Friday, September 12, 2014

Theory 50b: All teachers develop ADHD.

In last week’s post, I explained that all teachers develop ADHD. Then I told you all about a project my students are working on. Then I shared an autobiographical poem. In the poem, I tagged my family members as “interrupters and storytellers.” Those same folks are educators, ya’ll. I wondered and wandered all over the place in that 1,031 word diatribe. Among other topics, I mentioned the following:

Breast reduction
Family members
Go Band!
Money hustling
Common Core
Mad Lib
Oh, and a squirrel!

What’s my point? My point is that I am a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. What is Stockholm Syndrome?

Stockholm Syndrome (per Yahoo Dictionary)
            A psychological syndrome in which a person being held captive beings to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor, simultaneously becoming unsympathetic towards the police or other authorities.

FYI: I hate authority. Even way on back to the Sevierville City Park swimming pool. I’ve always had an “issue” with lifeguards.

The scene:
Lifeguards: Always whistling, “Tweeeeeeeeeeeeet” and yelling, “Stop running!”

As if I could actually run.

Bug: I usually held my nose, penciled into the deep end, and stayed under, swimming to the shallows to get out of the large-and-in-charge teen’s surveillance. I avoided eye contact and stayed under the water (and the radar) until the awkward moment faded. Ugh. Thank God for nachos and Reese Cups to calm my frazzled, misunderstood, self-conscious nerves.

So what’s my point about Stockholm Syndrome? My point is that I have contracted ADHD from my students. Every teacher does.

My teaching buddy J-Bird says he makes to-do lists and only gets half-way through. Foks, he gets half-way through the to-do list, not the to-do's!

ADHD defined (per Mayo Clinic)
Diagnosis: ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school.

Every affliction has a cause, right? What could be the cause/causes of ADHD?

·         Our lives are dictated by bells. Literally.
Riiiiiiiiiing, “Everybody sit down”
Riiiiiiiiiing, “You are tardy.” (I can’t wait to retire so I don’t have to use the word ‘tardy’ anymore.)
Riiiiiiiiiing, “Look at the board and start the (no kidding) ‘bell-ringer’ activity.”
Riiiiiiiiiing, “Don’t forget your homework. Don’t forget to log off. Good luck at the game tonight. Yes, you can turn it in later. I don’t know what we did yesterday. Ask another student. Stop running.”
Riiiiiiiiing, “Yay! I can go tee-tee now!”

·         We don’t JUST teach. We constantly switch gears to meet the needs of our students (I have 35 at a time, 4 to 5 classes per day, in a lab with 35 computers). Here are the roles teachers take:
- patrolmen
- secretaries
- coaches
- party-planners
- cheerleaders
- motivational speakers
- role models
- parents
- theorists
- logistical experts
- administrators
- counselors
- referees
- nurses
- policemen

·         Teachers do every single thing we do in a hurry.
We eat fast. I do not pack lunches that need re-heating. That would waste my whole lunch time!
We pack our lunches in a blaze of fury on Sunday nights. I honestly make all my breakfasts, all Gnome’s breakfasts, and all my lunches at once with three rows (5 squares each) of tin foil.
Teachers wear the same black pants three days a week.
We wear our Sunday clothes on Mondays (“God first, laundry second,” according to my teacher buddy Sugar Bear.)
We don’t lock the bathroom stall doors when we tee-tee (if we tee-tee) because, hey, there’s just no time. It’s easier to say, “I’m in here.”

·         We CENSOR to exhaustion: Not students, but ourselves! Delicious says “Teachers constantly self-censor what we say, the tone in which we say it, the volume, everything.” All to avoid trouble, hurting students’ feelings, miscommunication, and the dreaded parent phone call. Oops!

Teachers, how many of you have worried all night about something you’ve said in class? Can I get an AMEN?

Finally, if you haven’t noticed or don’t believe me, I have data to back up my claim. RESEARCH documents that teachers make thousands of responses. I talked about this with Delicious on my way to school and said, “Don’t teachers make about three thousand verbal and non-verbal responses each school day?”

She said, “Oh, no, Bug. It’s THIRTY thousand.”

When I got to school, I asked Red Hot Backspace “How many verbal and non-verbal responses do teachers make during the day?”

She answered, with blunt certainty, “A zillion.”

~ ~ ~

Okay, so I typed everything up to this point in the morning, before class. But, to illustrate this theory and prove that I am right, I am going to do something odd and obnoxious that will make the ADHD causes obvious.

I am going to finish writing this post during second period. Second period is 74 minutes (bell to bell), but I'm only going to use thirty minutes of that time. My students are finishing up a creative project and should need NO instruction from me. They have everything they need on the white board, the interactive board, AND in a Word file on their personal directories. They have the World Wide Web and each other for help.

