How can they ALL be ADHD?!

Man, I gotta tell ya. I teach middle schoolers, and I believe most teachers agree that 14 year-olds are the most difficult age to teach, bar none. But there’s something else here. Many of my students are so ADD that they can’t even follow the plot of a 90 minute action movie. I’m not even sure they can keep attentive through an entire 30-second commercial. To get right down to it, I don’t believe that the problem here is that they need a clinical diagnosis and medication. There’s something more pervasive than a handful of children with special needs.

These kids (and I mean the majority of the class) seem to have a basic and deep-rooted inability to focus on anything at all. Reading with them is a complete joke. Things are hard enough due to there miniscule vocabulary. But these kids, who have somehow passed SEVEN prior grades in elementary and middle school, can’t seem to follow a simple analogy, or properly label a part of speech, much less grasp a plot or character development in a simple story. Reading aloud stumps them completely, but following along while somebody else reads (no matter how good their inflection) seems so far above most of them that it seems like a complete waste of time. Now imagine assigning them a reading assignment. WHATEVER!

Okay, so you get that I’m exasperated. But this problem undergirds every subject I teach. It’s not enough that I already feel like I have to put on a red nose and big shoes and dance around while I lecture. Whenever I assign a reading assignment, followed by review questions, they read the questions only, scan for keywords in their reading assignment, then write whatever the first few words are that follow and assume they’ve done the assignment. They absorb not one iota of the chapter. Then when I review them for their test, they complain that they’ve never heard this stuff before. For cryin out loud! Okay. Enough of that for a bit.

Teaching seems like it’s getting harder each year. While I should be getting better and better each year, I feel instead like the crop of students is getting dumb and dumberer. I am forced to choose between two unattractive options: 1. Dumb down what I am teaching them so that they only get a small fraction of what I believe they need to know in order to succeed in college and in life, or 2. Fail half the class in an effort to “keep the bar raised” where it should be. Oy!

Teachers just don’t get paid enough, ya know? My salary is approximately half of what my family needs to cover current expenses. Unless this situation changes sometime, We’ve got us a pretty screwed up future for our country. That’s just my opinion, of course.

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One Response to “How can they ALL be ADHD?!”

  1. Lorna Says:

    Your post makes me so sad. I know it makes you frustrated, but it makes me unbearably sad if your comments reflect other teachers’ realities. On the other hand, it made me very happy to see kids lined up to buy the fifth Harry Potter book when it came out. There mustbe some hope out there.

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