Having ADHD makes me a better teacher

When I look back on my time at primary school, my overriding memories are those of boredom, disengagement and regular visits to the head’s office. Primary teacher David Keyte  writes in Teachwire.

I had real difficulty sitting still and concentrating and saw little purpose to the lessons. I clearly remember a feeling of immense frustration: I knew what the ‘right thing’ to do was, but had real difficulty doing it.

At age nine I was diagnosed with ADHD. At the time I had no appreciation of what this four-letter acronym meant.

At 14 I’d reached a stage where I didn’t want to be seen as ‘different’, and passionately felt that I could cope without medical assistance. This trial period was a success and from that point forward my experience with Ritalin ended.

I took on the role of LSA to gain some in-class experience prior to starting my teacher training and as part of my role I was given the responsibility of working one to one with an ADHD diagnosed pupil.

I was sent on a specialist ADHD training day and while there I can have what can only be described as a watershed moment.

When learning about the condition, undertaking roleplay scenarios and discussing prior experiences, I could relate completely to what was being discussed. I went home and spent a lot of time reading up on the condition.

I still have trouble concentrating and have a very short attention span. I get bored in staff meetings, fiddle in assembly and find many of the situations that others find easy, very difficult indeed. What I have now that I didn’t have as a ten-year-old are coping mechanisms and far greater social awareness. While I find certain tasks boring, I do them as I can contextualise their relevance.

As a teacher, I feel that my short attention span, huge amounts of energy, and busy mind are hugely beneficial.

When planning and teaching I regularly think, ‘Would I want to be in this lesson?’. If the answer is no, I immediately change things up to make it more engaging and exciting.

I can relate extremely well to disengaged pupils and clearly articulate the purpose of learning, often citing my own experiences when doing so.

Read the full article Having ADHD makes me a better teacher

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