At the beginning of all my classes, I always ask my student or students how they’re doing. I sometimes get the “I’m fine, thank you,” textbook answer; but usually (especially when it’s not the holidays) my younger students would tell me they’re tired or sleepy or both. Sometimes, when they’re really tired, they just make a noise and I can guess what they’re feeling.

When students come to class tired or sleepy or both (or both and also hungry) and I have a difficult or challenging lesson prepared for the day, I come up with an easier version of the lesson while they’re doing the listening activity or we do something else like a speaking activity or a game that will help them remember previous lessons or words that they recently learned instead.

It’s something I’ve done a few times, but I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do. I could always just go with the lesson I originally planned, but I think teaching my students something new and challenging when they’re already physically and mentally tired from school, club practice, lessons and homework is not really productive.

I could be wrong, of course, but right now I feel like that is the best thing to do in that situation and I don’t really have an alternative. Maybe I’ll find one in the future. Until then I’ll just have to be creative and resourceful when my students have had such a tough day that the first thing they tell me is “tired.”