, flipping on the blinding lights, and praying for a swift death by slipping in the shower while I stand under the water. But you’d be wrong. I still don’t like it.

Along with the workload, waking up at ungodly hours is perhaps my least favorite part of my career as a teacher. The two are connected, as the workload reinforces the need to get up so early, but the stress of feeling overworked is certainly harder to deal with when I’m exhausted every day. I really know how tired I am when I have a break from school; I sleep on those breaks, and all of a sudden I’m a patient, easy-going person who enjoys the little things and laughs often. I feel like a full human being again during breaks. And that’s a pretty depressing.

Also, when I’m on a break from school, I tend to stay up pretty late. My training at going to bed and waking up early goes right out the window as soon as I have the freedom to be myself. Studies have shown (not that I’ve read them) that I’m not alone in my night owlish tendencies. Teenagers, apparently, also struggle with going to bed and waking up so early. The same teenagers I teach. Kinda makes you wonder, “Is there a better way?”

Oh well. Off to bed.


Published by Bill Weisberger

High school chemistry teacher, living in Rome, Italy with my wife and our dog.

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