"All we want is for our children to be happy!" This is the mantra of Donna Bednarczyk, a 25-year veteran teacher in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Whether she's talking about her own two children or her fifth-grade students at Maire Elementary school, her drive to help all of her kids do well academically and be emotionally resilient is the key to her success as a teacher. Donna is a strong advocate for students with ADHD. Her oldest son, Luke, has been diagnosed with the condition. She raised him to be a confident and successful young man. He is now an Eagle Scout and an honor student at Western Michigan University. How did she do it?
Donna encouraged his strengths while supporting him in his struggles. She does the same for her students. She focuses on their positive attributes. "My ADHD students have the energy and enthusiasm to 'think outside of the box.' Their ideas will help make our world a better place. I want them to see themselves as capable learners."
"Donna is one of the most child-centered teachers I have ever worked with," says her teaching partner, Barb Davis. "She inspires her students to have confidence, which is a gift they keep for the rest of their lives!" Kristin Baer, mother to one of Donna's students with ADHD, adds her own praise. "Donna strikes the perfect balance between maintaining high expectations, while providing the structure and engaging techniques a student with ADHD requires."
"Donna holds her students to high standards, but does so with lots of TLC," says her principal Sonja Francett. "She is a master teacher."
This article appears in the Summer issue of ADDitude.
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Do you know a teacher who has encourged your child's strengths? Give him or her a shout out in the ADHD at School support group on ADDConnect.