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Zombies Roam the Halls · 4 September 2007

High school kids and their teachers usually react to the beginning of the school year with one of two emotions, dread or excitement. Regardless of which emotion reigns in the student or teacher, each will probably become a mindless zombie roaming the halls sometime during the day.


When the alarm goes off on that first day of school some students will reach over and hit their snooze buttons over and over again until their moms tell them that the bus is coming. They will roll out of bed and finally trudge off to school after what seems like hours of torturous tongue lashings about getting up on time and making good first impressions.


While research suggests that teenagers learn best after they finally come out of their coma-like sleep (around 2 pm or so), they finally arrive at school often before the sun comes up and wander around school like zombies. After lunch, they finally wake up and learn a little about reading, writing, math, and history. If they are lucky, they might even have some art, music, drama, cinema, computer programming, or engineering in their schedules.


For those who love school and the excitement that a new year of learning brings, the night before school is long indeed. They can not sleep and they often look at their clocks to see if it is past midnight yet. Instead of cursing at their alarms and hitting the snooze buttons, they see the time and hop out of bed, shocked and frustrated. Even though it happens every year, the excitement of the first day kept them awake too long causing them to lose sleep and wake up with the alarm instead of before it. They zip through breakfast and hurry to school. Unfortunately, their too few hours of sleep cause them to lose energy by the time they get to school or shortly thereafter and like their school-hating counterparts, they too wander around like zombies, albeit excited zombies, until sometime later in the day.


Personally, I love the start of a new school year. I truly am a morning person who normally wakes without the alarm. But on the first day of school, I often rise even earlier than normal. I get excited for the first day but instead of staying awake until all hours of the night like my students, I tend to get up early. Really early. So early in fact that some would call it late at night rather than early in the morning. Consequently, while my colleagues and our students wander around with lattes and mochas in their hands trying to cope with the morning, I watch the yearly ritual with amusement.


Unfortunately, when all the zombies (students and teachers alike) come back to life, I have already been up for too many hours and start to doze. Whether I am giving my opening day spiel or wandering around meeting students, I feel myself fall into a daze. I am sure that my students and colleagues make fun of that morning guy who is asleep standing up. In the end, everybody has been a zombie at school sometime during the day. Including me.


I suppose that it does not really matter whether a person is a zombie because she is excited about school or dreading school. I suppose that some might even consider it training that zombies roam the halls of high schools across the nation. After all, whether it is just another Monday or the day after a long weekend or vacation, these same zombies will be roaming the cubicles and offices and shops of the nation’s workplaces looking for caffeine. Just like they did in high school on the first days of each school year.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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