Have a student that just won't stay awake? Try this!

Saturday, April 15, 2017 / 1 comment
Have a student that just won't stay awake? Try this!

So summer vacation is rapidly approaching, and as it does, I'm finding that one or two of my students (especially my seniors!) are finding it more and more challenging to stay awake during class. Unfortunately for them (and me!), we still have over 40 days left this school year, which means I have to figure out how to keep these guys and girls awake and ready to learn. 

I've got a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to sleepy students - and a few of them might seem like the opposite of what you'd expect a teacher to do. I've found, however, that if I follow these steps, the problem is resolved in a friendly and nonconfrontational way.

1. Wake them up!
I let my students know from the first day of class that I'll be waking them up every time they fall asleep. I don't say it in a mean way, I just make sure that they know that mine won't be the class where they sleep through the entire period. I will wake them up. Every time.

2. Do it nicely!
Don't be mean about waking up a sleeping student. It just invites confrontation, which wastes class time, or embarrasses the student, which damages the culture of trust you have been striving to build in your room. The pranks may be amusing, but do they solve the problem? Check out the video below and tell me what you think.

Yeah, that kid's totally not going to fall asleep in class again...right. 

3. Try to work it out together!
If it's a reoccurring problem, I bring the student in for a chat. Again, it's a friendly, nonconfrontational one. I let the student know that their behavior is not working in class - it's distracting and unfair to me, their classmates, and to them. I ask sincerely if anything is wrong, if they're getting enough sleep at home, if they need anything. This tends to disarm even the most argumentative student. I'm not angry, I'm worried; how can they be mad about that? I ask them for solutions and offer a few of my own (get a drink of water when you feel sleepy, stand and pace for a bit in the back of the room, eat a mint). By the end of the conversation I've asserted my position - no more sleeping, but I've asked for their help with this problem.

I wrote an article for Teachhub.com that explains a few other things I do after this point (including what happens when being nice doesn't work). I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think. Strategies for Dealing with Sleepy Students

How do you handle sleeping students? Tell us in the comments below!

1 comment:

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