THAT BEING SAID, every time they, a teacher, a bell, or other thing interrupts me, I’m going to post a picture of a squirrel. I thought about putting a caption detailing the interruption, but there’s no way I can do that AND teach AND moonlight with this blog. Shhhhh. Top secret. Well, consider this research and development. Maybe I can come up with an ADHD version of Airborne (that teacher is a millionaire)!

Understand and say a little prayer for harried, hurried, ADHD teachers everywhere.

I think I’ll diagram a sentence or two, ya’ll! (But in a different way). Let’s just take each of the Mayo Clinic ADHD symptoms one by one and examine them.


Difficulty sustaining attention:
My teaching buddy, let’s call him "Magic Mike" because he half-stripped for Delicious on her 60th birthday, said he can do exactly twenty-three things at the same time. I’d like to see you try, Magic Mike, I’d like to see you try. We do many things at once because that is our comfort zone. The zone of chaos. The zone of multi-tasking, talking, directing, responding, writing, correcting, etc.

Teachers are the most talkative people in the world.
Almost all of us have second jobs. Read Theory 24: Teachers are money hustlers, ya'll.
Have you ever tried to talk to a teacher in her classroom full of students? She pops up and down like a prairie dog at the Knoxville Zoo
Teachers even SAY, “I’m sorry, I’m not listening.”

Impulsive behavior: 
Delicious bought a 70-acre farm one weekend. Delicious and I are trying to find a cabin on the Little River to buy. We’ve already made and lost on two offers. (Top secret. Tall Child has NO idea!)

Low self-esteem
Women eat for comfort, right? You should see the damage we do at in-services lunches. You should see the damaged people at in-services. Wide loads, comin’ through!

Troubled relationships: If we get into fights at home in the morning, we can’t settle them to we return that night! We are too busy, too frazzled, and can’t text at school.

Poor performance in school
I just want to graduate and finish my Master’s Degree before I have to start the dreaded Christmas season. I am too old for this! Oh, and no worries. I love Jesus. I just hate December.

~ ~ ~

So my students have $1500 MacBook Pro’s, iPhones, iPads, and name-brand clothes, while I go to grad school with an Etch-a-Sketch, have the oldest smartphone on planet Earth, tote maxi-pads (a cruel joke on this infertile woman), and wear shrunken Faded Glory shirts and flood-ready britches.

I think it’s time I get an IEP. For ME!

IEP (defined by "About Parenting")
Short for Individualized Education Program, an IEP is the legal document that defines a child's special education program. An IEP includes the disability under which the child qualifies for Special Education Services, the services the team has determined the school will provide, his yearly goals and objectives and any accommodations that must be made to assist his learning.

Hmmm. Let me break this down.

Bug's IEP

Disability: ADHD

Goals (in order of importance and difficulty):
          Lose 10 pounds by Christmas
          Maintain full-time employment
          Publish Student Anthology Project for my freshmen
                                              (Copyright CB Publishing)
          Not get into a single fist fight (manage my rage)
          Learn to use the software I'm supposed to use
          Finish my Theories: Size 12 humor book by summer 2015
          Finish my M. Ed. in December
          Stay safe on Alcoa Highway
          Money from Tall Child to buy all meat and produce (no carbs) at Kroger
          Exercise routine (gross)
          Patience (from the people around me)
          Bota Box in large supply
          Small group settings. Classes of fewer than 15 would be nice. Ha!

Services the school should provide:
         A laptop (I teach technology, and I am sick of carrying this Etch-A-Sketch around.)
         A company car to keep me safer on Alcoa Hwy. Maybe a school bus?
         Catered lunch. To my room. Already heated and ready to eat. And low carb.
         A private bathroom.
         A private weekly session with the school psychologist. Hey, here's here anyway, right?
         An endless supply of Crocs, deoderant, mechanical pencils, jump drives, sticky notes, and, ............................ Adderall and Vyvanse!

I took this one to the streets, well, my classroom actually. Here’s what the students of Lab 211 have to say to my question, “Do teachers have ADHD?”

Response (in loud chorus): “YES!!!”

Bug: “Why do you say that?”

Freshmen Responses:

They all are always running around the halls trying to find things.
They talk fast.
They are easily agitated.
They get off topic.
They lose their smart board pens all the time and freak out.
They're always pacing around the room.

 10 squirrels in 30 minutes. Common Core that, and you will deduce why all teachers develop ADHD!

See you next post! Until then, think outside the barn.

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website:

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!

Just thinking outside the barn...

Just thinking outside the barn...