Am I overreacting to the teachers?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Am I overreacting to the teachers?
Wed, 09-09-2009 - 12:50pm

Just want to get some thoughts from BTDT parents. I'm having some mixed feelings about our son's teachers so far (he has two; they job share). While they're good about staying in touch about what's going on and giving me feedback, I'm not sure they entirely "get" the ADHD. Our son has had a horrendous start to first grade (two major incidents of aggression with kids that got him sent to the principal's office, plus not paying attention and defying teachers in class), so I'm trying to cut them a little slack.

When I took our son to the doctor last week about changing his medication, he was out during lunch (his problem time for acting up). When I talked to the teacher at the end of the day, she said, "It was SO nice not having him here today for lunch." I get that he's a challenge, but that stung.

So, we increased his Concerta and things seemed much better at home over the holiday weekend. There was a substitute there at pick-up yesterday, so I e-mailed about our son's day and the teacher e-mailed back about how they use these strategies for helping kids focus in class:

we have the parent volunteer check in with the student extra times during centers

-we ask the student to directly turn in their center slip to the teacher, which then gets sent home to the parents (this slip indicates which centers students finished that day). This often motivates students because they know they are being held accountable.

-we send work not completed during class home for the students to complete. This motivates some students to get more done during class time.

-if needed, we start a behavior chart, which communicates to the parents how each day was. If student stays on green all week, parents are encouraged to "reward" the child at home.

I like the first strategy of monitoring him during assignments, but I'm not sure the others will really make any difference if he's struggling with focus. I can see those strategies actually being deflating for our son when they don't work out. It's not like it's a motivation thing with him; he truly can't focus. We'll obviously talk to his doctor about the medication again, if needed, but still ...

What do you think? I'm trying not to be so negative, so I'm hoping someone will say the teachers are on the right track.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Wed, 09-09-2009 - 1:35pm


I dont know weather I can help but I know what you are going through but not the extream but I know the frustration.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 09-09-2009 - 2:39pm

I'm sure not in love with any teacher who tells you it was nice not to have your son present at lunch.

What's your school offering for behavior modifications? Any kind of lunch-buddy group, teaching how to play games & social strategies, that kind of thing? Look into it.

Is your kid on a 504 or IEP? If not, look into it--THAT level, you probably want some stuff written down in legalese, potentially. If nothing else, it tends to cause teachers to think things through some.

ADHD--the hardest thing can be telling when the kid CAN focus, but isn't, vs. the kid CAN'T focus. And yeah, I'd say teachers get confused...but, hey, the teacher who didn't "believe" in medicating for ADHD did actually work out great for my kid, so anything can happen.

I'm a bit bothered--the PARENT VOLUNTEER checks in? What about the teacher? Or are you in a school system with lots & lots of volunteers? Is this parent volunteer trained in how to refocus an ADHD kid in a non-obvious way? There are lots of strategies there, but the poke-the-kid & tell 'em to keep working isn't the best (though, perhaps, the most obvious...).

Don't know, I'd keep an eye on it. Yes, having the homework sent home can be motivating (and all the rest!), but it can--as you say--also be demotivating. *sigh* My kid was so pleased to be able to focus, I didn't need more motivations & his teachers were able to deal with the remaining bits, he always required more help during writing, for instance. Meds help, they are, alas, not a cure-all.

You've only been in school for a bit & it seems to be going OK now, after a horrible start? Might give it some time...

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Wed, 09-09-2009 - 2:45pm
I would ask for a meeting with the teacher, and Principal. That usually motivates them to "get" ADHD. I would also put the 504/IEP requests in place, if you haven't already.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Thu, 09-10-2009 - 2:23pm

I'm feeling better about things after talking more with the teachers. The increased dosage of Concerta seems to be working now (knock on wood), which helps tremendously. He had zero problems yesterday.

Our school relies heavily on parent volunteers because the budget for teacher's aides was axed. There is one teacher for 20 students, so parents come in to class to help out. I am fine with a parent helping our son because I understand the teacher simply can't do it all.

Our son didn't qualify for an IEP because he does great academically, but I have the 504 plan on the agenda if it reaches that point. I have many friends who are teachers and hate 504 plans, so I'm trying not to rush out for one at the beginning of the year unless it's necessary (and I will do what it takes to help our son ... I'm just not convinced he needs one just yet).

We'll see how it goes ... Thanks so much for all of the support and feedback! I truly appreciate it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2003
Thu, 09-10-2009 - 8:10pm

Just wondering why your teacher friends hate 504 plans? Even if medication proves helpful, many children with ADHD still need accommodations that are available through a 504 plan. Examples include extended time on tests and preferential seating.

I also find the teacher's comment about how nice her day was without your son completely unprofessional. Hope the Concerta continues to help. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Thu, 09-10-2009 - 10:46pm

They're overworked already and it can be tough to stay on top of all of the different 504 plans and IEPs (there often isn't just one child that has one). A friend who taught jr. high and now does high school had particular issues with them because she deals with 100s of students in the course of her day.

I'm still unsettled by the comment about how nice it was that our son wasn't there at lunch. But it's just one comment at this point and I'm just going to assume she was having a bad day to begin with and the words didn't come out quite right. Any more comments like that, then I will take it all a whole lot more seriously because there will be a pattern.