September 23, 2011

Well, new school year, new (private practice) students; new parents; new assessment reports, new word retrieval issues, new IEPs, and new teacher names for me to remember when talking with each student about their daily life. And some students who are continuing, and I have worked with for awhile.

I am pausing for a Catholic moment of confession.
I raised my voice with two students in one week.
Against my nature, my ethics, my upbringing, and my morals.
Their shoulder-shrugging responses to all of my questions about their writing just sent me through the roof.
Did you use the rubric to help you with this paragraph/assignment?
Do you remember where you got stuck?
Did you use the tools in the toolkit? (our tutoring folder)
What words do you think are really good in this piece?
Does this sentence say what you want to say?
Are you determined to get out of writing anything in this hour with me?

I would not make a patient parent at moments such as these.

The ADD Brain just has a way of tuning out, sometimes, and putting absolutely zero importance on the verbage that is coming at them. These two students, at times, will just act completely apathetic about a poorly done piece of writing, or a weak report card, etc. Their parents battle with them to find a reward, or even a consequence, that works. It is like they are okay with getting nothing and living motivation-free.

"The hallmark of ADD is an automatic, unwilled "tuning out," a frustrating non-presence of mind. People suddenly find that they have heard nothing of what they have been listening to, saw nothing of what they were looking at, remember nothing of what they were trying to concentrate on."

Of course, I have my outsider perspective, and may not know the ins and outs of their other brain life. I am hired to teach them writing, so it is entirely possible that "tuning out" does not occur in certain activities, and that their motivation to build legos is worthy of a You Tube Video.

But some ADD-ers grow up to become incredible, published authors!

And not from being yelled at. But from being given a chance to express themselves.

Here are these 9-year old boys I work with who are being unfairly asked to write, for example, an argument-style essay, defending diversity and cultural variety at school. Wow. That is a hard task, to explain, in words, why sameness is not a great aspiration.

So my little guy - in this week's session - starts out by saying that with no differences, everything would be white, like at school no colors on the walls, and no petals different on flowers.

That is beautiful. But not gonna pass the expository muster.

I have put this blog post in draft format for 10 days now, awaiting the illuminatory answer to expound upon my readers about how to deal with the tuning out thing, but it has not arisen. I am sure it will come. My brain makes connections pretty fast.

My other confession is that I have joined Twitter, and have entered the dark side. I only did it a month ago because so many people said it was a way to direct traffic to my blog, but now I am stuck with "followers" that are really just marketers, and homeschoolers who repost articles I have read already. Okay, it is not that bad. I find out interesting things from about 1 out of 10 twitter links I am sent. And I read them on my laptop, not on my phone. More like reading the paper.

Can I leave the confessional booth now?

No comments:

Post a Comment