The ADD Friendly Teacher

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How do you like the new look? Since I’ve been working on my other site, ADD Student, I’ve come to appreciate it’s cleaner look (plus the additional column), so I thought I would try it out here. I think I may keep it, although I’ll need to do a little housecleaning to make it look better.

Of course you know that I’m in back to school mode, and the other day I got to thinking about when my kids were younger. The elementary school would put up the class lists the Friday before school started, and it was always a big deal for them to go up there and see which teacher they got and who was in their class. Sometimes they would run into friends they hadn’t seen for most of the summer, and that was always fun.

In our school, if you wanted to request a certain teacher for your child, you had to do it before the school year ended in June, and it had to be in writing. You better have a good reason, too, and it didn’t hurt if you were on the principal’s good side. No one was allowed to change classrooms in the fall. Once my kids got to middle school and high school, though, it wasn’t such a big deal.

If your child’s school will let you change teachers or classrooms now, then I have some advice for you. If not, then file it away for the end of the year.

Your child’s teacher can have a huge impact on their success during the school year, and not just because they’re the ones who give out the grades. The ideal teacher for ADDers is someone who:

  • Is enthusiastic about teaching
  • Is informed about ADD
  • Uses a variety of teaching methods – more than just lecture
  • Is organized
  • Doesn’t have prejudices or preconceived notions about ADD, boys, girls, teenagers, your family, etc
  • Has some flexibility and a sense of humor

The more of these characteristics you can find, the better. My oldest daughter was never good at math; along with her ADD, she got a learning disability when it came to math. But in 8th grade, she had a math teacher who was extremely organized – obsessive, even. She had a system that she insisted on when it came to taking notes, writing out problems, and storing math related papers. My daughter learned so much that year, that she was able to tutors others in that class.

My son had a teacher in high school who had ADD himself. He was flexible with my son, often giving him several assignments to work on at a time, knowing he would get bored with just one too quickly. Not only did he get an A in the class, but he chose that subject as his major in college.

So how do you find these wonderful teachers? Here are some ideas:

  • Network – ask other parents.
  • Get involved – the more you are at school, the more you know. I think it puts your child in a more favorable position with the school, too.
  • Ask your kids. They’re at school for most of their day, and all the kids talk. If your kids don’t know, they can find someone who does.
  • Have more than one child. OK, I’m kind of kidding here, but your younger children will definitely benefit from the path your older ones are blazing for them. Use that knowledge.

If you don’t have the opportunity to make these kinds of changes, don’t worry. I’ll have other ideas for getting through the school year in future posts.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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