View Full Version : Elementary teachers with ADD


teachergal
02-25-13, 01:04 AM
I am a first grade teacher fumbling through life with adult ADD. I was diagnosed at age 6, and since then I have been on many different things, but Adderall seems to be the only one that has been really effective. It helps me to concentrate, but sometimes I feel like a slave to it. I don't like the feeling that I can't function without a stimulant. For this reason I have started to wean myself off of my 20 mg dose down to a 10. Its going alright, its been about a whole year at that dose, and I am doing okay (but not amazing).

I guess I should say that recently I tried switching from 10 mg of Adderall to 450 mg of Wellbutren. The Adderall was working alright, but I just don't want to feel like I NEED stimulants. I want to eventually get off of everything. This worked for (kindof... off and on) for a week or two, then I was shot into the worst mental fog of my life! Now I'm on 20 mg of Adderall. Nowadays my Adderall seems to fluctuate in its effectiveness. Some days I have no motivation, other days I'm back in the fog... Some days it works, but since I'm back on a stimulant I'm all jittery and anxious.

Teaching is very challenging for me. Lots of times I don't have the motivation to wrangle 24 six year olds into behaving, and lesson planning and paper work will always be a challenge. But what really bothers me is how distracted I get from my kids. Someone is ALWAYS talking. Someone is ALWAYS bouncing in their chair. Someone is ALWAYS playing with their scissors inside their desk. It drives me BONKERS!! What happens is I usually end up turning into a drill sergeant and making them put their heads down until I feel like I have everyone's focus! And man am I getting easily agitated. Maybe teaching is not the field for me, but I'm going to stick it out for one more year. Maybe I need to pair my adderall with something else... maybe an anti depressant or anti anxiety? I was pairing my Adderall with Zoloft, and it worked really well, except for the constant migranes. Who knows.

ANYWAY. Please, teachers. Share your stories so I know that I am not alone here. Maybe you have discovered something that might work for someone else.

Sorry this post was a little scattered. Turns out I have ADD ;)

SquarePeg
02-25-13, 09:33 AM
Hi there, I teach a class of 6 year olds and also a class of 7 year olds.

When I started with the 6 year olds in September I was like a drill sergeant, wanting everyone´s attention, no squirming, whispering, doodling etc. Kids were getting stressed and I was getting even more so.

Then I took a step back and remembered that they are only 6, time to chill. I have realised that they can doodle and listen, they can whisper and listen, they can "appear" not to be paying attention but still be listening.

Since I have more relaxed with them these classes are going great. I think it was ok to be very strict at first because then it is easier to become more relaxed but harder to do the other way round.

They are now totally engaged, they are smiling, fidgeting, doodling but working very well. They try to anticipate the questions they hear on the CD, they get excited when they get it right.

If some of them have a spare 10 minutes, they will help each other, they will pretend to be "me" with flashcards and stuff, one will be teacher and the others will listen whilst I can pay attention to those that need extra help. I actually totally love this class at the moment.

I have a reward chart (no punishments). They can get a stamp against their name for working hard, finishing tasks, helping others, listening, answering questions. I tell them it´s not for getting the answers correct but for doing the exercise.

So try and chill out, remember they are only young, remember their short attention span, and also that they can actually do two things at once.

Have fun with them and I hope you will notice the difference.

swish12
03-02-13, 11:24 AM
Hi
I am an elementary music teacher with ADHD-I. I started taking Concerta 36mg back before Christmas and I find it's making a huge difference. I used to be super distracted by noise and constant rumbling of noise and whispering. Now I find I can focus more. The bonus for me is, I see them for half an hour then I get to send them back to their classroom teacher ;)

I am big into restorative justice in education, which makes a difference too. Would you like some information? Send me a pm and I can provide you with some resources to get you started. It's not a reward/punishment system, but one based in building relationships and making connections. Let me know!

kroozer
03-09-13, 01:08 AM
" Now I'm on 20 mg of Adderall. Nowadays my Adderall seems to fluctuate in its effectiveness. Some days I have no motivation, other days I'm back in the fog... Some days it works, but since I'm back on a stimulant I'm all jittery and anxious."

I have learned to always take my adderall at least 2 hrs after I've last eaten, and 1 hour before eating again, sometimes thats hard, like just one more thing to manage! but there are things like citric acid and magnesium, that interfere with and sometimes eliminate the affects of the medication--at least that is what I've picked up from researching on the internet, after I noticed the same thing you said about its effectiveness fluctuating. Easiest rule of thumb for me is just take the add on a reasonably empty stomach. I also have xanax for the anxiety, and I take about 1/4 or 1/3 of one if I get anxious during the day, I'm "anxious" about getting overly dependant on those, hence the small doses.

Zing1212
03-24-13, 07:51 PM
I have found that I can feel certain medications when they are wearing off, including the use of Wellbutrin. This can produce that "foggy" feeling. You may need to adjust the type of medication, or talk with your doctor about reducing the effects of when a medication is wearing off. Perhaps, a small dose of another medication to counteract that feeling may help. Although, I know that you were trying to get off of meds altogether. Have you tried other non-stimulant meds?

dvdnvwls
03-24-13, 08:34 PM
The following analogy is not a good literal comparison of the two problems involved, but the concept is correct:

Imagine a woman with no legs gradually weaning herself off of using a wheelchair. She does not regain her ability by doing so. She is simply removing what helps, and replacing it with nothing.

