Reply To: Teachers with ADHD

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I am a 25-yr high school teacher diagnosed 18 yrs ago at age 35. I’m not sure about any studies about teachers, but can share some of my own experiences. First off, I am a dynamic classroom teacher. There’s lots of energy and free-flowing discussion; I can cover 3 different topics within one class period. There’s also a heightened sense of empathy and understanding for any student with learning differences.

As you can imagine, the challenges are organization and keeping track of details. It takes me forever to correct and hand back assessments. I can’t just sit for 3-4 hours and correct like many of my colleagues; I have to break it up into smaller chunks, thus lengthening the time. Also – correcting is boring! It’s sometimes hard for me to get myself to sit and do that sort of tedious work – I often replace that with more stimulating activity like meeting with students, checking with colleagues about other professional responsibilities, etc. There’s way more stimulation in that kind of human interaction, so the correcting often piles up during an academic term.

It’s also hard taking on any type of lead on committees – even if I’m engaged by the subject. There’s just too many details to keep track of that I should not volunteer. It was hard for a while dealing with my own shame around these things – it led me to see myself as unprofessional and unaccountable/unreliable. It took a long time (i.e. proper medication and treatment) for me to recognize that my strengths lie in other areas.

I am also up front with parents about these challenges. I teach at a high-powered private school in my area; so it’s incumbent on me to let them know that I’m not short-changing my students with work – it just takes me longer to get that work back. I’ve found them to be very understanding. It’s also led to parents sharing that their child (who might have an attention deficit) feels they have someone who ‘gets them’. So like all things there’s good and bad; for me I just have to work on making sure those obstacles don’t derail me – I’m still working on that all the time.

While not an academic study, I hope this personal experience helps. Good luck with your search – I’m actually sort of interested in what you find!