Friday, September 26, 2008

What Else? "The Sucker."

I teach a night class. In doing so, I recognize that occasionally I have a student who is either (a) extremely weary because they’ve been up all day (poor things…) or (b) are coming to class and will then be up all night, so class is the last chance to nap without getting docked by their supervisor. What happened two nights ago, however, has presented me with a puzzle…I had a student fall asleep…in class…while sucking her thumb. I’m serious.

First the student pulled her arm inside her shirt because, I assume, she was cold. Then she pulled in the other arm. Then she stuck one hand up through the neckline (can you picture this – it was really rather Houdini-like) and, yes, put her thumb into her mouth. Then she stuck her other hand through the neckline and started to twirl her braids. Then, her eyes glazed over and she drifted off to sleep.

My basic policy is to not wake sleepers unless they (a) snore or (b) exude an unpleasant odor. In both of these cases, the rest of the class usually either laughs or makes their displeasure loudly known and the person is awakened. In this case, however, the class remained silent. I thought about waking her, but I was afraid that if she was startled, she would have flung out her arms, popping her shirt completely from her body, revealing her rather large … get my point?

She did finally wake up, return her arms to the normal position, and stumble from the classroom to, I guess, go to the restroom. My dilemma has been whether or not to talk to her. Do I talk to her about (a) sleeping, (b) crawling into her shirt, or (c) thumb sucking – which she does from time to time even when awake? Maybe none of the above? I’m a bit troubled by all this – I really hate to be interrupting her quiet time with my insistence that she learn something.