He still had his coat on, his backpack was on his chair and books and papers were falling to the floor. I learned long ago not to react without first getting the facts along with remembering to look at a student’s face. Something wasn’t right today.
For a moment or two, I just stood and watched. Then, K. looked up and said, “My pill went down the drain and it was the last one. I didn’t take my medicine.” The look on his face was so concerned and so fretful, that I wanted to wrap him up in a great big hug. I tucked away my mommy instinct, and reassured him in my teacher tone that we would take it a step at a time.
I helped him organize his belongings and we started our day. Throughout the morning, he struggled more and more. When I met with him one-on-one, he was becoming frustrated. I told him I knew how hard he was trying and we would get through it. The types of errors he was making were unusual and atypical. I varied his tasks and made sure he had time to move. (It was staggering the number of times he sharpened his pencil.) As the morning drew to a close, he brought me the good copy of his writing assignment. He showed me his paper and said, “I need to re-do this. It doesn’t even look like my handwriting.” I reassured him we would have plenty of time tomorrow.
I shared that I knew how hard the morning was for him. I asked him to use a word to describe it and he said, “cloudy.”
I am grateful this happened. It was an invaluable opportunity for me to show a student I was on his side and I would always support his best effort. Furthermore, if gave me a chance to modify my “plan” for the day and go with the flow of the day. I’m proud that I was flexible. (By the way, it was only a half day as we had “Grandparents’ Day in the afternoon and we weren’t in the classroom.)
Today was a good day.
P.S. For the record, I support a parents’ right to choose/decide what is best for their child regarding ADHD medicine. Each student needs to be evaluated individually.