Some nights, sleep isn’t an option. Whether due to massive piles of grading, good stress, bad stress, or crazy random happenstance it is extremely easy to end up teaching tired. It is also easy to get into a pattern where you are getting a very few hours of sleep, compensating with caffeine or some other stimulant, then find yourself sleepless again.
And then people get grumpy. And start making mistakes. And forgetting important things, like homework, or pants.
Last night was one of those nights. Not forgetting my pants (you perverts!), but crazy random happenstance. After a wild evening out at the bookstore, I went home, finished my grading while watching some Dexter, and then got ready for bed. I went to plug in my phone… and couldn’t find it. I searched. And searched. And cleaned my apartment while searching. And went out to search my car. Then finally went back to the bookstore, and pestered security to search the lost and found. Finally after finding my phone (and 3 hours past my bedtime) I returned home to try to get to sleep. Let me tell you, adrenaline is not conducive to sleep.
So… teaching sleepy. It happens from time to time. Everyone has off days. That is to be expected (just hope that it isn’t your heart surgeon, or your air traffic controller).
Pitfalls: impatience, fuzzy thinking, and aggressively coffee flavored breath. And possible lack of pants.
Your tools: Coffee, educational videos, and group work time.
If you feel fuzzy while lecturing, it is probably best to outline your examples in class notes. But the best advice I can give about teaching sleepy is this: try not to make a habit of it. Take care of yourself, and don’t let insomnia take over your life. There is no such thing as “catching up on sleep”, there is only slow recovery from exhaustion. Which is as messy and unpleasant as it sounds.
P.S. I got through the day alright. Although I was ready to bite the head off of people by the end of day.
P.P.S. No heads were actually bitten in the production of this day. I promise.
P.P.P.S. Seriously, get some sleep. Caffeinated evil may sound good in theory, but honestly a jittery hand controlling the death ray is hard on the upholstery.