Yesterday I was a substitute teacher at an alternative middle school. Not surprisingly, 30-40% of the kids seemed to have ADHD. The rest would copy their bad behaviors.
One of the things that got a kid sent to the "Focus Room" was repetitive noise. This is not mentioned in a regular school. But you know that some kids with ADHD cannot stop tapping. Then the regular kids do it. So at any moment someone was making repetitive noise. There was a lot of talking and hitting. There were also at least 2 kids out of their seats at any time. This is apparently what they do even with their regular teacher. They would get 2 warnings for a specific behavior before being sent out and we averaged 2 kids getting sent to the Focus Room in any 45 minute period.
This is in a class of 10! They have an amazing ratio of 5 kids to 1 adult. There is a paraprofessional in the class. There is also a guidance counselor and a social worker for each group of 45 kids. I have subbed in a 1st grade class in the district that had 27 kids with 1 teacher and no other adult in the room. We are pouring resources into this school.
None of the kids seemed to be mentally deficient. They just all make lousy choices so they failed at regular school and got sent to the alternative school for a year to improve their academics. Even with constant communication with the parents and constant positive reinforcement and feedback, only about half of them did anything and even that was limited. The expectations were lower than in a regular 8th grade class and they still wouldn't meet them. It was very frustrating and basically unbelievable.
Half of the 45 minute lesson was to watch "Apollo 13" and they wouldn't even pay attention to a movie! The thing that I didn't understand was that all of them seemed to have fancy cell phones. I don't care how much money I have, if my child failed at school badly enough academically and in behavior to be sent there, he would have nothing and be earning back minor priveleges. One of my friends is doing that with her non-ADHD 8th grade son and it finally got through to him.
Something that makes me sad is that so many of these kids are on the track to dropping out of high school and winding up in crime. Most of them blame the teachers anytime they get in trouble. Cusswords were flying like crazy. Looking down the road, I can't see about 80% of them doing well in jobs because they don't care, are lazy and have bad attitudes. A few of them did understand that they were being given a second chance.
Thanks for reading. I had to share my crazy day with someone!
on Mar. 9, 2013 at 7:15 AM