View Full Version : Calling All High School Teachers with ADHD


Makva
02-08-08, 11:59 AM
I would like to start a discussion for high school teachers who are diagnosed with adhd. No offense to the elementary teachers but we just have very different experiences throughout our day.

I'm wondering if we can share our frustrations as well as our coping strategies.

While we all know this job is tough, I think in some ways it is a good fit for us because of the variety. My problem is that certain elements of the job cause me so much stress (due, in part I think, to my adhd) that I'm not sure it is worth it.

So, anyone out there interested?

(I teach 10th grade honors World History and 11th grade American History in MN.)

zoomman
02-10-08, 10:47 PM
Makva,

One of the things I've found that greatly reduces stress in planning/management is to employ as much layered curriculum (http://help4teachers.com/how.htm) elements as I can get away with...though I only got to play a little with this technique in my student teaching, by giving the kids more choice in their curriculum, and thus more power, they responded more enthusiastically and more diligently. It's an interesting idea, I think.

aloha1983
02-14-08, 04:51 AM
Hey! I'm did learning support for my postgrad Dip Ed. Loved the smaller class sizes!

I tutor now and love the one on one sessions.

zoomman
02-14-08, 11:58 AM
Hey! I'm did learning support for my postgrad Dip Ed. Loved the smaller class sizes!

I tutor now and love the one on one sessions.

I have to say that one-on-one would be my ideal. I tended to be very individualistic in my classroom management style, too.

aloha1983
02-14-08, 11:59 PM
Yeah. Even when I did learning support and there were challenging kids and behaviour management, I found it so much easier than a class of thirty.

zoomman
02-15-08, 10:28 AM
Aloha, assuming that the differences between the Australian curriculum and what we have here in the states are merely superficial, what is (was) it like for you to do lesson plans? Do you (did you) have to write out formal plans as a part of your training?.

How 'bout you, Makva? How complete are your lesson plans?

Both of you, how does your ADHD affect your classroom management style?

aloha1983
02-17-08, 02:29 AM
Yes! for the mainstream classes we did. I believe for the first year or two you are still meant to have your plans done two weeks in advance, and they check every now and then.

It was useful but I hated the planning part the most. I wish someone could just plan the curriculum/planning for you and then you just come up with a cool way to present it to the class and get them to connect with it. Of course once you do it for a while you can almost do it without the plan. But still I found in the classes students NEED structure. They like to know exactly what they are doing and where they are going, how they are going to get there next.

I love tutoring because you never need to plan and you don't know what you will be given re: assignments/homework. That said though, we have a bunch of books/exercises (spelling, punctuation, writing exercises etc) to fall back on if they don't bring anything in.

But yeah, I love the teaching part SO much more than the planning part.

aloha1983
02-17-08, 02:38 AM
In terms of classroom management style, I found it hard when I was in a class of 30, due to the way my brain processes sound. Instead of filtering things out I hear everything at once. It was handy for going, "Sam up the back, stop talking about Myspace!" but also frustrating as I'd be talking, writing on the board, thinking what was coming next and scanning and behaviour managing all at the same time.

I tried sooooooo hard my first prac, and got top marks, but was just exhausted. In comparison Learning Support (up to 14) and tutoring is a breeze. I guess too in learning support you know a kid is acting up because they have an actual problem, whereas in mainstream they're often acting up just because they want to be little punks and show off in front of their friends! :)

Makva
02-25-08, 08:46 PM
At my high school we don't have to submit plans. That would be the end of me. I have a lesson planner sheet that I use. Basically just a table five boxes for each of my three different classes, one for each week of the term.

I usually have objectives more clearly written out and communicated to the kids at the beginning of my trimesters. But by the fourth week or so, all is lost and it is all I can do just to keep up.

I am TERRIBLE at classroom mgmt. Basically I don't have a style. Sounds weird or maybe even unprofessional? I really never have problems with kids being defiant. I do, of course, have problems with kids talking with each other, not paying attention, not giving me their attention when I try to start class, etc.

My real problem is that it has thus far been impossible for me to stay consistent with a policy throughout the trimester. This is something that should be solved because it is getting worse as the years go by and I get older. However, I don't see a solution for myself except to keep trying each term.

The other issue is that I have up to 35 kids in my room at once. Being as scattered as I already am, it is also impossible for me to monitor all of them at once, as aloha mentioned.

P.S. Sorry for being MIA in the thread that I started. As per usual, I am already getting bored with the forum before I actually make good use of it. Lately the thought of sitting down to type all this out was too much! I'm coming out of my winter funk so hopefully I will be more consistent. HA!

lperreca
10-19-09, 08:32 PM
WOW! I am SO glad I found this threat - I teach 9th 10th and 12th grade English in a high achieving district in Connecticut.

Zoomman - I totally agree! Individual instruction is amazing... I wish I could work with smaller groups (I work with groups of 25)

Makav - I really struggle with consistently enforcing classroom policy as well. It's not as if I don't have an awareness of the policies but I literally forget the exist. Do you ever worry that it will undermine the structure of your class?

I can't tell you how happy this thread makes me... I've felt pretty isolated lately. The district I work in is so incredibly efficient and high achieving that it's easy to feel like a failure if I get distracted and forget to submit daily attendance.

By the way, I'm Lauren :D

rd_wnc
10-19-09, 09:10 PM
It was really the classroom management that drove me out of public schools. I didn't have problems with discipline really but it was so stressful to go to work knowing that I was going to have to be a horse's *** to someone about something (usually something dumb) every day. However the single biggest discipline mistake is to not be consistent or to be wishy washy about something. They are like sharks smelling blood when they sense you are waffling about discipline. Eventually I had almost no problems because I forced myself to drop the hammer even when I didn't feel at all like it.

That said if I could have learned to have more fun with the job I would have probably stayed. What I do now is more stressful and more work but I have more fun.

The ADD didn't bother me much except for remembering to post attendance and in keeping up with all the little forms and records (I still fight that one). I just wasn't thick skinned enough to let the frustrations roll off. I think ADD people can be like velcro....some things just stick.

FiguringItOut09
11-12-09, 07:23 PM
Woah!!

SO glad I found this thread!
I am a high school Special Ed teacher who was just diagnosed with ADHD (today!) after making connections between my students' behaviors and my own...

That said, I am wondering how open I can/should be with my students. I know that it may be helpful on a relational level to connect through the shared experience, but I also don't want to potentially put myself in a awkward situation. I would never tell a student anything I don't want the whole world to know (obviously, since they're TEENAGERS!!!), but I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on this.

Thanks!! :)

jumpinbean
01-03-10, 07:38 PM
I STRUGGLE everyday in the classroom! What's crazy is . . .I left this job a few years ago and just recently came back. I realize what a mistake that was because I'm so disorganized and totally frustrated every day. But, I LOVE tutoring--working one on one or in very small groups. It's strange: helping students is great . . . planning is my albatross! Is there a way to cope?

artsyfart
01-03-10, 09:28 PM
This is what I've been looking for - I've felt like a defective teacher for so long!
I teach art, which I love, but it is possibly the worst class for me to have. Most kids take art because they think it's easy and they can fool around. I can relate to so much of what others here have said!

Noise - drive me crazy! I have to try hard to calm down.

Distractibility - I literally walk in circles trying to remember what I'm doing.

Discipline - I am no good at it!

I love working with small groups, but that is not possible in large classes!

I look forward to talking to all of you!

radicalartist
02-22-10, 08:09 AM
This is what I've been looking for - I've felt like a defective teacher for so long!
I teach art, which I love, but it is possibly the worst class for me to have. Most kids take art because they think it's easy and they can fool around. I can relate to so much of what others here have said!

Noise - drive me crazy! I have to try hard to calm down.

Distractibility - I literally walk in circles trying to remember what I'm doing.

Discipline - I am no good at it!

I love working with small groups, but that is not possible in large classes!

I look forward to talking to all of you!


Awesome,

"Every good teacher is a student.
Every good student is a teacher."

Awesome to know some of you are teaching :)

be awesome to have you as a teacher.. hmm...

wow what an awesome experience.

Some teachers are bland..

ADHD teachers aren't bland are they?

I like vibrant, new, and adventures..

Apparently.. "Boys" have bad attention span anyway..
So don't stay inside the classroom all day :D

JaneB66
02-23-10, 04:38 PM
Very interesting to follow this, I have been teaching 16 - 18 year olds but currently not working as we have just moved house. I was determined to do something else as I enjoy the teaching but find all the planning and marking so time consuming and stressful it just doesn't seem worth it - just too much paper. Is teaching a no go for people with ADD or are there ways around the difficulties?
The planning at my college became more and more laborious, I find one of my strengths is thinking of something original to do with the students but it is usually quite last minute, sometimes an idea comes to me in the middle of the lesson.
Interestingly - I was teaching computer graphics - the students who really excelled at this subject were defiantly on the ADD spectrum - I can spot them, they had amazing imaginations and were able to pick up the computer software in no time, students who did fantastically in my lessons were giving other teachers a hard time. They often had trouble with the written work but I could help them break tasks down, or I might assess them in a more practical way. I would definitely never tell a student that I have ADD, I think it is very important never to step over the professional/personal line with students.

michinyuja
02-24-10, 03:55 AM
Wow. I don't know how you do it!!


May I please recommend tutoring as an alternative career.
You set your own hours and schedule if you work privately.
And if you work with an agency, you don't have to worry about advertising and stuff.

But you get paid a LOT more money.
Enough to compensate for not having government benefits.

And you get to be free of a horrible system that isn't based on learning, it's based on controlling.


You know, if homeschool continues to grow and some of these private tutoring places get the right idea and offer actual classes instead of "tutoring",
hopefully there will be many different jobs opening up for credentialed teachers!

furthuron
02-26-10, 06:49 PM
I'm student teaching at the moment and it's 8th grade, but next semester I'll be at the high school level. I'm having major problems getting distracted by my students!

Also, I find that I have a hard time disciplining certain actions because I was disciplined so much as a kid (when I had so little control over what I was doing!) and it's made me not want to do the same to the kids I work with. Does anyone else have this issue?

Other than that, I've been keeping myself insanely organized with folders, file, manila envelopes, and binders. I've taught myself to be super organized after years of losing things. Structure, structure, structure. Now if only my CT and my college teachers could use more structure.... :)

westsida
02-28-10, 09:43 PM
I'm student teaching at the moment and it's 8th grade, but next semester I'll be at the high school level. I'm having major problems getting distracted by my students!

Also, I find that I have a hard time disciplining certain actions because I was disciplined so much as a kid (when I had so little control over what I was doing!) and it's made me not want to do the same to the kids I work with. Does anyone else have this issue?

Other than that, I've been keeping myself insanely organized with folders, file, manila envelopes, and binders. I've taught myself to be super organized after years of losing things. Structure, structure, structure. Now if only my CT and my college teachers could use more structure.... :)

I teach at the elementary level but I know what you mean. I was always getting yelled at. Teachers would be literally in my face screaming. It wasn't pleasant, and I never meant to be irritating, I was just incredibly impulsive. So when I have kids with AD/HD or ADD I try and give them a lot of patience, but it's hard! But I never scream or yell... whew that was not fun as a kid!

kalimba
03-03-10, 12:41 AM
I'm not quite sure if I fit in here or not. I taught high school for 3 years before they decided to close the school at the end of the 3rd year to save money from budget cuts. Right before I was supposed to get tenure, they instead said to find another job.

The union told me that they couldn't help me because I didn't have tenure. So for 3 years I paid $67 a month in union dues, then when they go to fire me, there's nothing you can do? GIVE ME BACK MY 3 YEARS OF UNION DUES!

Anyway, I got a job at a college teaching.

Anyone else teach college?

kasch51
04-09-10, 10:37 PM
I am so happy I found this. I have been searching for some community to talk with about this. I am not technically a high school teacher but I teach 8th grade science in the Bronx. Its close enough.

I also struggle with keeping the structure and routines through out the year. But I come up with some great ones! Typical ADDer, creative but not consistent.

I find that I try to make it as simple as possible. I put a lot of the responsibility on students too. I think next year I will have a student who very organized and consistent be my reminder... tell me when I am forgetting to follow one of our routines.

Also I let my students know I have ADHD. It has been only positive. They had a lot of questions and misconceptions. It also gave some of the students with ADD more confidence and someone to talk to.

Does anyone else talk with their students about ADD?
How do you guys keep your routines through out the year?

kasch51
04-09-10, 10:40 PM
I also think that the some of the students can't help it. I think that I am a little to understanding at times. Still have to figure out how I will work with that. HOwever, in the long run I see empathy as a positive and I try to lead with respect instead of rule with rules. Harder said than done but it can work.

kasch51
04-14-10, 08:21 PM
Noise - drive me crazy! I have to try hard to calm down.


Noise drives me crazy too. I am from the suburbs and I teach in the Bronx. My kids talk at a much louder volume than I am use to. I have been wondering if it is a cultural or ADHD thing for a while. Is anyone else disturbed by noise?

Its also funny/ironic/karma because I when I was a student I would always be the one talking!

kasch51
04-14-10, 08:25 PM
Does anyone tell their students about their ADHD? I do. I tell them my weaknesses and how I overcome them. Then I get student "workers" to be the ones to help me. I have to make sure they are consistent and orderly first. I try to drive home that nothing has to hold you back and that communities can create great environments.

For example, my students have to do community service at the school so I have some be my paper organizers. They check off and separate work. I grade but they deal with the clutter that I create afterward.

Does anyone else do something similar? I want to think of more ways I can give my students more responsibility to offset my own weakness. I would love more ideas about any strategies..

aloha1983
05-05-10, 01:58 PM
That's a great idea. The noise thing comes with auditory processing difficulties, your ears hear all the noise but your brain can't seperate/filter them in terms of the closest/most urgent noise.

I did contracts for 2 years but then was transferred to a school of 2,200 kids. Most of them have challenging needs. Plus there are 130+ staff and they do heaps of PD and meetings.

I am not coping with the sound processing. My specialist has approved leave for me and luckily after receiving the medical certificates those in admin and district seem to understand it more. We are looking at options to make it work... has anyone been in a similar situation? Please write to me...

ADDMagnet
05-10-10, 07:26 PM
Also I let my students know I have ADHD. It has been only positive. They had a lot of questions and misconceptions. It also gave some of the students with ADD more confidence and someone to talk to.

Does anyone else talk with their students about ADD?


I think its great that you let the students know. My son's Algebra teacher told him that she had ADHD as well. I think that was helpful to him. I know it made me feel a lot better because I knew she would be more understanding of my son's ADHD. The high school had a policy that if you were even 1 minute late to class, you had detention for the entire class period and had to sit in the cafeteria. My son had an extremely hard time getting up in the morning and making it to class right on time. Although he was rarely more than a couple of minutes late most teachers had zero tolerance. She never gave him detention for that.

pdxben
06-07-10, 02:51 AM
I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive, and I teach high school English. I don't tell my students about my condition, I don't think they need to know, but they are well aware of my organizational issues--delays in getting essays back, piles of papers all over the room, zoning out when they ask me questions and constantly asking them to repeat themselves. In the classroom, I feel I am pretty effective, and management isn't a problem for me, but I can't get myself organized to save my life. I am constantly forgetting to take attendance. I'm quite certain I hold the record each year for least reported attendance records. And planning is a problem as well, I often throw something together in my head in the shower the day of class, though I always have an idea in mind for the overall direction of a unit. Still, it's not the most effective way to plan.

That said, I am starting meds for the first time this summer and I'm going to attend some ADD groups meetings that are focused on organizing. So hopefully those two things, as well as learning what triggers my habits and how to snap myself out of them will help.

My one question to fellow teachers, though, is this: did you tell your principal, vice principal, supervisor, etc. about your ADD? Now that I realize why I have these issues, I'm tempted to just let my boss know, so she understands why I don't get the attendance in, or fill out the ELD forms, or reply her emails. And I want her to know that I'm seeking help and I'm working on it. I don't know... what do you think?

Jked
07-03-10, 10:21 PM
I started out teaching History at the high school level and struggled. I had a lot of problems with organizing how I wanted to do grades, systems for doing things and how to organize myself. I kept flip flopping on what I wanted to do in that regard. I had a great deal of difficulty making a good lesson plan and sticking to it. Managing time during the period was always a struggle. I would sense that I was screwing it all up and I would get real flustered.

Went for my master's in special ed. and have been teaching that ever since. I am mainly in a resource room and it fits my strengths perfectly. I get assigned most of the kids the other special ed teachers don't want to deal with... the ADHD boys, haha. I love it though. I always feel like I understand them and can relate. I do really well with this but occasionally get myself into hot water for not reading important emails, forgetting to do certain things until the last second, scrambling to get to meetings on time. IEP season is always a whirlwind of productivity to make up for major procrastination.

I'm newly diagnosed so I'm not sure about telling the Principal, VP, ect. They were both SPED teachers, so I know they'd understand. Not really sure if I want to share though. I do have tenure though, ha! :)

misscat
08-02-10, 11:08 AM
In terms of classroom management style, I found it hard when I was in a class of 30, due to the way my brain processes sound. Instead of filtering things out I hear everything at once. It was handy for going, "Sam up the back, stop talking about Myspace!" but also frustrating as I'd be talking, writing on the board, thinking what was coming next and scanning and behaviour managing all at the same time.
)

This is what I deal with as well. I teach at a great district with a fantastic staff and good kids. I like teaching because there is so much variety, and being an art teacher, I have a lot of freedom in the way I want to present lessons. However, I get classes of close to 30 kids, and I get so overwhelmed and tense sometimes that I feel like I'm shutting down, and not connecting to the kids as well as I want to. I have a hard time listening to individual kids because I am constantly distracted by other kids or already mentally on the next part of the lesson. I wish I could just relax but my mind is always running, running, running.
Even though my kids are generally good, 28 of ANY type of student is a lot of energy to sort through, and in my classroom, being that its art, the kids have a certain amount of freedom of movement and can talk with each other some, which complicates matters worse. My school has a pretty relaxed atmosphere so having a VERY strict behavior code won't have a ton of support, so I have to find other methods. I have found some things that work for me, but in some ways I am still overwhelmed.
Has anyone found ways of dealing with this particular issue?

misscat
08-02-10, 11:38 AM
I have found some strategies that work for me as a teacher with ADHD--I hope some of these help and will encourage others to share some of their methods.

I have a few policies in place that deal directly with some of my weaknesses.

In the beginning of the year, I tell the kids: "If you want me to remember ANYTHING, I MUST write it down. So, it is your responsibility to check in with me, at my desk, and have me write a note about whatever it is you want me to remember." Post-its. Post-its. Post-its.

Classroom rules are kept fairly simple and are posted in one place in the classroom. The kids get a sheet with rules written on it in the beginning of the year--if they don't read it, its their problem.

Kids are required to sign a "late sign-in sheet" when they come in late, this way I don't forget to mark them late--the student and I BOTH have a record of it. I just have to be aware that a student is walking in and tell them to sign the sheet.

I am a very visual person, so POST-ITs are my savior.

Having a laptop and an iPhone that I keep with me at all times, with synched calendars. I put everything in these devices, and they have reminders which pop up on the screens with sound. This has helped tremendously. I just have to stay on top with getting everything into the calender right away rather than putting it off for later (that is a problem for me with ADHD).

Follow-through. If you have a rule, uphold it. Even if you love the student and its their first offense, they must be given the same punishment as the most misbehaved kid in the class. This is a place where I often struggle--but it is really important.

Pausing and taking a breath, then scanning the room regularly. Just to check in that everyone is doing what they should be doing. Pausing and breathing are often the first things we forget to do, but help me so so much.

ANyone have anything to add?

laurbuck66
02-21-11, 07:15 PM
Glad to read there are more like me out there!
I teach h.s. special ed in an alternative school and my supervisor is very demanding, organization/data/paperwork-wise. It's a nightmare. This my 3rd attempt at teaching, and it is NOT the charm.

What I needed in an ideal world was to be diagnosed in h.s. or college and some career counselor to tell me that, with the paperwork and organization required, special education would NOT be a good choice for me.

I'm about at the end of my rope, wishing DH made enough that I could quit and be a substitute.

I have to get out! I know I'd be a great tutor, but how do you get such a gig?

StrangeLttlGrrl
02-26-11, 06:09 PM
Anyone else teach college?

YES!!! I have a grad degree in philosophy and I have taught college/university for 15 years. Philosophy is a complex discipline. The one thing I can't stand? "Surely you can't have ADD -- look at what you do for a living!" For me it's been more like -- "I teach philosophy in college -- why can't I remember the next sentence that was supposed to come out my mouth??!?"

So glad to see fellow teachers here and know I'm not alone!! :)

Lottie
03-28-11, 12:12 PM
In terms of classroom management style, I found it hard when I was in a class of 30, due to the way my brain processes sound. Instead of filtering things out I hear everything at once. It was handy for going, "Sam up the back, stop talking about Myspace!" but also frustrating as I'd be talking, writing on the board, thinking what was coming next and scanning and behaviour managing all at the same time.

I tried sooooooo hard my first prac, and got top marks, but was just exhausted. In comparison Learning Support (up to 14) and tutoring is a breeze. I guess too in learning support you know a kid is acting up because they have an actual problem, whereas in mainstream they're often acting up just because they want to be little punks and show off in front of their friends! :)

hmmm sorry i disagree most children would not play up if there was not a problem...but what do i know i teach k-p and we have holistic approaches...what about undiagnosed add chilsdren may have? amonst other things I get so much flack actually because of my teaching style i dont think i am cut out for it. having a raeally hard time at the moment.

owegophil
03-28-11, 11:39 PM
Oh, the irony.... I should be planning, but instead, I'm posting to a thread regarding my troubles with teaching and distractions... ;)

telling my HS students about my ADHD: I don't put a name on it, but I absolutely admit all my struggles. "I have a hard time remembering things - please write that down." or "You KNOW I'm not good keeping track of paper - put that in my mailbox", etc. I think it's better to admit all your weaknesses individually, rather than give someone a shortcut to apply lots of stereotypes to your situation that may not apply to you.

telling my administration about my ADHD: I haven't done this, and it's probably not necessary. However, I've been searching and searching for a medication that might help me, and some have DESTROYED me... 45 min of sleep the night before class, major depressive episodes, etc. They see the gap between what I agree to/say I want to accomplish, and what I actually do, and think i'm a big fat liar. And that makes me want to go 'impulsive' on them, but I still haven't told them.

handling routine tasks: ("i never remember to take attendance" - i think that should be the test for identifying ADHD in teachers!) Every time I forget to do something routine, i delegate that task for extra credit. I have handing out papers, answering questions, answering the door, writing reminders on the board, collecting work, taking attendance, checking for clean work stations, ALL delegated. Kids like to do things that they can do a great job at, esp when the TEACHER can't.

reminders: "if you want to tell me something, you know I'll forget it - write me a note. I'll handle it when things aren't so busy."

(I know none of you are still reading bc you're ADHD - but I'll keep writing ;)

classroom management: could be better, but it's a loving and productive environment. i talk with any kid who blurts out, and I run off to do an impromptu demo, so there's plenty of chit chat in the dead spots. however, I send any offenders out in the hall immediately, and continue to teach. I have my "reminder" student let me know when 3 minutes are up, and I go talk with the the offender.
My first question is "hey, you don't seem yourself today. Is everything OK?" 95 of 100 times the kid got kicked out of the house, or hasn't eaten in 18 hours, or something obscenely terrible - and they APOLOGIZE for acting like a crazy person!! I just say "hey, that sounds pretty rough. You're handling it better than I would. Let's just get through today, things will be better soon - I believe in you."
9 of 10 times, they follow me in and are total angels. Sometimes they act tough and stay in hall for a few minutes. No big loss.
If the kid said "nope. nothing is wrong", I probe a bit, and ask if the work is too hard/boring/etc and finally say
"so, know that I know everything is ok with you, that's great. what ISN'T great are some of your behaviors in there. you and I both know you're better than that, and I'm not doing you OR me any good if I let that (crap/ ****/ bull**** - whatever gets their attention) continue. If you ever need help from me - I'm there for you. Until then, I expect more from you, so get in there and get your *** to work, ok? OK. C'mon." and I motion inside.
And the kids will sheepishly SMILE at me! one kid said "damn, i got a lot of respect for you right now."

All that said - I think I'll be better at somethign else than I will as a teacher. It makes me vulnerable to most of my weaknesses, and I can't get to many of my strengths. I was an engineer before, and it was boring. Who knows where I'll go next...

Best wishes to each of you,
Phil

demfabbones
04-04-11, 08:46 AM
I teach middle school but I sympathize with some of what you struggle with in the classroom - the general disorganization, easily distracted, etc. I have only been teaching 2 years and so far I have not learned how to truly cope. The students know I am disorganized and make occasional comments about it, which hurts my feelings, (teaching is not for the overly sensitive) or they take advantage of me by claiming I've lost their papers. Because this has sometimes happened in the past, it makes my defense less valid. Some parents have been on me for the same things as well. I know I have ended up giving kids grades when they probably never did the assignment, but I sometimes I don't trust my self enough to take a stand. I also forget to do things so I think a lot of my students (and parents and co-workers) just think I'm a flake.

I also tend to let things slide until they are too big for just a simple talking-to. Just like in life, I constantly push things aside with, "It'll be fine," until it isn't.

I have been in trouble with my administrators this year. I had some major personal stress in my life so I still have a sense of injustice about their timing, but they put me on a plan of improvement for classroom management and organization. They do not know about my ADD and I do not intend to tell them as I don't think they'd be sympathetic. (I once heard my principal go on a tirade about how ADHD isn't real and is just an excuse for bad parenting.)

I do the best I can when I have the energy, which these days is running low. I think I connect well with the kids but I have more fun talking to them than actually teaching them anything. I also teach English and it seems hard to hold their attention in that. Teaching is hard because it's not like you can just hide in your cubicle if you're having a bad day. You have to be constantly "on" or risk losing control of 30+ kids. That can be a lot of pressure.

sighduck
04-04-11, 11:16 AM
I'm in my first year of study for high school teaching, only get to go to high school practicals next year though :( but my ultimate goal is to become a university psychology lecturer

Darkpk55
04-14-11, 06:35 PM
I wanted to become a teacher, but I can't explain things, My family is annoyed by me. It's because I constantly mess up and stutter.

OH WELL

weaverde
05-02-12, 10:56 PM
I'd be interested in talking with any of you. My own situation is that the ADHD is affecting not only my classroom management but my relation with my math teacher peers. I see a lot of my own symptoms in those described by "artsyfart". Some students seem to like working with me, but I am wondering if I should just work with a certain type of student. In any case, getting through a teaching day without drama is something I haven't been able to achieve. So coping strategies that have worked with any of you?

Sir5r1
05-03-12, 08:28 AM
My organization and classroom management improved a lot when I got on
Medication. Your awareness greatly improves and there's less procrastination.

mimosa
08-19-12, 02:32 PM
I was able to exhale after reading everyone's posts. Thank you! I feel like I was looking in the mirror. I struggle most with grading papers!! Please help. I would luv to be able to have a few tried and true strategies before I begin the new school year ...next week. Any ideas?

Kimmyc
08-23-12, 03:36 PM
I am a high school teacher with ADHD. I have struggled through my 10 year career, and have constantly felt like a fraud. I have covered up so many mistakes and cut so many corners that if my administrators knew the extent of it all, they would surely fire me.
Because I am so disorganized with paperwork, I have tried countless "systems" for dealing with the constant stream of papers, all without success. I have lost student work, lost my gradebook, I misplace my pen every five minutes, and can rarely get though a lesson without asking the class what it was I was just talking about.
I rationalized my shortcomings to myself, by saying that I connect with the kids, and that I care about them, and that is enough to be successful. But as you all know, caring is just not enough.
I have finally begun treatment for ADHD, and I am looking forward to re-trying all my strategies for organization, with the faint hope of being successful.
Thanks for showing me I am not alone!
Kim

stephjackster
01-06-13, 11:31 PM
So happy to have finally found this forum :D:D:D!!!

I'm a history teacher, and my school is teaching a curriculum that is heavilly writing-centered, and I'm having trouble keeping up with all of the grading of written work. I also have trouble because I am a traveller, meaning I switch rooms every . . .single . . .period of the day. Losing/misplacing/dropping things throughout my daily journey with my cart is getting a bit old. I've developed a slightly better system over this semester, but when I had my own class last year, I didn't have anywhere close to the issues that I have now with respect to classroom management and organization. Not sure what to do exactly. . .

Sugar8
01-17-13, 12:28 AM
Me= teacher special education-- multiple impairments for most of my career. But like everyone else- struggle with paper work. Of course it can be compounded by the fact that it's Special Education paper work, but like non ADHD teachers who just do it and get it over with.. I procrastinate it, find it tedious, and the data on goals for students-- goals that often teachers look into a crystal ball to create-- bother me.

If they only knew.

Lucky for me the parents notice my effort and how their children grow and learn, and how I can be on target with really helping meet their child's needs in terms of learning methods of communicating and physical development-- although school admin and evaluators are like "where are the abc's and 123's you are supposed to be teaching according to the curriuculum." Ugh...

Anyway, I have problems of being late, seeming to be scattered, scattered brain, and I think that stop-go issue of ADHD is visible to others who are "normal" and not so understanding. I mean stop-go issue like-- we can't get started so quickly, and we don't stop when we are supposed to. Makes it difficult for me when evaluator comes in at 12:05 and we are supposed to be on reading and we're just finishing up a math activity.

RobotInDisguise
02-12-13, 01:42 AM
Not a teacher but I really appreciate that one of my hs teachers was very open about his ADHD. He was one of my favorites. Same with a college professor, though he ndver expressly said he had adhd. It helped me come to terms with my own ADHD later on. We need teachers that students can relate to.

teachergal
02-24-13, 06:13 PM
Oh man, I wish there was a forum for elementary teachers! Maybe I'll start one! I was diagnosed with ADHD at 6 years old, and have been on Adderall pretty much my whole life. It has worked wonders for me (would NOT have graduated college without it!) But now I am teaching first grade (second year as a teacher) and I am just wondering if teaching is truly the thing for me. The paperwork and the organization are obviously not ideal for me, but I get by with those things. What I can't cope with is the constant distraction! I have a lot of anxiety of having the perfect class (had a bad experience with a principal last year that made me feel inadequate) so I turn out to be a bit of a drill sergeant. Problem is, I work with 6 year olds, and they are seemingly incapable of NOT TALKING during my teaching. Everything is a serious distraction. If there is someone talking durning a lesson I cannot think about what I am doing, so I spend a lot more time getting angry with them than I do teaching. I haven't figured out how to deal with the little noises (or even the way they are moving, for that matter). Anyone found success with coping with such things? I am going to give it one more year, but this may not be the career for me. May look in to tutoring. Any help would be appreciated!

clarissabxtr
03-25-13, 07:59 PM
Thank you for this thread and for all who are sharing! This is such a relief. I am in my 5th year as a 10th grade English teacher and newly diagnosed with ADD. Before I admitted that something was wrong, I thought my struggles were because I was new and I would figure them out as time went on. But instead of better, things have gotten worse. And, without the delusion that things are going to get easier, I am no longer willing to work myself to death to keep up appearances. I am debating whether to leave the profession or stay. I definitely need a change. I am still trying to find treatment that works while keeping my head above water. I do find that people have a hard time believing that people can be intelligent and professional and have ADD. All they see is the product, what I am able to produce in public, but they have no idea what I go through to create it, what the process costs me. I too struggle with lesson planning, discipline, taking attendance, paperwork, etc. I need to start my masters this year to keep my certification but do not know how that is even going to be a possibility in my current state.

Terranaut
03-11-16, 10:03 PM
Thank you all! Like many of you I have much of my career (20 years teaching hs science feeling like a fish out of water). I have a history of not planning and much delayed and haphazard grading. I over-focus on a teaching one topic or grading one assignment and neglect many other things. I dread parent calls and abhor this powerschool parent portal bs that is a window into my gradebook.

I love my students and I love science. I believe in what I am doing and want to do it well, but I have so little faith left in myself. I am so tired of disappointing my students, my colleagues and myself. Now my daughters are students in my school and they have to deal with their Dad's reputation.

I am trying to use Gqueues with Google calendar manage tasks and time and exercise and meditation to manage my brain.

Teaching involves SO MANY tasks and decisions, I would love to find a support group for teachers with ADD/ADHD

Let's wake this thread up! What WORKS?

Terranaut
03-11-16, 10:05 PM
hope you stayed!

casper
04-27-16, 09:35 PM
Woah!!

That said, I am wondering how open I can/should be with my students. I know that it may be helpful on a relational level to connect through the shared experience, but I also don't want to potentially put myself in a awkward situation. I would never tell a student anything I don't want the whole world to know (obviously, since they're TEENAGERS!!!), but I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on this.

Thanks!! :)

My two cents, Iam not a teacher, would like to be at some point. However, I was in spec Ed classes all through school. I can't tell you what it would have meant to me if one of my teachers was open with me about their struggles. ADD and or LD. To know that someone else was successful with it, would have been huge when I was a kid.

Think how vulnerable kids are at that age. When I was in school I wanted nothing more then to fit in. Obviously I did not do that. I had to go to the special room each day for "resource" and I had to take my tests there. There end nothing "normal" about that.

Had a teacher, any teacher I had at thT point said they had dealt with the same thing, or that they understood what I was going through would have meant the world to me.

newkiwi
05-22-16, 03:54 AM
Good to see this thread and read about the similar issues others face. I've been teaching social studies and history for eight years and while I love my job there are elements I really struggle with. I don't keep a lesson planner at all since I found within a couple days I'll have to rewrite it, then again two days later. I am always late getting papers marked and returned to students and my desk is always notoriously cluttered.

The biggest issue I've had is with moderation. In NZ we have to have our marking of assessments checked by having a random selection sent away to be verified. That requires keeping all the student work for checking a year or more later. So many times I've had panic as I'm missing a few of the assessments somehow. Every year I tell myself this is the year I will get it under control and will have a better way to organise, and then it happens again.

I don't have an issue in the classroom though. I find my very animated delivery of information works well, I like that I can be constantly moving around and every day is different. Management isn't an issue for me and I think I find it easier to relate to some of my struggling students than a lot of teachers do. They are shocked when I tell them I struggled as a student and nearly failed the very subjects I now teach.

So it isn't the teaching, it's the paperwork that goes with it that is the bane of my existence.

DaisiesDollars
04-11-17, 06:59 PM
I have ADHD inattentive type and I am a high school teacher.
Last year I taught history and economics in South Central Los Angeles. I had 160 students. My psychologists described it as trauma.

This year I have around 135 students mostly 14 years old and some 17 and 18 years old. A little more than a week ago I was told my contract would not renew. I now work at probably the best Charter Schools in LA

In the first semester, I had a small group of students who would come to me and say I lost their assignments and I couldn't remember and was insecure so I exempted them. Then I spent a lot of money on a rubber maid 12 tray system for home and school. I even hired someone to do my grading. I would create rubrics and he would grade everything. I would love to do my own grading but it is the total emotional exhaustion of student intentional verbal abuse of me makes it hard for me to function at all outside of the classroom.

Anyways second semester these students tried to tell me I lost their assignments for a big essay I refused to accept these students would claim I lost everything things I had not even collected. Students wouldn't even check what assignment it was and say I lost it. I put my foot down. And then students starting going to the dean or vice principle and reporting on every tiny mistake I made from having the wrong date to not posting every single thing on google classroom to misplacing quiz copies. Our school has no rules or discipline policy and I am only a second year, a teacher so I read a book on positive discipline created my own poster of rules. I don't know it's hard I mean I am teaching subjects I never studied myself Geography and Government and I was hired to do it in this really creative interactive way. It takes a lot out of me teaching a subject matter for the first time and classroom discipline.

But all of the professional observations of me were positive one person who likes the curriculum director of the network always really enjoyed my classes. In the middle of the year of the dean had his official observation and it was undeniably a good class. He stated that only 17 out of 23 students were actively debating their opinion on the Syrian Refugee crisis. Students drew information from WWII all the previous units we had studied in Geography and beyond. Even students with severe disabilities were debating. He couldn't help but give me a positive review.

As time went on the dean started coming into my class for like 10-minute observations he would then only write negative comments some of them fabricated like I didn't have an agenda. Or complain that I was writing directions on the whiteboard during a class or say I had no cell phone policy when he observed me peacefully take a cellphone from someone. Or that I walked towards not away from a student. Or didn't choose enough people to read a passage. I became defensive I told my coach that I appreciated the constructive criticism but as I discovered only these reports would be used to determine my employment I wanted him to comment on the content of my lesson. He was waiting for me to make a mistake when I didn't or when the students were fairly well behaved he would make something up. When I try to talk to him he would give me this really, really long form advice that had nothing to do with the school's style of teaching or what I was hired to do.

Anyways, a couple weeks ago I was brought into a room with him and the owner of the school and they said they were firing me for not having a good enough rapport with the students. They said there had been lots of complaints from students and parents and although I had some good observations they didn't count. They said I was constantly going on about rules with the students... They owner said there was never any issues with content for the Dean/vice principle scoffed. There lots of things that happened that I don't care to explain in detail. I told them I had ADHD at the time I was trying to get an appointment with my doctor because I wanted to professional about disclosing my disability with documentation and I didn't get in time. The weekend before I was fired I had to write a long essay explaining all the mistakes including a parent who show up without a meeting well I was teaching I had missed one meeting with the parent and I know that it is very bad. I had my boyfriend write up this report while I spoke because I was just too emotionally exhausted to do so. I think he made it too defensive and not apologetic enough. But I sent it anyways it was Sunday night and I honestly just could not handle all of this extra stuff like documenting my disability writing a 10 page document meanwhile teaching full time and creating lesson plans with all of these complex college level lessons that I adapt to for 9th graders from USC.

I'm on Spring Break now and it's all been very crazy I guess the heart of my story comes down to when the dean started to put a microscope into my teaching and I was expected to be as responsive and professional as someone who has an office job in a corporation while continuing to teach high-quality lessons. And respond to him asking me over and over again how often I grade. Even though I was on top of grading. I actually felt in that moment it was literally impossible to do both. I never resent my syllabi to him which he asked and I never went to speak with him one-on-one. In retrospect, I should have just disclosed my disability at that point and told him it was impossible for me to respond in excessive detail to his investigation and continue to teach at a high level. And I would need to take two days off of school or something.

I don't know this is my experience I was fired. Some students say I am their favorite teacher. I felt in the meeting that I was criminal. When I asked my curriculum director for a letter of recommendation she said she was confident I would find another job and she wanted to keep training me on using Socratic Seminar until the end of the year, even though I was fired. I had 3 students transfer into my Economics class voluntarily one of them from AP Government who always says how happy he is... Now I am applying to teach at a private school. Where they have discipline policies, less classroom management issues. Reading other people's posts it makes me think the best thing would be for me to teach college my passion is a philosophy, to begin with at the college level. Should I keep teaching?