Allowing children to sleep in class so you don't have to deal with them?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mr. Nobody, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2015

    I spent most of last week doing informal observations. I noticed that one of my colleagues is allowing a child to sleep, uninterrupted, in their classroom for up to an hour at a time.

    I was surprised because this is a seasoned teacher with a good reputation for having handled students with severe academic and behavioral struggles in the past well.

    When we spoke about it, the teacher acknowledged that it is wrong to allow a student to sleep in the classroom. However, the teacher said they sometimes allow the child to sleep because when the child is awake, he refuses to listen, and is a constant disruption to the learning environment.

    The teacher has about 25 students, over half who are performing significantly below grade level, and about 1/4 who are in Special Education (SpEd). The teacher feels that this student takes a lot of time away from the others.

    The student is repeating the grade level, receives 1 hour a day of SpEd pullout for poor academic performance, and sees a therapist 2x a week (outside of school) for his behavior.

    The teacher speaks with the child's parents almost daily via phone call home or note. The teacher also has created an individual behavior chart for the student in which he can earn incentives for following classroom rules and procedures.

    In spite of the aforementioned interventions, the student continues to disrupt the class to the point that the teacher struggles to teach effectively. I reached out to the SpEd teacher about this child and was told we need to ignore his bad behavior and only focus on the good and reward him.

    But the teacher is already doing that in the classroom and with the chart.

    Do any of you have suggestions for what more this teacher can do. I understand the frustration, but regardless, this child cannot sleep in class.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2015

    I can't claim to know more than the special ed teacher and general teacher involved, but I can't help but think that if he is such an extreme distraction to the class when he's not sleeping, perhaps (assuming all IEP goals and modifications are being followed as planned) being in the general classroom so much may not be the best placement for him.
     
  4. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2015

    I agree. However (and I am not sure if this is just my district or if it's like this all over the USA) there seems to be a push to keep students in the classroom in the least restrictive environment possible. Unless the child is hurting themselves or others, or is extremely disruptive (ie: throwing chairs, running out of the classroom) it is difficult to get students placed.

    I believe this child has ODD because when he is awake he seems to enjoy being defiant and intentionally does not follow directions. The one time I observed him awake, whenever the teacher asked him to do something he either needed to be asked several times, then threatened before he would do it, or he would argue with the teacher.(ie: when asked to come to the carpet for whole group, he kept playing around with materials at his desk. when the teacher asked him again he yelled, I'M COMING! and kept playing around)

    I can understand why the teacher lets him sleep, but I want to be help this situation.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2015

    In class support or one on one para?

    I hate when LRE becomes restrictive for other learners....
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2015

    Completely agree.

    It is difficult to move them, but if the kid himself can't learn anything do to his behavior and the sleeping, it might be time to review the IEP. If he can't learn, it's not the Least Restrictive Environment.

    And it's a tragedy for the other kids in the class if they don't get a chance to learn.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2015

    Out of curiosity, what grade level are we talking about?
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2015

    Has an FBA been done and a BIP put into place?
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 15, 2015

    I was wondering if perhaps a 2nd opinion, outside of the current professionals, might be advisable. Someone unfamiliar with the situation might spot something that is overlooked by those who are familiar with the student. Also, minute by minute anecdotal records, perhaps recorded by an aide, might reveal hidden clues.

    A couple of things that caught my attention; the student misbehaves even when you are present in the room. Often an elementary student will change his/her behavior when a 2nd adult enters the room.

    Also, I was wondering why the student is so sleepy. Could there be a sleep disorder or a situation preventing proper sleep at home. (Young students will sometimes misbehave as a natural physical reaction to trying to stay awake). Current research indicates that one possible inhibition to sleep could be constant screen time with TV or computers/video games, especially right before bed, and/or little physical activity outside of school.

    Another common problem that can effect sleep or behavior in children is caffeinated beverages and/or foods containing MSG/NutraSweet. Caffeine stays in the system longer in children. Many fast food restaurants and common food products, such as Campbell's soups, use MSG, and the labeling often hides its use. Both MSG and NutraSweet (aspartame) effect the brain, and some people are sensitive to this.
     
  10. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Sep 16, 2015

    Maybe the reason he is so disruptive is because he is so tired. I can't imagine a little one sleeping for an hour at school. There is too much going on.

    Poor teacher! Poor student! I feel for them both.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 16, 2015

    I asked the OP what grade, but they haven't responded. If it was a kindergartener or first grader, I don't feel like allowing him to sleep is the worst thing in the world. Like you said, a lack of sleep can often cause disruptive behavior.

    They weren't behavior problems, but when I taught kindergarten, if one fell asleep, I let them sleep. Are they going to retain information if they are fighting off sleep? Probably not.
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2015

    Well, one question would be what happens when he misses lessons while sleeping? How does he make up the work? Does his poor academic performance relate to the fact that he misses what's going on in class (because of sleeping) and can't keep up???
     
  13. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2015

    So sorry for the late response! This week has been crazy. The child is in first grade and yes, he has an FBA and a BIP. I do not check in with the teacher everyday, but she has a good reputation, so I suspect she follows it pretty closely.

    I do not understand why this child sleeps. According to his records and parents, he is not on medication.

    He refuses to make up the work at school and will only do it if the teacher sends it home. That would get confusing in terms of grading because at home he has help, so the papers come back perfect. But that's not fair to the other children who don't get to take classwork home.

    I think it is a cycle. He is behind so he sleeps. He sleeps so he is behind. He sleeps to avoid working.
     
  14. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 20, 2015

    I think this is tricky for a number of reasons. It's difficult to say why this child is so tired that he's sleeping during class. Does he have a difficult home life? Is he up late? What is going on at night that he isn't sleeping? If he does get sleep at night, has his medical exams been normal? These are all questions I think of right off the bat, but are difficult to get answers. One of my first thought was medication, but that's already been ruled out.

    If he isn't sleeping because of a medical reason, then it is most likely to escape/avoid the classroom demands. It's hard because letting him sleep doesn't do him justice; he's already held back. Then again, not letting him sleep creates a situation where he's disruptive and most likely isn't learning content, anyway.

    I'd be interested to see what the FBA revealed. What are motivating operators for him? Does he have a reinforcement system in place? Is it being used consistently? Did he help make the reward menu? If it's not working, maybe adjustments should be made so that it starts working.

    I had a kiddo who would sleep for an hour during centers, but he was on the autism spectrum and it was caused by medication.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 20, 2015

    My son used to sleep thru a math class in high school because he was so far ahead of the content. He didn't do homework either and aced every test. He double majored in accounting and finance in college and went on to get his MBA.
     

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