The last week of the marking period is always when we wish we had more traction to avoid an ADHD spinout.
by Kristen Caven
This will sound like a familiar scene to those of you with teenagers. It's the last week in the marking period, and we check the online gradebook, and then our heads explode. Suddenly, the teachers who haven’t used the system for a month have gotten caught up, and lo and behold, there are some terrible surprises.
This is the week when I start kicking myself for having a life, a career of my own, distractions that keep me from hovering over the homework and pawing through the backpack on a regular basis. I should really mark these weeks on the calendar, cancel all my appointments, and just plan to be stressed.
The “Big Struggle,” as Hallowell puts it, is the family crisis that ADD brings forth. Ours goes like this: Enzo’s school troubles show up. Tension rises. Voices rise. His dad feels the need to jump in and take control. I feel the need to jump in and smooth things over with the optimism that ADD affords, but it just sounds like happymouth. Now I’m on the hot seat, too; after all, these inattentive traits are from my genes. When Dad leaves for work and there are only the two of us, Enzo and I try to re-balance and start moving forward through the anxiety, guilt, and frustration. Hugs help. And then I say, “But seriously, this is the week when the rubber meets the road.”
Enzo is silent for a moment, his head hanging...and then he says, “Are you saying I'm a car? Well, that's good at least.” The mood lightens for a second while we consider whether that’s the right phrase or not... After all, hasn't the rubber been on the road this whole year? This past marking period, with the semi-consistent Bs and the few perfect scores, when it seemed Enzo was finally getting some traction? I guess he slipped off onto the shoulder without us noticing in the last few weeks, spinning his wheels in the dirt on the side with all those extracurricular obsessions, somehow not getting those TEN English assignments into the right basket... And now, just before the finish line, he's climbing back on the pavement again.
"I guess I'm a Ford MT now," he says with a sigh. "It's an awesome car, and super-reliable.” I raise an eyebrow at him, wondering where that came from. “Except—” he continues, raising a finger, “when it doesn't start.” Hah! He got me. This metaphor may be a non-starter, but somehow he’ll get through this.