ADHD Teacher teaching ADHD Students

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adhdlife

#1

Hello Tribe! My name is Kelly, I am 28 years old, and was diagnosed with ADHD at 27. Lets back pedal a little bit to get a better understanding of my story. At the age of 6 I was put into special education classes in my public school because I was not progressing with learning to read. My parents never looked into the medical diagnosis because my school met all of my needs. Although school was a challenge, I received the services I needed so that I was able to do well enough to get into college. It was my senior year of high school that I realized what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a teacher, but not just any teacher, I wanted to teach students who were “just like me,” students who school is easy for do not interest me, thats boring. I want the students who are exciting, the innovators, the creative thinkers, the ones who will make me laugh every day.

I went to college, and I knew I would need to go to graduate school to obtain the degrees needed to teach the students I wanted to teach. When I entered college I went in with a low academic self-esteem. I quickly learned, I was shamed during public education. In college I excelled, I found topics and courses that I found interested that I was writing 25 page papers in one night. I was reading 10-15 academic articles in a day. This hyperfocus led me to accidentally triple major. I took so many courses, that I unintentionally, took all of the classes for 3 separate majors.

Then grad school. This hyper focused continued. I double majored. But in grad school I had an advantage that no one else in my program had. See I was in a program to be a special education teacher, but I was a special education student, I was able to not only add my knowledge from the course materials, the theory world, but I was able to explain to these future teachers what that looked like for their students. How students in their classes feel. What it feels like to be shamed, and how the smallest amount of praise can change our lives.

Due to my academic success and letters of recommendations on my work ethic, I had a ton of job offers. I selected a job. That fall, I began my first teaching job. I went into this job thinking I had beat my learning disabilities, I had overcome this and I was going to help my students do the same.

I quickly learned in my first teaching job I was wrong. After 6 years of success, I was back to a world of being shamed. But now, I did not have anything to help me. I did not have an IEP stating I legally get this help. I was just seen as someone who could not perform. I could make connections with students, I could teach lessons, but I could not get my lesson plans in on time. I struggled to make connections with my coworkers. So I lost my first teaching job.

I was then hired by the public school that I had attended as a student for my entire education. I was going to work with the teachers who built me up, and educate the teachers who had shamed me, show those teachers I was capable. This was an environment I knew, I was comfortable in. After two years I lost that job too for the same reason as the previous school.

At that point I could not deal with this failure anymore and realized I had to of had more then a learning disability. I went to a variety of doctors, did some serious analysis, even using my own degrees to assist in the process. This led my multiple diagnosis, Dsylexia, Social Anxiety, and ADHD.

I am now in my third school, it is my fifth year of teaching. I have learned some strategies to make me successful, but I still feel like the student I was in public school who was shamed. And the worst part is, I have to watch my students be shamed by people, and even though I go in and explain to them, we are the special, the brilliant, and tell them all the wonderful things, it is hard to fight a world where they are being shamed.

So tribe, I am on the forefront. I teach high schoolers, some of the younger members of our tribe. And I am reaching out to this community not just for myself, but for them, because my goal as a teacher is to make it so they are one step ahead of me.

If you have anything you would like me to pass off to my students, please let me know. I have shown them many of the videos from this channel, and all of us agree, its comforting.


#2

So lovely to know that there’s someone in public schools looking out for adhders… The world really does shame us

I think one thing that students need to hear is that we are not all born the same. I strongly believe that the process of growing up is one of learning to accept what you cannot change and working on that which you can. The first part of this is crucially important, but often overlooked. Just as a physically disabled person, say a person missing a leg might have trouble playing tennis, ADHD kids have trouble with things others think are so easy, like writing a to-do list. Kids should know that if they lose things, it is NOT because they aren’t trying hard enough but because they are neurotypical. It should be emphasized that yes, it IS harder for ADHD kids. They shouldn’t beat themselves up over it. We must learn to accept that not all are born with the same abilities.

While we accept that we may never have it as easy as someone neurotypical, we must know it is our responsibility to learn strategies to help us cope. And to help us utilise our (incredible) talent to give back. Sometimes it’s a lot harder for us. But improvement NEEDS to be celebrated. Achievement is often defined as result of baseline privilege/ ability X hard work. I think effort for efforts sake really needs to be celebrated.


#3

Hi! I work in a school too! A special school specially for children with autism and ADHD, so granted we have brilliant support systems, but there are some practical things you can do to help students.

You can start by educating other teachers. I know from experience that they can be stubborn, but some tricks can really help students with ADHD and be incredibly low effort for teachers. This includes giving instructions visually rather than orally - always writing the instructions on the board, so the forgetful ADHD brain can refer to it when they lose track of what they’re doing. Task checklists are also good. If they must give a long presentation, make sure it is multimedia! Videos, audio and pictures where possible.

But also, encourage students to help themselves and learn the best ways to study. Encourage them to find better ways of taking notes. Start a homework club just for ADHD kids! With snacks!

Your students will benefit so much from you being able to relate to them. Knowing that an adult around them understands is so so helpful even on its own. If you are struggling with planning, let your line manager know and ask them if you can do them in a different format. Maybe there is a way to shorten the paperwork for you. If they are a good employer, they will make reasonable adjustments for your ADHD. But it sounds like you’ve managed spectacularly and found a good career path so well done! :slight_smile:


#4

Hello and belated hello Kelly! And welcome!

You sound like an amazing teacher that I’m sure many students need. :heart: I love your compassion, sympathy and understanding! I’m sorry you have to watch them suffer like you did, though, but hoping having at least you in their corner will help them through. :heart: