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Old 04-11-17, 06:59 PM
DaisiesDollars DaisiesDollars is offline

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Re: Calling All High School Teachers with ADHD

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?
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