Classroom Management Why I Let A Student Sleep During My Class

Classroom Management Why I Let A Student Sleep During My Class

I was a young pup—still very new to teaching. In my 4th year, I was teaching French in a middle school to 200 seventh graders.

That’s when I met Billy. Billy was a student in my first period class.

Billy would fall asleep during my class. It wasn’t often, but often enough for students to notice, snicker and make comments to me about Billy.

I really didn’t know what to do so I sought out the advice of the most senior teacher on staff.

Mrs. M, was a strict no-nonsense teacher. Highly feared by students, highly respected by fellow staff members. She was tough. Not only with students, but with staff members, especially new ones, like me. When she retired, she had worked 33 out of 35 years in the same room.

I summoned up the courage to ask her what to do with my sleeping student-Billy.

She said, “Don’t do anything. Just let him sleep.”

I couldn’t believe I was hearing this advice. She reasoned that if you wake him up, he’s going to disrupt your class even more than his sleeping. She also advised I talk to him and ask him why he was so tired.

It was good advice.

I found out from Billy that the reason why he was sleeping in my class was because he had a worm picking business. (The village I taught in was located in a lake and cottage district with many tourists visiting to fish.)

I couldn’t believe that this seventh grader, only 11 years old, had his own business.

But Billy was well versed in the worm business. He told me that he couldn’t sell worms to me because he was a wholesaler, not a retailer. He also knew that he had to obtain permission from landowners, especially golf course owners to pick worms.  More surprisingly, he hired a number of immigrants to pick worms for him and had a payment schedule for them.

I was very impressed.

Needless to say, the few times that Billy slept in my class, I let him sleep.

Until next time,

Talk to each other, support each other, take care of each other.


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