They say that teachers never forget their first group of students.
I remember my first classroom, over 20 years ago, like it was yesterday! It was back in the 1990s, when I was young and naive and had set out to make a difference in the world. I was fresh out of college with a degree in Special Education and was hired to co-teach a 4th grade class. There were a lot of memorable kids that first year but my fondest memories are of a boy named Jake.
Unlike his past teachers, I found Jake to be fun and charismatic. His smile and bright eyes lit up the room. He was super smart but struggled to focus or stay on task. Jake had ADHD, but to be honest, I can’t remember if it was an official diagnosis or if it was just something that I knew about him. He was the first of many kids I worked with who had ADHD. Those bright, fun-loving kids have always been my favorite
This was not my first encounter with someone so fidgety or impulsive – my husband was (and is still) that way. However, it was my first encounter with a student who was quite so hyperactive and, it turned out, it was Jake’s first encounter with a teacher who was more interested in understanding his needs than managing his behavior.
Jake, and many kids since, NEEDED to move. It was not an option to sit still. And, more importantly, he needed to move in order to learn. We implemented several things to help him be successful that year. He could…
- stand at his desk, which was placed in the back or on the side
- fidget with pens or markers
- listen without looking directly at the teacher
And while I did have to stop him from building two-foot tall towers that would topple and disrupt everyone around him, we got through that year and both learned some important lessons. Jake learned that he really was smart, that he really could learn and be successful. I learned that every student is unique and that, with a little investigation, we could find success when we worked together.
Turns out, several years later, these lessons came in handy with my own children!
I have over 20 years of experience working with children with ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, etc. and I’ve learned quite a few lessons along the way. It’s my mission to help you understand your complex child and help you navigate the path toward school success. Welcome to Vestigo Coaching!