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Being a teacher 2010-03-19T06:27:47+00:00

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  • #93157
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    I struggled through every day in my first 10 years of teaching; thought the kids loved me, my colleagues thought I was bright and creative, and administrators noticed my “out of the box” thinking, I was miserable. I fought a constant battle with frustration because of lack of organization, focus, and confidence. I had to work double the hours to get the same amount of work done as my colleagues. Finally, three years ago, I came out of the closet and told my husband that I thought I “might” have ADD. He said, “Oh, thank GOD!” and I was shocked by his awareness of my struggles. I thought I had hidden it so well! So, I had a difficult conversation with my doctor and got my first script. I had an immediate transformation, and as I read in some of your stories, I finally felt “normal”, for the first time in my life. My brain saw the paperwork in an organized way, and I got systems in place. I understood routine and was able to complete one task at a time. I was truly transformed, as a person and as a teacher.

    Almost 4 years later, I am very happy with my career because I finally feel effective. I embrace my AD/HD diagnosis now, because addressing it has changed my life. I can joke about it and I can talk openly about it with colleagues, students, and parents. As long as I am working to improve my performance and understand my limitations, I no longer feel stigmatized. I am happier on a personal level, too, without the constant feeling of frustration and inadequacy. It’s been therapeutic to look at my past through a new lens, knowing now that I was fighting a losing battle that was not my fault.

    I take 10 mg. of Dextro daily; althought I feel that I could use a little more, I hesitate to increase the dose because it’s a stimulant. I first used Strattera and loved it, but it was too expensive on a teacher’s salary!

    Best of luck to all of my fellow AD/HD teachers!!!

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    #93158
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    Anonymous
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    “I fought a constant battle with frustration because of lack of organization, focus, and confidence. I had to work double the hours to get the same amount of work done as my colleagues.”

    Yep, me too.

    “I had an immediate transformation, and as I read in some of your stories, I finally felt “normal”, for the first time in my life. My brain saw the paperwork in an organized way, and I got systems in place.”

    Yep, me too :-)

    ” I can joke about it and I can talk openly about it with colleagues, students, and parents.”

    I’m not there just yet. I’ve been at this school for a year and am not yet familiar enough with a lot of the staff to trust them. I hope to be able to do this one day.

    “I am happier on a personal level, too, without the constant feeling of frustration and inadequacy.”

    Me too :-) I still get frustration and inadequacy, but much less than I used to.

    “Best of luck to all of my fellow AD/HD teachers!!!”

    You too! =D

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    #93159
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    jameswing
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    @zsazsa

    @sarge

    I know exactly what you are talking about. On my reviews I get really high marks on everything including organization. However, I feel out of control and totally disorganized. The only thing I get marked down for is I talk too fast sometimes.

    I think what impresses them is that I use a lot of tools to help stay organized. They don’t realize the amount of time I spend setting things up, and my reasoning behind things.

    I started at this college last year and took over a department that had been just about left to die. When you walked into the room it looked like you were going back to the 70s, and the curriculum hadn’t undergone content reviews in 8 years, and no changes to the required courses had been made in 15 years. In this time the technology and role of a draftsman has changed dramatically. so I was off on a mighty mission.

    Last year I reviewed curriculum for 4 courses and remodeled the room:

    http://www.mccd.edu/academics/divisions/it/drafting/images/cropedsm.jpg

    This Semester I have attacked the curriculum again, adding 2 new programs, 6 courses, and revising another 6. People are amazed at what I have done, but all I see is what still need to be done, and don’t think it was really that big a deal. It took 30 hours spread across 4 or 5 days throughout the semester.

    As for how I “organize things” I use moodle for all my classroom materials. I have set goals for each week, “Lecture” and introduce the lab, on the first day, lab the second day. The lecture notes are posted to the website, and include only bullet points (because I can’t stand it when people read slides), and images. This semester I started recording my lectures as well. All assignments are posted to the site, as well as rubrics (to help me in grading), and quizzes are online. I also set aside one day per week where I stay late and grade labs.

    I got an interactive Whiteboard last year and LOVE it. It allows me to go through page in whatever order I feel like, not just what I had preset. I am also looking at ways I can do other things to help my students, while making it easier for me. All of which will require extended prep time.

