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To bribe or not to bribe?

They Call Me Teacher is wondering what to do about a student who regularly sleeps through class, claiming it’s a side effect of medication he’s taking. But she thinks the medicine is largely an excuse:

I think he has a bit more control of the situation and uses it to manipulate his way out of work. …Why do I say this? Because anytime we have a special activity, like our Rosh Hashanah activity, he chooses to stay awake. For that activity, he had warning. After about 15 minutes of his morning snooze, I informed him (in a stern voice) if he didn’t wake up and participate in class for the morning, he would be missing out on the Rosh Hashanah treat. Guess what Sleepy did? Woke right up and participated as a 5th grade student all morning long. Which then makes me wonder what bribing him with food would do to keep him awake…? I think it might work, yet I feel it’s not the best option… I want my students to want to learn. I don’t want to be manipulated and twisted around a finger of a 5th grader. I also know he’s the type of student who would brag and rub it into the other students that he got a treat and they, even with their un-bribed great behavior, got nothing.

Apparently, the child’s parents and former teachers have accepted his excuse that the medication makes him sleepy, rather than working with his doctor to mitigate this side effect (if it’s real) or demanding that he participate in class (if it’s an excuse).

How would you handle this situation?

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