“Write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~Ben Franklin
I’m off doing things worth writing about this summer.
See you in September!
This month, I packed 16 years of traditional teaching in four boxes and brought them into my home. They are still there. Like a threat. I can’t unpack them.
Student: Beth, what did you say you have again? OCD?
Beth: Nope! Though I understand your confusion. I have AD/HD.
Student: H? But you’re not all, “Blaaaah!!!”
[flaps arms, runs in a small circle with tongue wagging]
Beth: That’s not what hyperactivity looks like in everyone.
[student accurately senses a lecture, flees to his next class]
This past month, I took the state exam that would officially allow me to teach students with disabilities. This is huge news for several reasons: Continue reading
On my commute home tonight, “How was school today?” was taken to another level. Through a series of question and answers, a son explained to his father that he joined the “Identity Exploration” group during his affinity group class. He said, “That’s where kids who aren’t sure about how they self-identify yet and can learn more about it. I mean, on one hand, it’s easy because I’m Jewish. I know I’m not going to join the Christian group, but what about sexuality and other identities? I’d like to know more about those so I’m going to explore.”
Yup. Tears of joy all the way home. We’re getting there, folks.
My previous post pointed out the dearth of time dedicated to educational planning for students with learning disabilities, prompted by Tracy Thompson’s piece in the Atlantic, The Special Education Charade. The article spoke many unfortunate truths, however the words that rattled me most were those in the commentary below it:
For the past 16 years, I have been one of those “good” teachers: the one parents request, the one administration knows will not only keep issues to a minimum, but also manage to teach even the toughest student a thing or two in nine months. Even as a post-undergrad newbie, my “at-risk” students would score surprisingly high on standardized tests and they still liked coming to school every day, which is today’s equivalent of an educational unicorn. Continue reading
The federal government recently reminded school districts that they are allowed to use the word “dyslexia” when documenting a child’s special education needs. For you lay people, that’s like your doctor being reminded that she can use the word “insomnia” when you routinely cannot sleep. They may prefer the term “sleep disturbance” but they’re allowed to say insomnia. Regardless of what word your doctor uses, you are most likely to respond, “No shit, Sherlock.”
It’s that time of year again. Time for calling upon the executive skills of a ninja if one wants to dress as a ninja. For us creative types, Halloween is our New Year’s Eve. It is that swoony time of year…rife with ideas for what could be, when anything is possible…that comes with a clearly established deadline. Thank god. It’s a downright conundrum for divergent thinkers who wow us at parties with costumes like “Papal Towel Dispenser” by my friend Alex (think the pope with a roll of Bounty hanging around his neck) or Laura’s “Windswept”.
Hyperactive subtype AD/HD comes with some pretty special superpowers. It took me a while to understand that the reason for my struggles was also the source of my strength. I get why Luke Skywalker needed three films to figure out what his deal was. I, too, needed lots of background knowledge, repeated contextual practice and an Obi-Wan to school me in how to use that with which I was blessed. In fact, Luke and I have uttered similar phrases on that journey:
On daily life: I want more than this! It’s so BORING here.
On fathers: I knew I got this from somewhere!
On vacations: It needs to be a very long time, preferably on another planet with no distractions, and I should leave transformed.
On cat-like reflexes in high-stakes moments: I got this, just cover me.
This Star Wars approach to my disability is an extension of my attitude on life in general: everything has two sides. Continue reading