First Period Lateness Overwhelms

By Lizaveta Slinko ’17

Students have become accustomed to the high-pitched insistence of the bell, their reactions so psychologically ingrained that they can be considered innate. However, there are some who disobey. Such examples can be found trickling into classrooms early in the morning, late for first period.

Students who arrive late obstruct not only their own learning, but disrupt their classmates. This tardiness is not exclusively the result of slacking; rather there are other variables to consider.

Albina Kukic ’18 stated, “I think it [lateness] should be expected because students get stuck in different unexpected scenarios, and other times it’s because they are stuck up all night doing homework and studying.”

The starting time for high school has caused concern not only within the student body, but also within the scientific field. Ideally, classes should begin after eight in the morning because before this point teenagers are not mentally prepared to focus or absorb information.

“I don’t have a problem in my other classes, just period one,” said Mrs. Vargas. “It’s because the students start too early.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation poll, 28 percent of students fall asleep in their first period class. Some end up feeling so drained that they don’t even attempt to come to class at all.   

“I think first period starts too early and should begin at 7:30 or even later,” said Karen Yin ’17. “Most of the time I can’t concentrate during first period because I’m not fully awake, and sometimes I find myself oversleeping. It’s to the point where I sleep through my alarms.”

There are also several students who are late due to issues with transportation, which come from living an inconvenient distance away from school.

“I wake up very tired and almost every day there are delays with the trains,” stated Klaudia Sulkowska ’16. “On rare occasions there are sick passengers that hold up my train, making me more late than I already am. There are even times when the whole subway line is discontinued for a while in the morning and I ultimately have to find a different way to get to school.”

Sulkowska said that she currently wakes up at five in the morning because her first class begins second period. However, her schedules for sophomore and junior year weren’t as fortunate, and she would begin first period. This would force her to wake up as early as four in the morning.

Another problem with transportation is the overcrowded buses. The large numbers of students these vehicles carry can cause some to be left behind for lack of room.

“Third period, the buses are very crowded, so it’s harder for the younger kids,” said Mrs. Lau. “They’re not used to it, but the seniors should be.”

However, acknowledging excuses for tardiness does not mean accepting this behavior. If such an issue was to be simply ignored, then lateness could spread throughout the rest of the class.   

Mrs. Vargas stated, “They have to sign in, and if they are late too often it might affect their class performance or grade.”

Sulkowska said that consequences she’s received for her lateness include being marked late, having less time for exams, and sometimes getting zeros for class work.    

“I make them sign my late book,” said Mrs. Lau. “If it becomes a pattern, I have to talk to them individually.”

Sulkowska said that one measure students can take to prevent being delayed is to wake up earlier and to give themselves extra time just in case there are any problems with transportation. She also suggests consulting with a guidance counselor, to see if they can change your schedule to begin at a more manageable time.

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