In 1st grade our teacher encouraged us to have my son screened for ADHD and he was diagnosed and put on medication. Jeremiah did not like the way this medicine made his body feel (the side effects were much worse than the lack of attention span he struggled with), and we attempted two times during 2nd grade to come off of it but each time I received an email from his teacher that he was having trouble focusing ( I personally struggled with having to force my child to take a medication he utterly hated taking). I completely understand that our teachers deal with so much on a day to day basis and having a classroom with just one child that doesn't stay on task can be a challenge, and often times they are faced with several of these challenges, and other behaviors in the room at one time. However, this year......This year is so much different! As fate would have it, we were paired with a teacher who not only seems to understand the struggles of a child with ADHD but one who takes the time to see how my child learns and then adapts her teaching methods/strategies to help. Earlier this year I met with her and the school's Interventionist, to get Jeremiah started with an in-house tutor for extra help with Math. At that time we discussed the medication and she was completely open to us taking him off and seeing how he does without it. No one else has given him the chance to learn without having his medicine and I will be honest, I wasn't sure how it would work. I expected her to contact me and tell me he needed it and I would just thank her for the efforts of trying. That has not been the case-thus far! He has been off his medicine for over a month now and seems to be flourishing in her classroom. While some of his grades are not where I would like them, he is making progress, daily. She is kind, compassionate, caring and she takes time to work with him in a way that I would never be able to fully thank her for. She talks with him and allows him to openly talk with her when he is struggling. She has given him special techniques that help him when he is ready to shut down. For example, last week she gave him a "routine" to help with regrouping and pressing on when he struggles and wants to give up. She gave him an hour glass to keep in his box and pull out when he gets to a point that he wants to shut down. She shared with me that she looked over and saw him using it to gather his thoughts and dive back in on the hard math problems. She has made him feel comfortable with asking her for help when he struggles and that in itself is remarkable, in my opinion. He now feels at ease with asking for help instead of struggling in silence and giving up. Her "hour glass" method helps him to take a minute to regroup, take a deep breath, and finish the task when before he would give up, shut-down, and sometimes cry with frustration. My son wants to do well, he tries his best, and has been an A-B student throughout school. He ended last year with his grade in Language Arts plummeting and it was a sign he was struggling. This year he knows that this teacher cares enough to help him overcome!. How many teachers give their parents their personal cell number? Probably not many, but ours not only gave it to me but she uses it to keep me informed of my child's progress. She sends me messages to update me and keeps the communication open. That alone is extraordinary, in my book.
She is by far THE BEST teacher I have worked with throughout all the years of being a parent with school aged children (I have a 22 year old (step-son), 17, 13, and 8 year old) in the public schools. I am honored and feel blessed that we have her as our son's teacher. If her methods and style of teaching could be mimicked throughout our educational system-wow what a phenomenal move it would be! I have often heard people say - there was that ONE teacher that saw something in me and made a difference. Well Mrs. Nichols is "that one", for Jeremiah. Before her, he didn't like school at all and dreaded going. Since this year, he is excited and has a completely new outlook on learning. This is why I believe she should be "HONORED"!
Terria R Held