Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding Me Day 14

This post may sound like a bit of a rant, but the intent is to bring about awareness.  Because the topic has been a frustrating one for me, it may come across as negative.  I am trying to stay aware of how blessed I am.  But, as my youngest says, "it can't always be hearts, sunshine and butterflies". 

My son and I have ADHD.  As Mr. Monk says of his OCD, it is both a blessing and a curse.  One of the hallmarks of ADHD is slower processing.  Many folks will see that since things aren't clicking right off the bat that there is an inability for it to click.  This can't be farther from the truth.  While the speed isn't the same, when connections are made that person might be able to take that new skill and further it like no one else. 

Schools today really frustrate me.  As someone with a teaching degree, I can say with some bit of knowledge that the schools today are set up for one kind of learner.  The powers that be have set up a system that shows more importance in learning for testing than in learning for the sake of learning.

My girls did great in school.  They were easy.  My son picked up his diploma and looked inside in disbelief that he actually made it.  But, my son tests like there's no tomorrow on those standardized tests.  He is so intelligent sometimes that it shocks me.  My girls take a little longer but can organize and get a system of study to fit each class and succeed.

My point is this, they are all three so smart in different ways.  I do not worry about their ability to navigate this life.  But in school, my son was made to feel like a loser for some disabilities which were totally out of his control.  I can tell you the really good teachers because they were the ones who liked my son.  I once had one teacher tell me at a conference that he didn't even know who my son was....Shame on him.  And, he was respected as a great teacher. 

I don't have any complicated answers for how to teach each child individually but I do have some answers that would make a world of difference.  Love your students.  Fight for your students.  Cheer your students on.  Know your students.  Create an atmosphere of cooperation instead of competition with your students.  Show them how to fight for each other.  It's all about love.  It's the greatest gift.  No matter what the disability, home situation, socioeconomic level, academic level or degree of difficulty they are all children of God.

Today I pray that someone far brighter than me will come up with a way to teach all of our children with love and respect.  I pray for our addicted loved ones to heal from wounds that were so painful that addiction was easier than facing the pain.  I pray for all of our children.  I pray for their loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.


coffeemom said...


Lou said...

His disabilities is something my son has always struggled with. Whether they led to the addiction is beside the point for us now. But you are so right, people dismiss him when they sense something is not "right". He becomes invisible.

He has said to me "it's hard to look so normal on the outside, and be so abnormal on the inside."

great post. I'm going to link to it.

Enchanted Oak said...

I came over from Lou's, and your post resonates with me. My 25-year-old daughter has a "learning disability" ~ a "reading comprehension disability" that dogged her through school and now makes college classes hard. Tests are hard. But that "disability" label is a misnomer, because it's really a matter of learning style. She learns through hearing and seeing and doing, kinetic learning, which our schools really aren't set up to offer. She feels less-than, handicapped, when actually she is bright. Her victories are huge: For example, she has had to teach herself how to calm herself when test panic tries to render her powerless. She has become an awesome human being in her struggle for the "C" average, and she has become a massage therapist with those inspired kinetic-energy hands, bringing much relief to suffering people. Meanwhile, I see "A" students, rewarded by the system, who are superficial human beings, self-centered, acting entitled to a good consumer lifestyle, bringing no joy to anyone on their paths. I am proud of my daughter. The struggles faced and overcome by those of us who are "different" are empowering, and they enrich our lives in ways that strike me as miraculous.

Hattie Heaton (Mom of an Addict) said...

@Lou thanks for the link and kind comment. I have had a bee in my bonnet since the first day that I student taught under a teacher who instantly pointed to one little fidgety boy and said, "I failed your brother and I'll fail you too." Needless to say, I took him under my wing for the rest of the semester. Guess I'll just keep being the squeky wheel....

@Enchanted Oak, I think the point that is important to make is that our individualism should be appreciated and embraced. I think that learning to embrace several ways of learning while teaching students to embrace differences could help so many very bright but non traditional learners to succeed while promoting understanding in the traditional learner. I am sorry for your daughter's hardships. It is so difficult to watch our children suffer.

Notmyboy said...

I teach pre-k. I absolutely adore all my students, but I take a special liking to my quirky little ones...the ones who either just aren't all there or the ones who challenge me to use better strategies to teach them. I don't know why I'm drawn to these children, but I honestly feel a deep compassion for what they will have to deal with after they leave my school.

I often meet with parents of these children and tell them what I am observing from their children. I make sure to tell them these thing, not with the idea that I have any issues with them, but more as an advance warning to prepare themselves to advocate on their child's behalf as they make their way through the school system.

I wish all teachers could be more like me and my staff. I don't write this to be boastful, although it sounds boastful, but it really frustrates me to see labels slapped on kids the second they enter kindergarten, when often all they need is a teacher who takes the time to know and care for how they learn.

Ok, I'm fired up now. LOL

Hattie Heaton (Mom of an Addict) said...

@Notmyboy Good for you...and be proud of helping those who others discard, dismiss or place limits on. Having the desire to help those who need someone to be proud of them is a far greater call than the "prodigies" that so many teachers love to talk about. Thank you for the comments.