View Full Version : Thinking of teaching as a career and looking for advice


IansDad
11-20-06, 12:46 PM
Hello Teachers,

I would like to elicit some feedback from ADHD diagnosed teachers who consider themselves successful and love what they do, please.

I am 36 years old and just started treatment for ADHD (Adderral XR 30mg QD) for the second time in my life. (Please read my introduction post for all the details on my background with ADHD. Last year, I finally obtained my BA in economics from the University of Minnesota and have been contemplating what I'd like to do with the rest of my life.

One of the things that I have enjoyed most over the past few years is coaching youth sports (football). I derive great satisfaction from the self-esteem and confidence kids gain from things I have to teach them.

This has lead to the suggestion (from my wife and some of the parents of the kids I've coached) that I might make a pretty good teacher. And after giving it some thought, I tend to agree. I'd like to teach social studies (history, civics, economics, etc.) at the middle-school level. This is the age group of kids I enjoyed coaching the most.

But before I go back to school for an M.S., I'd like to make sure I have what it takes.

So here's my question: Other than a passion for that moment when a child "gets it" (I love that!), and patience (I'm doing fairly well at increasing it) what traits do I need to look for in myself to ensure that this is a good fit for me, especially as an ADHD adult?

IansDad
11-22-06, 12:46 AM
Seeing as how I haven't gotten a response, maybe I need to rephrase the question.

What obstacles can I look forward to/prepare for as a person with ADHD in the teaching profession? I'd like to know what I face outside of the normal stresses of teaching to guage whether I can over come them and be successful.

Please help.

*~ žEEK ~*
11-22-06, 11:47 PM
Hi IansDad, :)

I know we have (at a minimum) 4 teachers here that will have some advice for you.

If you don't get a reply soon, PM me and I'll send a PM to the teachers that I know on our forum with a link to this thread!

Best of Luck! :)

peridot
11-23-06, 12:57 AM
I apologize for this message even as I write it: I am in a particularly foggy mind fog at the moment, but I saw your posting the other day and felt shy about responding to it and so didn't. I'll try now because I really want to talk about teaching.

1) Middle schoolers are tough as well as being very enjoyable at times. They are also a mixture of elementary schoolers and high schoolers. Elementary school kids can love their teachers; h.s.ers want to have more collegial relationships with their teachers. M.S.ers want both at varying times. And coaching them would be very different from a classroom situation, I would guess. Sometimes you have to just let them deal with their hormones by connecting the planned lesson to whatever they're obsessed with -- ADD comes in very handy with that.
Warning: I'm coming at this from having taught in private schools and having small classes.

2)ADD and teachers? I had a hard time with the paper work and I had very little in a private school setting. I usually made at least one mistake in report cards every quarter.

Keeping track of all the students' handed-in assignments required me to strain my organizational abilities. However, I did well enough that when a student tried to argue that she had turned in an assignment and I must have lost it, I felt secure in saying that I had not lost it and I knew I hadn't.

I moved around the classroom a lot during class -- I spent most of their class time answering questions, asking questions, doing a bit of lecturing or they were giving oral reports. I needed to move and it gave me a chance to get close to each of them as I paced around. I never wasted classtime having them read silently or work on homework -- that would have bored me to tears.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that you need some organizational skills and an ability to sublimate your .... oh, I don't know. Students can enjoy an eccentric teacher who jumps from topic to topic, but you need to be able to keep that all loosely connected to a main purpose. You need to be able to enjoy them, to rise above the fact that sometimes you feel that you might as well have spent the day playing solitaire, you need to be interested in what you're teaching, you need to enjoy hamming it up every now and then, you need to maintain boundaries (something that I found hard, especially hard with my ADD students because we could have just spent time having fun talking about Star Wars or some other random topic).

I had unusual freedom at the schools where I taught. I don't know if I could adjust to teaching in public school, as there seems to be an effort there to replace teachers with bureaucrats and I hear many of my teacher friends expressing their frustration. I also was known and tolerated for being very smart and a little weird; my principals accepted my eccentricities. In fact, I left teaching when that changed.

Sorry for this tediously long post. Hopefully, someone who has some real advice to offer will also reply.

IansDad
11-24-06, 02:49 AM
Thanks for your very thought-provoking response, Peridot. I think coaching the same 7th and 8th graders I've had the last few years would be very different from teaching them in a classroom. When I am coaching, I have only boys (no girls), who volunteered to be there, and I can run their little brains out for a couple of hours. I can see each of the situations you spoke of and it caused me to think of other possible challenges, as well. I appreciate your taking the time to help me out. Just so that you know, if you were trying to scare me away from teaching, you failed. ;)

Oh and don't sell yourself short, personal experience in this case definitely serves as valid advice.


Oh and Seek, thanks for your offer!

peridot
11-24-06, 03:48 PM
No, I wasn't trying to scare you away. Teaching drives me crazy sometimes, but I love it.