    We do have a bunch of other admin stuff to do, but most of it is moving online, and easy once you get the hang of it. My biggest problem with it is I will get distracted and start working on something else. I also get frustrated with other professors who are constantly complaining about the administrative stuff, when they have 4-8 people to share in the workload, and who don’t do any new preparation for each new semester.

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    #93160
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    It is so encouraging to read all of your posts and know that we are not alone in this.

    @Nimthiriel, I bet you can find one other teacher at your school with ADHD that you can commiserate with. We are easy to spot! Just target the one who blurts out at staff meetings, but usually with an insightful idea that’s worth listening to! Or, the other teacher who’s walking into the meeting late with you :)

    @jameswing, Your story epitomizes the reasons we are better at our job in some ways than people without ADHD. I have identified several ways that my ADHD has made me a better teacher, and your examples of problem solving are one. Thinking out of the box, hyper-focusing, attending to detail (albeit EVERY detail!) are our strengths. Once we conquer the focusing and organizational challenges, I think we have the edge over others. I know so many teachers that struggle with students and parents because they are so “Type A” personality, and can’t ever see any way other than theirs to get something done. My students and parents appreciate my flexibility and approachability that I have developed because I personally need it from others, too!

    I wonder, with all of your accomplishments, do you take meds? I couldn’t have gotten where I am without them. Just wondering what’s helped you get there.

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    #93161
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    bethshomeschool
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    I was recently diagnosed with ADD and while grateful that I went from teaching children to adults. I am finding it harder to do simple housekeeping stuff like keeping track of my adult student’s attendance. I’m using an archaic system not on a computer and my classroom is not even in the same location as my employer. I only have to hand the envelopes in twice a year with their attendance and I have yet to do it for this year. I’m so afraid of getting in trouble or messing up my program for bringing it to the administrations attention. My classroom is a shared office so I can’t keep all my records there and have them in messy bags around my house. I am in desperate need of getting my own office so I can be more efficient but I find because i have a family I can barely remember to look for the attendance files when I’m home and only seem to remember them after I’ve arrived at work and of course by then it’s too late to fill them out. I love my job and don’t want to be fired or in trouble and yet the one big thing I need to do to keep my job is the attendance folders and I’ve been blowing it. Any advise would be grately appreciated.

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    #93162
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Teachers! I started a blog for teachers with ADHD…I’d love to hear from you!

    http://teacherswithadhd.blogspot.com/

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    #93163
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    jameswing said, “I feel out of control and totally disorganized.” As a teacher I felt that way, too. Even in the middle of a lesson, it was so easy for me to get off-track, and even though I knew I was straying from the plan, it was as if I was on a fast train that I couldn’t stop–I had to keep right on going.

    Now that I am retired, I have the same problem. Totally disorganized, and if I do get a housekeeping task done (cleaning off the table, for instance), and SWEAR that I will keep it that way, soon it looks just as bad as it did before. I haven’t been diagnosed ADD although I HAVE been diagnosed OCD; I thought I didn’t want meds, but now, reading how they have helped a lot of you, I’m reconsidering. I”m reluctant to bring this up with my dr. as I’m afraid he’ll blow me off.

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    #93164
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    Robbo
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    Post count: 929

    I started trying to put together a “best of” page, or thread for this site. THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! it would be just too huge…

    I’m gonna keep trying anyway. it’s just fun.

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    #93165
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    Babyjo
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    megady and MonekyBarb, you need this. We all do. I freaking love this book. You don’t have to get it on Amazon, I got one at half priced books for $10. http://www.organizationallyours.com/2010/02/08/organizing-for-addadhd/

    It’s not so much teacher oriented as ADHD oriented, but the first part of the book she gives just general guidelines about how to organize when you have ADHD that translate easily to other areas of your life.

    And Monkeybarb,

    if he would blow you off, you have the wrong doctor. Is there a therapist you trust that could refer a new doctor? Having rapport and trust with your doctor is vital to your treatment. I myself am looking for a new doc b/c I just have never developed a rapport with her. She doesn’t like to talk about meds and that’s kind of the only reason I see her, so I decided to move on and find a doc willing to educate me more.

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