If Adderall helps, then don't remove it.

Not being able to function without a stimulant, due to ADHD, is not a shame - it's simply the effect of a brain disorder. You have a brain disorder (and I do too, not being accusatory here). Pretending otherwise doesn't change anything.

teachergal
03-12-14, 04:28 PM
One year later! Man, last year was a ROUGH year! After getting off the Welbutren, I got back on Adderall (my normal 20 mg) and things were significantly better. The problem with last year (besides my fluctuating meds) was that I had the CHATTIEST class in the world. And they were such strong personalities. Also, I found that having first graders use desks really stressed me out. They were always playing with something inside there and it made me feel like I needed to have them sit completely still with their hands on the top. Well I WAS a little bit of a drill seargent last year, and you know what? I did NOT help. I went home almost every night with the tightest chest and throat, like someone was choking me all day! I had SUCH bad anxiety about kids and them not listening, I'm surprised I am even back here teaching.

Anyways, glad to say that I am having a much better year this year. I have a smaller room this year, and tried alternative seating. I also tried a different behavior system, the clip chart. I still have days (about one day a month, probably during ovulation or something like that) when I am really foggy. Those days are the WORSE. And it makes me question teaching all over again. But the rest of the days are pretty good. Who knows if I will ever get off adderall in the future, but for now, I am learning what works and what does not. Not sure if I am allowed to post this on here, but I have made a blog about my alternative seating classroom and if it helped me, it might help someone else out there too. It is at http://thereadingrug-funinfirstgrade.blogspot.com/?m=1

Also, I am proud to say that I am starting a new journey in life, training as an ADHD coach. This is going to be so good for me because it will help me figure out my own ADD. I am so excited to help others on their own journey! Thanks for everyone's replies!

willow129
04-05-14, 02:48 PM
Wow...you sound so together...it's your second year teaching? I hope I can get myself together with teaching too...

Sillyparty1976
04-28-14, 04:22 PM
I know this is a bit of an old thread, but it's certainly nice to know there are other teachers with ADD. I'll share my thoughts and experiences. I'm finishing my BA and then my credential to teach multi subject, so I'm not there yet. But I wonder how ADD folks are received in the teaching community. How much of this concern is over-thinking, and how much of it is real.... who knows. I could see, from a teacher's POV having a teacher with ADD who's also being treated for ADD could be a positive for the kids, but I could see it as a negative. Parents and Admins might not be happy with a teacher taking stimulants around kids......

Part of me figures that my peers should be understanding...currently I'm in classes with all future teachers, and many are future special ed teachers, and they're gonna have kids like me in their class. But at the same time, I've learned the hard way that most don't quite understand what we go through, or may judge us for being different.

For the OP, I know for me, CBT has worked wonders, my doctor blends different styles and has a pretty good understanding of my issues...I'd say with that, plus medication, I'm confident I can manage a classroom. But OP, hope things are evening out for you.

Makennan
05-06-14, 12:44 AM
I'm studying to become a special ed teacher....should be student teaching in august if I can get my sh*t together enough to finish my last few assignments. I'm SO worried, about so many things I can't even name them all. I'm fully expecting the first year to be extremely difficult, if I manage to pass the student teaching portion.

Glad you stuck it out...it's encouraging to hear that your second year was so much better.

SCIENCE68
05-14-14, 09:43 AM
Hello teachergal, et al,

I'm also a teacher, for ten years. It's very difficult. Or maybe I should say that the paperwork, daily expectations (attendance, grading) are difficult. I only recently diagnosed myself with ADHD (inattentive) after figuring out my son has it (combined type). I really love teaching, but it's really hard and I often don't meet my principals' expectations when it comes to the organizational aspects of my job. But I'm very smart, quick to identify learning difficulties, very good at clearing up conceptual misunderstandings, and I care about my students. I'm also pretty good with parents, when I meet them one-on-one. I just last week was prescribed Adderall. I'm not convinced that it's going to make my work-life a lot easier, but I notice the difference in my brain on weekends when I don't take it. Keep it up! Yes, you might not be the best at some things, but your awareness of the difficulties that kids can have can make you an invaluable teacher.

Sillyparty1976
05-15-14, 04:06 PM
I keep forgetting to subscribe to threads......

I'm realizing my post was me going through the "getting used to" portion of concerta, and being kinda over worried, and overthinking......

Gettin over that now......


I'll try to add something worthwhile now....obviously getting treated for ADD is a huge help, I'm more able to get organized. And I'm really thinking that plays a huge part in being successful as a teacher.


Also, If any of you guys are in school to become a teacher like myself, I'm seeing that as I complete certain courses that have me doing lessons plans, that relieves some anxiety. Seeing what a teacher actually does, removes some of the mystery. I think it can be overwhelming.

part of our teaching program, you have to prepare a lesson and teach it one day. A lot of students struggle, and beat themselves up because it didn't go right. It's not gonna be perfect. Probably like everything else, you'r gonna go in with high expectations, make mistakes, and get discouraged. I tell myself, most things you need to do over and over until you get it. That's kind of what we do as ADDers right?

I'm gonna teach my first class this summer, it's an art class for the youngins. I'm scared and nervous lol