The day I met my Teacher!!

A few weeks ago i was in town and I bumped into an old maths teacher of mine. For this Blog I will call her Mrs A. Mrs A is quite a pleasant lady who always had a big smile and hello for me, which is kind of surprising and makes me feel a bit guilty for some of my behaviours towards her when i was at school. Back then I hated all teachers, the authorities. For me they were the enemy and I’m sure they didn’t think much of me either. I recognise that I didn’t give teachers an easy time I lacked the empathy and understanding to recognise that many teachers were just trying to do their best to do their job.

That day in town Mrs A and I had an interesting conversation regarding ADHD. First of all we did the pleasantries, asking each other how we were, Mrs A explaining she had been retired for a number of years and then we briefly discussed how great it is to see the sun. In Co. Fermanagh it is always a topic of conversation if the sun comes out because it usually never stops raining.   Then Mrs A asked me what I was working at these days and I explained that I was a founding director of Adult ADHD NI an organisation set up to support Adults and families affected by ADHD etc. etc.. Mrs A said “well done Niall, that sounds like good work your doing”. Then brightly laughing she said “isn’t it funny in my day there was no ADHD we called them BOLD CHILDREN

Well I was glad she said it because I went on to tell her the following story, perhaps not quite as detailed, but she got the idea. It was actually Mrs A’s class that gave me a greatest understanding of how my school had failed me due to lack of knowledge or willingness to support students with various needs.   It was in year 4 that i ended up in Mrs As math class. Mrs As math class was what ye called top maths at my school. The maths class for the brainy students, the students that got everything really easy and the students that automatically understood how a2 + b2 = c2. So what the hell was I doing there? I was still trying to work out when they started adding the alphabet to sums, I must have missed that day. The reason I was there was due to the teacher I had from the year before. For this Blog ill call her Mrs B.

Mrs B was my ultimate nightmare. From the very first moment I met her at the door of her classroom Mrs B was screaming at me. At that particular moment she had no reason to scream at me but I can only assume that she had heard from other teachers that I had been a handful and she was not for taking any nonsense. Nonsense was my speciality, if I couldn’t be nonsensical I had no idea what my role was. She ordered me to sit right in front of her at the top of the class and the second I opened my mouth she was down on me like a ton of bricks.

index

When Mrs B screamed the walls shook. Her face would go red then purple and what was even more frightening 10 seconds later she had a big smile on her face talking rather soft and polite. This woman scared the living crap out of me. Every day she was on my back, screaming, shouting and humiliating me in front of my classmates. If I missed homework she would scream at me, if didn’t understand something she would stand over my back and in my mind torture me until I understood it, which kind of motivated me to try and learn because I hated her and I didn’t want her in my vicinity. But most surprising of all at the end of the year I got the highest mark in the whole year and because of this I ended up in ‘top maths’.

During that time I also received a hard punch on the arm by a geography teacher who was sure i cheated because i got 97% in the geography exam he gave us. He received a punch in the face in return. Let us call him Mr C because that is the alphabetic letter that describes him best.

So there I was in Mrs A’s maths class and in with the brainies if ye don’t mind. It was like heaven in comparison to Mrs B’s class. I could sit were I wanted, usually as far to the back as possible and Mrs A didn’t even care if I didn’t understand or I missed my homework, she was a nice teacher, or perhaps indifferent.

images teacher

For someone with ADHD, especially untreated ADHD the entire situation was recipe for disaster. No structure, no support, no attention and no care. I failed that year and I was dropped to lowest maths class and then I flunked it also. I left school with no GCSEs and to be honest not much hope for the future. Mr C got his own back for me hitting him by simply not accepting the only bit of course work that did for my GCSEs but at that stage it hardly mattered.

That day in town I explained to Mrs A how Mrs B had given me a bit of one to one attention every day, even when i didn’t want it, whilst other teachers just saw me as the Bold Child and ignored me. I explained a little bit more about what ADHD was like for me then and the struggle maintaining attention during classes and how many people we support have had similar negative experiences. I felt Mrs A was beginning to get the picture. Perhaps some of the Bold Children as she called them, had also a condition that prevented them from learning as other children do. I also wondered how many of these bold children’s lives ended tragically young through drugs and alcohol or suicide.

Mrs B although her methods may be questionable, her intentions were good. She was a good teacher with a great heart but if i met her my legs would probably go to jelly, especially after writing this. By screaming at me, she must have created enough dopamine in my brain to sustain my attention long enough to learn the boring math and my attention possibly filtered over to Mr C’s geography classroom. My wish is to raise awareness and to offer support and understanding to not only people with ADHD but their parents, teachers, and healthcare providers I hope to reduce stigma and help those with the condition to reach their potential and live healthy fulfilled lives.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com

Advertisements

Life without Organisational Skills.

If I was to pinpoint one of the many ADHD traits that I find the most frustrating and debilitating I think it would be the lack of Organizational Skills. Although I’ve made some improvement over the years it’s mainly due to the support of a loving and understanding partner who has taken the time to show me some management skills that most people take for granted such as planning the day ahead with to do lists, deciding on priorities and maintaining a structured environment.

Technology has also improved my organisation skills as I can set reminders for myself, if I remember to do so and keep track of lists of things that need to be carried out throughout the day. Unfortunately Technology can easily be a distraction from daily tasks I was on level 108 of Candy Crush when it dawned on me that I had actually wasted days of my life playing that pointless game.

As a child having no organisation skills meant lost or forgotten homework assignments and inadequate, to say the very least, planning for exams. I was in a constant state of worry knowing that at some stage I was going to be scolded for not doing my homework and once I was scolded I couldn’t concentrate because I had been once again humiliated in front of the whole class by the teacher who was perceiving my difficulties as me being lazy. The impact of the teacher’s negative, uncompassionate and intolerant communication would spread like wildfire throughout the classroom. ‘MISS, Niall is copying me’ a classmate would complain. I’d whisper ‘Please, I don’t know what to do’ which was usually followed by ‘MISS ,Niall is talking to me again’ NIALL GET UP HERE TO THE FRONT OF THE CLASS SO I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON YOU’ the teacher would roar. There I would sit for the rest of the class with my head down, red faced, angry and frustrated at myself for being so stupid. I can see now that if some time had have been put into helping me build the organisational skills that I was clearly lacking; things could have been somewhat different.

springfiled

As a young adult with ADHD my lack of organisation skills manifested in missed appointments, unpaid bills and impulsively spending money on things I didn’t need rather than buying food or paying rent etc. Adults are expected to be well organised and responsible. However, due to the constant distractions in the ADHD Mind as well as hyper-focusing, which sometimes is seen as an ADHD superpower but more often causes strain on relationships with people because your simply not present, combined with forgetting to do simple things like eating or sleeping believe it or not, creates an impossible environment for the person to maintain any sort of structured life style. As I got older my life became a game of avoiding humiliation and trying to prevent people from seeing my difficulties, trying to mask the problems behind an attitude of I don’t give a shit.

Stress Man

As I’m writing this I have had a moment of panic in recognition that approximately 4% of the population are living this way. Many of whom have no Idea of why their lives are so upside down. Adults with ADHD trying to survive many of whom are parents striving to do the best they can for their children without the simple organisational skills needed to survive. I dedicate todays post to every person affected by ADHD and I hope that through my Blog I can encourage people to go easy on themselves and seek support where available.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com