I had this student long ago. Still remember her name: Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was one of those memorable kids. She was undersized. Five foot nothing and probably a whopping 85 pounds. Kaitlyn liked cheese. I asked if I could nickname her Cheesehead to which she readily agreed. I stopped calling her by her real name because soon enough “Cheesehead” began to appear on all her papers. I actually had to tell her to change it to her real name on the District Writing Assessment.
What made Kaitlyn truly unique was that she was just out there. One of the most ADHD, creative, fun kids I ever taught. She even had this shirt she loved wearing that said, “I have ADHD. Oh, Look! A chicken!” That girl, as likeable as she was, kept her focus about as helter skelter as a rat on speed. She was just always on the go! We all have those kids in our classes, right? Well, I was thinking … what if I wrote a blog from her perspective? What if I took a walk inside the mind of an ADHD student?
This is going to be fun!
Conferences are this week. Working late three nights in a row to get an extra day off. SO WORTH IT! Conferences are a whirlwind. Do you ever feel like you start saying the same things over and over? They all start sounding the same after a while. But they shouldn’t! Each kid is unique. Why can’t I make each conference unique? Why do some parents schedule a conference then miss? Why did I once have a tradition of taking a victory lap around the gymnasium at conferences, pushing myself in my rolly chair and raising my arms triumphantly?
Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts? Seriously, do you ever wonder about that? Kinda gross.
Back to that victory lap thing. I stopped doing it. Why? Because one year I took my victory lap into the hallway and accidentally crashed into the wall, knocking down a framed picture of the cheerleaders. The glass shattered everywhere! Nobody was in the hallway except me. My eyes darted everywhere to see if anyone saw me. One person might have. I left the mess, threw my stuff in my room, and got the heck out of there. That next morning, in my quiet time, I asked the Lord’s forgiveness. He told me to e-mail my admin. So I did. It was one of the most humbling things I had to do. But it was right.
Kinda funny now. Not so much back then!
Want to hear the most random Bible verse ever? Isaiah 20:2 says, “Three years earlier the Lord had told Isaiah son of Amoz to take off his sandals and the sackcloth he was wearing. He obeyed and went around naked and barefoot.” Hold up! Naked? For THREE years? Imagine the reactions as Isaiah patrolled the region! They probably just got used to him. Hope they had sunscreen.
Time to get serious for a second. I got an extremely sad e-mail recently. My good friend and colleague Salma passed away from cancer Sunday. She was an amazing para and always gave her heart to her work. Salma was from India, and I still remember her stepping in to tell the story of a real mongoose versus snake fight she witnessed as a child when we read Rikki Tikki Tavi. Our school will miss Salma greatly. Please pray for her family. I would love to reach out to her son whom I prayed for and gave a copy of A Long Walk to Water to per Salma’s request. She always coveted our prayers.
I started a new tradition for my quiet time the other day. Totally love it! It is a scripture journal, and it is so simple. I type a scripture out and then journal a paragraph about it. How does it impact me? How can I apply it? What is it saying? What other verses come to mind? How do I struggle with it? I have to pick the right verse. You know, not just any scripture but one that REALLY speaks to me. Those are the best ones to write about. You guys should try it!
Dude, I can’t wait until Thursday. My boys and I are driving out to Colorado to visit my brother and his family. Ten hours in the car, but SO worth it! Please pray for my travels. My wife will not be there to relieve me like she normally does when we take trips together. She is staying home to take care of a few appointments and get some time to herself. The boys and I? We get to go hiking in the mountains! Not too many mountains here in Olathe, Kansas. And we will be home just in time for the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
Darn Bengals! I will cheer for you, but man, my Chiefs GAVE you that game last weekend!
I love Colossians 3:12 … “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Talk about a scripture for the Christian teacher! God DID choose us for something special. When we dress in the morning, not only are we putting on the clothes we wear all day. We are decorating ourselves with Christian morals and principles that separate us from the norm. We show mercy when others lose their cool. We are kind when others are mean. We humble ourselves when others are prideful. We are gentle when others are not. And we exude patience when others are short-tempered.
Talk about a job!
I found out something over the snow days this past week. Serving and encouraging others to serve may have been the most fulfilling episode of my extra long break. I posted an encouragement to my students and to Nextdoor in the community to help others shovel who were not able to shovel. The post on Nextdoor blew up! Over 90 responses coming from all types of people. Single moms. The disabled. The elderly. One post caught my eye, and I made the time to go over and shovel a stranger’s driveway. The gal who asked me to come over, Carol, came out, shook my hand, and told me a little bit about John. I still have never met John, but I know he is 70-years-old, disabled, battling cancer, has a son in the hospital, and tragically lost his wife last month.
Never before have I enjoyed shoveling as much as I did then.
Alright, time to go completely ADHD on y’all! I am talking no capitalization. No organized paragraphs. This is going to be torture for the LA teacher that prides himself in grammar! Are you ready for this? Here we go …
I love pizza and ku basketball so sad that the chiefs lost even if the bengals really didn’t win yeah the chiefs totally lost that game why do 7th grade boys make fart noises I heard it yesterday from the back of the room twice as I was reading aloud and it stopped when I put the para back there don’t you love IEP or 504 zoom meetings that you really have something you want to say but you don’t get the chance to say anything I mean you are listening on mute but you just can’t get a word in why can’t there be a mute button for in person learning where I could shut up the fart noises boy that would be the best teacher invention ever and oh yeah I cannot WAIT until Thursday when I get to drive to Colorado to see my brothers family with my boys the wife gets to stay home and I get quality time with my boys and we get home just in time for the super bowl on Sunday darn bengals I will cheer for you but my chiefs should be there and why is there a monkey in the corner of my room darn I need to send that email about homework better do it now
So, that was fun! Hard to read but fun! I think I will close with a couple tips to help these ADHD kids.
- Give them a class job. The job can be anything to get them out of their seat. It gets the craziness out and it allows them to be helpful.
- Give them a break. No, don’t break them off a piece of that Kit Kat bar. Feeding them chocolate would probably not be the best idea. I am talking about a break where they get to make a quick trip to the restroom or to get a drink.
- Let them have a bouncy ball to sit on or even let them stand behind their desk.
- Find pair share activities where they can get up, high five a partner, and let them discuss a question.
- Quietly ask them if they have taken their meds. One time I remember a poor boy who forgot his lunchtime meds ran into my class and somehow wrapped himself up in his sweatshirt like a straight jacket, got stuck, and yelled for help. I laughed, quietly asked him about the meds, and sent him straight to the nurse to get them. I might have even told him to take the long way there!