“I don’t know” and “I need help” are two statements that I have uttered this week. I have said both of these statements while discussing two students that I am struggling to teach. After the conversations, I felt really down and defeated that I am at a complete and total loss on how to help these students and manage their behaviour. My usual management strategies are just not working and I have tried at least a half dozen new strategies with no success. I have analyzed every word, interaction and problem that has happened but cannot figure out the puzzle of these students.

After a couple of weeks of really beating myself up over not having all the answers, I realized this morning that I am not supposed to have all the answers. It is unreasonable to expect that I am an expert in ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities and communication disabilities which both of these students are identified as having. In addition, I also do not have a degree in child phycology or training in dealing with trauma. I want to help these students more than anything in the world, as I do with all of my students, but some of these students needs are greater than my training. In short, I needed to remind myself today that it is okay to ask for help and that my learning is an ongoing process!

So now that I have picked myself up from my downtrodden state, I have made a plan to be proactive in trying to change the patterns of learning in my classroom with these two students.

Plan #1

Re-read their IEPs.

My first task will be to re-read the IEPs for both of these students with a focus on their strengths. I know what the challenges are for these students. I have been focused on nothing but their challenges for the past month. It is time now to try and capitalize on their strengths.

Plan #2

Meet again with the classroom teachers

My plan is to go through my next lesson with their classroom teachers and let them see if they can add any insight into shaping an environment that will promote success for these students. Both classroom teachers have had moderate success with their students so I want to build upon the things that are working for them.

Plan #3

Get suggestions of resources and articles to read

My behaviour specialist has told me that the student I am struggling with has the most severe case of ADHD she has ever seen in 30 years of doing her job. This tells me that I need to learn more about ADHD by doing some further research. I will be asking my special education team and behaviour specialist for recommendations on resources and articles to read.

Hopefully, my plan of improvement will start the ball rolling in the right direction for these students. However, if the first three ideas that I try do not yield positive results, the most important part of the plan is…


Do not beat myself up if things don’t go perfectly!!!

I admit that this is SO hard for me. If I have a problem with one of my classes or students, I will spend so much time thinking about how to solve the problem. I am trying hard to accept that challenges exist that I might not have answer to right away and that it is okay for me to be in a constant state of professional learning and growth.


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