Tips for Teachers From a Child with ADHD’s Perspective

I recently received my K-6 teaching license, and I have been observing in classrooms and applying for teaching jobs. I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of teacher I’d like to be and how I will be successful in managing my classroom. I’m particularly concerned with making sure that I am effective in teaching children with special needs like my son. Connor is very self-aware and communicates openly with me about himself through drawings, written expression and talking to me. We are very close, and I like to pick his brain about what it’s like to have ADHD. I thought it might be helpful if he could give me some tips from a 4th grader’s perspective about what makes a good teacher. I am going to try to incorporate many of his suggestions into my classroom. I think that one of the best things I can do as a new teacher is to listen to my students and my own children, and learn from them.

Connor’s Tips for Teachers:

  1. Every time you see someone come into your classroom, say “Good Morning!” to them.
  2. Know your schedule for the day and write it on the board. Write exactly what time each activity starts and ends. Try not to change the schedule. Get it right the first time. Kids don’t like unexpected changes.
  3. Don’t be strict. Be fun, but not too fun.
  4. Don’t yell. Say, “Please be quiet. I’m trying to talk.” If nobody is listening, turn off the lights to get their attention.
  5. Don’t pick on one student. Make consequences private, or the kids will end up hating you.
  6. Be funny and humorous. Make kids smile.
  7. Ask kids every Monday about what they did over the weekend. Let them say, “No thank you” or “Pass” if they don’t want to share.
  8. If kids keep interrupting, make a blurting out chart so everyone can see it (see Connor’s illustration below). If the students stay in the blue zone, give all the kids a positive behavior ticket. Do not give kids a reward if the class reaches the red zone. Start the zones over at each period. Don’t tell kids what the reward is for keeping in the blue. Every kid likes a surprise and wants to be quiet to find out what the reward will be. Mix up rewards.
  9. To get kids to turn in their homework and classwork, assign a Team Leader for every table. That child picks up all the homework, class assignments, and paperwork for the entire table (cluster of desks). The teacher can pick the Team Leader every day and it should change each day.
  10. Give extra recess as a special reward. This is the best motivation for good behavior. Other rewards that kids really like are getting to use electronics from home, volleyball, bring blankets and pillows from home, and giving free time to socialize with friends.
  11. Put desks in groups of five. Change desk groupings about three times a year. Let the kids pick who they get to sit with. Split the troublemakers up.
  12. Ask the kids to raise their hands if they need to go to the bathroom or get a drink. Only 2 kids can go at a time.

Here is Connor’s idea about a blurting out chart.

I’d like to know what your child would add to the list. What can I do as a new teacher to make your child successful and happy at school? I love to learn from our kids, so I’d appreciate the input of other students with ADHD. Thank you!

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, and I am a certified K-6 teacher in the state of North Carolina. I spend a lot of my free time volunteering for organizations that are close to my heart. My boys are ages 8 and 10. My older son has ADHD and type 1 diabetes. I enjoy talking photographs, hiking and gardening. Those interests led to the start of my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Hickowreaths.

Facebook 

Related posts:

academic achievement, adhd and outbursts, adhd and school, classroom accommodations, homework, rewards and consequences, routines, school behavior, self-awareness, teacher, Uncategorized ·

About the author

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, and I am a certified K-6 teacher in the state of North Carolina. I spend a lot of my free time volunteering for organizations that are close to my heart. My boys are ages 8 and 10. My older son has ADHD and type 1 diabetes. I enjoy talking photographs, hiking and gardening. Those interests led to the start of my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Hickowreaths.

12 Comments

  1. Beenbellesmom says:

    My son would say set aside time in the lesson to talk with the kids about the subject, not just at them.  Be as organized as possible.  This year his teacher learned through my son that by organizing places in his desk for things to be that it helped her and his classmates to do the same.  Having visuals and things they can touch and manipulate also helps to sink ideas in.
     

    Reply
  2. Jeanninet09 says:

    Don’t take away recess as a punishment.  Allow students to stand to do independent work if they need to stretch.

    Reply
    • Amy Coffey says:

      My son needs recess to be successful during the rest of the school day, so I would agree with you. While I observed in one classroom, I saw a teacher who had a crate full of clipboards. The kids could choose to work at their desk or use a clipboard to find a space for independent work. Some students stood up, some sat at their desk, and some sat in little clusters on the carpet. I liked that they had options, and the kids felt respected. 

      Reply
  3. Ebony says:

    You and Connor offer great suggestions! These definitely sound like suggestions my son would make. I think he’d add allow students to engage in quiet activities like doodling or coloring when the teacher is actively teaching–that helps him tune in. I’ll be saving this article since I’m concerned about “breaking in” a new teacher in the fall. His teacher this year had years of experience working with kids with ADHD but no guarantee the next will. This will be helpful for me to articulate ways to support him in the classroom.

    Reply
    • Amy Coffey says:

      Great tip! Yes, my son learns best when his hands are busy doodling or building. It looks like he’s not paying attention, but he can actively attend to multiple tasks simultaneously. I need to adjust my mindset to remember that we all learn in different ways and that the way I learn is not the “right” way.

      Reply
  4. Daniel's Mom says:

    My son would definitely say to never take recess away as a form of punishment for not finishing work during time allotted to do so.  Maybe giving extra time or assigning as homework but, never punish by taking away the one very important outlet ADHD children need….Recess!! 

    Reply
  5. Susan Bruhn says:

    Well written! I hope teachers would keep those in mind when dealing not only to students with ADHD but as well as with the normal students. My little sis always say that their teacher always nag when they’re too noisy.

    Reply
  6. Dee Boling says:

    Your son is awesome!  Now I want to go home and ask my son what would be on his list.  This would be a good dinner topic.  

    Reply
    • Amy says:

      I think so too, but I’m a bit biased :). I would LOVE to know what your son would add to his list. Please share if you are willing. Thank you!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

Powered by WordPress | Customized by KW Design