March 16, 2011 at 1:23 am #89306
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 1:23 amPost count: 14413
I’m doing my student teaching right now and there are things I am struggling with, namely teaching math. I’m also teaching an entire class of grade 3/4 kids with communication disorders. They take things very literally, need very linear instruction and I need to speak in slow, short sentences! It’s like an ADDer’s nightmare!
My mentor teacher is aware that I have ADHD, and she is incredibly supportive. She has said things like “I want you to feel safe” and “How can I make this work for you? I want to know what works best in terms of supporting you when you are having difficulty during a lesson.” It’s not from lack of motivation or caring on her part. She’s been a special needs teacher for twelve years and she is also the person all the other teachers (especially the new ones) go to for help and guidance.
The problem is, I am not quite sure what to say when she asks me these questions. It’s not that she is unfamiliar with ADHD, it’s just that she knows it’s different for everyone who has it so she doesn’t want to make assumptions. She asks me these questions and I just blank out completely, which is so strange given how chatty I usually am. She asks how to support me and I completely shut down.
Any ideas on how to get unstuck?REPORT ABUSEMarch 16, 2011 at 2:57 am #102117
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 2:57 amPost count: 14413
Thoughts…… maybe first, thank-you, I appreciate that……..next… if it’s ok with you, I’ll take some time and think about your offer. I will get back to you. There is the acknowlegement, the appreciation, and the time you need to consider the offer and how you can make the most of it.
Just some thoughts…. it feel it’s always fair to ask for the time out to consider, make an assessment and then respond.
toofatREPORT ABUSEMarch 16, 2011 at 4:31 am #102118
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 4:31 amPost count: 14413
maybe you need to talk your way to finding the answer? i don’t realise that i even half know a lot of things until i say them- they’re sure as hell not snippets of insight that are filed in my conscious mind.
ok, so you don’t know what’d work best in terms of supporting you (i’m not sure how or why you would, to be honest- if you did, you’d be supporting yourself already! ), but you probably know whats going on thats causing the difficulty, where you’re getting stuck, why it’s hard for you to resolve it, what strategies you use with other similar difficulties (being direct and clear on the phone, completing repeated small, short, focused tasks- like reading instruction manuals, etc, keeping cool and maintainign a steady speaking pace during interveiws), what you want to acheive, and so on, and she knows what she’s used and worked through in the past… you probably know what really *doesn’t* help you focus, and what’d make you feel uncomfortable, too, right?…. so work from there!
….. for example: i know that the large group of kids, dealing with excessive background noise from them, and seeing people fiddling with the velcro on their shoes in my peripheral vision.. that would not help me at all. nightmare stimulation everywhere wrecking my train of thought. and i know that i’d HATE it if she interjected when i was floundering and took control- i’d feel undermined and lose my flow. i also know that having five minutes before a job interview during which to focus and get my head clear, explaining to somone else out loud what my objective is before i start the task, and having soothing ambient background noise to tune out the loudness of silence and people messing about with pencils and rolling them off the tables and onto the floors (that tinkling noise! argh!), that helps me focus in other situations.
i think if we chatted, i’d decide that i’d probably be really helped by doing a runthrough of my wording and phrasing and rhythmn in a break before class, so that it felt more natural and familiar, and i felt more relaxed than i would when running through it cold- that’d give me a good start. so we could do that.
i’d probably also remember that i work well from flashcards, and can think better if i’m working more hands-on, than if i’m stood detachedly infront of a group, too -so from the discussion i’d come to realise that if i could structure the class into several smaller groups working around tables, and go through the instructions with each group individually, using props, with classroom assistants or another relatively quiet but interactive task occupying other groups until we got to them, that’d cut down on my veiw of 30 different fidgety visual distractions from the kids, it’d help me feel involved in what i was teaching, and it’d provide a nice muffled bit of background noise to take the edge off.
i think i’d decide that if i felt that she’d be assisting in a sort of classroom support role, that’d give me confidence too- cos she’d feel more like backup and an ally than an assessor in the crowd who would add to the feeling of being on stage, and getting totally thrown off when i floundered. i think that having it planned that if i looked across the table to her when i felt like i was drowning, and rambling, and totally losing my audience and signalled an agreed signal that i’d appreciate a bit of a nudge, she could then verbally reinforce and re-iterate what i’d just said, like “ok, so, i’ll cut this picture of an apple in half right here, like you just did. those two parts are the same shape, and the same size as each other! like there is a magic mirror right here. *gesturing* i see! that is what makes it symmetrical?….. symmetrical means ‘the same’ like that? right ms jaybird?” and basically clarify to me and the kids whatever i was saying incoherantly, and pull me back on task and back into a slow gentle pace and rythmn at the same time… so i could then say “yes! thats right! symmetrical things- if you draw a line through the middle of them, the two parts match up. what other things can you think of that are symmetrical? faces! your sweater! butterflies wings! lets find the lines of symmetry in these objects…. where would the line of symmetry go on my face? where could you draw a line, so that things would be exactly the same on both sides of it? here?” it’d ground me much better- that’d be an awesome way to support me.
so perhaps talk around the topic a bit, bounce it about, and perhaps the answer or answers will jump out at you.REPORT ABUSEMarch 16, 2011 at 4:38 am #102119
HansMemberMarch 16, 2011 at 4:38 amPost count: 51
I call it the mental freeze. If I was taking a test and had dificulty with the first question my mind would freeze up. I had no access to any of the sublect matter. I learned to skipp every question I had a doubt about. When I fould two or three that I could easily answer the stress would be gone-the freeze would melt – and I could now answer the questions I had skipped over earlier.
My next door neighbors taught special-ed.. I admired them. They had great hearts and treated each student as their own child.REPORT ABUSE
Communication with my mentor teacher, any ideas?2011-03-16T01:23:50+00:00
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