Thursday, November 15, 2007

Work Never Ends

Many of my students have ADHD. I have worked enough with the diagnosed students to recognize the symptoms of the undiagnosed ones just as readily. What does that look like during a tutoring session? I will show you:

I worked with Bob (name completely changed) last night on his English paper. Bob has diagnosed ADHD. He doesn't medicate or use any other sorts of intervention techniques. He came in and paced around the cubicle for ten minutes whining about life and using avoidance tactics to not write the paper. He finally sat down to write, asking me a question before and during every sentence. He took frequent bathroom breaks, bought a smoothie and a burger, and kept checking his Facebook. After two hours, he had a little over a page written, threw down his pencil and said, "man, I don't know. I hate this shit." He started text messaging for a long time until I could convince him to keep working a bit longer. The cycle repeated.

So then I came home to wrangle Corey into thank-you-note mode. We, after six months, are starting to field angry phone calls questioning our gratitude. It had to be done. Corey paced around the living room for a long time while I started writing. "What should I say?" he asked. Repeatedly. He asked if, instead, he could just address the envelopes. He fidgeted with the DVD player. He finally sat down to write, and asked me questions before and during every sentence. "Did I spell your grandma's name right?" "Is this ending too harsh?" "Do I thank them for coming to the wedding? It's ok to say I want to catch up at Thanksgiving? Can I talk about the house in here?" He took frequent breaks to get snacks or drinks, helped make bruschetta, and got a PBR. He became so distracted by the movie that we had to turn it off. After two hours, he got a handful of cards written but forgot to lick the envelopes. I realized that I was having deja vu.

We have talked often about Corey's certainty that he has ADHD. Such is his disorganization that he says I have to make the doctor's appointment for him to talk about it or he'll keep forgetting. Instead, I spent another shift tutoring my husband in thank-you-note etiquette and now I'm about to leave for work to tutor football players again. How does this happen?

2 comments:

Em said...

I think I have it too.

Jane said...

The most difficult years I had teaching might have been the six when I taught middle school all day, then went home to the same age group all evening and weekends.