Thrills of the First School Year

 

     Mihãiþã is my only child, the apple of my eyes. But I was very nervous when he first went to school.
During kindergarten, my little boy was „diagnosed” with ADHD. The teachers explained to me many times that he was having behavior problems, deficit of attention and that I should not expect an easy school life for him. My little son, just a little man, was labeled and all his failures had a perfect explanation for his teachers.
And, because troubles always come in pairs, Mihãiþã became isolated from his friends, or rather rejected by them because, from reasons unknown back then, he had enuresis. It is easier for you to understand now why I was nervous every time I was thinking about my child going to school. As my son became more and more impatient to become a student, I was becoming more and more concerned. There was a fi ght inside my soul. Should I or shouldn’t I tell the teacher about my boy’s problems? If I opened up to her, maybe I could make her an understanding friend. But what if she would have a problem having such a problematic child on the „elite” list? With great restraint, I approached the woman who was to be his teacher and I told her my child’s story. I was amazed by what she replied:
Misses Ionescu, you should know not all children are the same. We can find something different in each and every one of them. For me, they are all children. And children are the miracle of life. How can we not enjoy each of them? They are not good or bad, they are children.
I have never labeled them and I am not going to. Nobody is allowed to do that.
I am doing my best to bring out the best of each of them. Does your child have something good in him?
- How can he not have, teacher? He is beautiful, sensitive, he loves me, he sings nicely, tells poems,… and I went on telling lots of things about my child. But why? Because, through some carefully chosen words, she managed to make me see my child with different eyes. I found the much needed support in this wonderful teacher, and I learned that when needed I could also go see the school counselor.
 
     Mihãiþţã started first grade
     Romanian lesson. The little scholars had everything needed for writing on their desks.
- Today, children, we will write the most beautiful word in the entire world: „mama”.
- I know how to write it. At home, I wrote all by myself „ma” and „ma”. It was very easy, Maria boasted.
- Teacher, I don’t know how to write it, Ionut said.
- You don’t have to know. Today you will pay attention to me and at the end of the class you will all be happy. You will be able to write the word „mama”.
The teacher started explaining, demonstrating on the blackboard, then walked by each child. They were all doing their best to write nicely and as correctly as possible. When she came near Mihãiþã, he had just written „ma”. She helped him by explaining he has to write „ma” one more the time and then she moved on. She came back to him a few more times. She did not forget to congratulate him when he managed to write correctly „mama”, but she told him he needs to write this word on two whole lines.
- Mihãiþã, why aren’t you writing? I have already finished three lines. Why do you always play when the teacher leaves your side? asked the deskmate.
- Why should I write by myself? You see the teacher is helping me.
- Yes, but do you like the fact that she is telling you this over and over again? All we hear in class is: „Mihãiþã!”, „Mihãiþã!” The teacher overheard their conversation. She stopped going to Mihãiþã’s desk, but she remained close by, saying:
- All children who write nicely and correctly two lines of the word „mama” will receive at the end of the lesson a red dot, which they can take home to their mother. Those who write even more, will also get a „smiley face” on their notebooks.
      Once again, she passed by Mihãiþã, making sure he wrote the second word correctly, the she told him to work by himself, because other children also need her help. He did not take into account the teachers’ instructions. He played with his pencil case, turned to his colleague, even stood up. Finally, seeing the teacher would not come back, he started writing. But, what a shame, the bell rang! The teacher collected the notebooks. When she reached him, he still had one more word to write, it was the only thing separating him from the red dot he wished to take home to his mother.
- Teacher, may I finish during the break? It will not take long. Please!
- OK, Mihai. But next time try using your time better. Don’t wait for my help all the time. Mihãiþã managed to finish the two lines and happily gave his notebook to the teacher.
- I finished! Can I have my dot?
- Sure you can. You proved to me that you can finish a task.
- I wrote ten lines! I also got a smiley face! the deskmate told Mihãiþã.
Mihãiþã was holding the dot in his hands, all happy. The teacher came near him and, caressing his head, said:
- You deserve this dot. You made a great effort to finish those two lines. You sacrificed a few minutes of your break. And you, Ionut, stop being so mean!
Ionut joined a group of children who has also received a smiley face and started complaining:
- We wrote almost an entire page and the teacher didn’t caress us. But she caressed him for having written just 2 lines.
- My dear children, I am really happy for you, and the smiley faces on your notebooks are proof of that. But I am also happy for Mihãiþã. Maybe one day you will understand this…
 
     Other ways to help Mihãiþţã
     One day, Mihãiþã’s mother came to school.
She used to come quite often, but on that day she wanted to discuss a delicate matter related with the fact that Mihãiþã was unable to control himself, wetting his pants. This was happening quite often and his classmates started avoiding him.
- Yes, I have noticed this. Until now, things did not get out of control, but you have to understand they are just children. We cannot judge them too harshly, but I will find a way…
- Please try to intervene. I admit it is not pleasant being around him, especially in summer. You should know this problem has always concerned me. I hope it would be treated but not long ago I learned the „enuresis” is caused by stress and emotions. This only happens during the day.
- I assure you I will do my best for Mihãiþã not to be marginalized because of a problem that he cannot control. Rest assured!
- Thank you, teacher! And she left the classroom, after kissing her son. Behave yourself, Mihãiþã!
The teacher spent a long time talking with her pupils. She explained to them so that they can understand, without hurting him or humiliating him, as this could only make things worse for Mihãiþã. Some did change their behavior, but others didn’t.
One day, Voichita threw his coat on the ground because he had hanged it near hers. Then, acting upset, the teacher decided to teach her a lesson.
- Starting today, you are not allowed to play with Voichita anymore. And one more thing: do not let her hand her coat near yours.
She burst into tears:
- Why are you crying?
- I don’t like this, I don’t want to…
- But do you think Mihãiþã likes this? This happened to you once. Him, it happens to him every day.
- Please forgive me. I never thought my behavior could cause Mihãiþã so much pain. I will also ask him to forgive me.
- I forgive you. I hope he will do the same. But I am glad I taught you a lesson.
- Teacher, I think you taught us all a lesson.
 
     The end of the fi rst school year 
    The mother’s thrills from the beginning of the school year slowly faded. Here is Mihãiþã graduating fi rst grade. He battled with the alphabet but in the end he won: he knows how to read and write. Ah! He doesn’t know how to calculate very well? No problem. During second grade, he will try harder. During the „Alphabet Celebration”, he told his poem and sang songs beautifully. There was joy on everybody’s faces. In the back of the classroom, a mother was fi nding it hard to control her feelings. A tear was rolling down her cheek.
- Thank you, teacher, for everything you have done for our children!
 
     Exercise
Why do you think Mihãiþã’s mother was the one thanking the teacher at the end of the celebration? What do you think she said?
 
     Did you know that…
People with ADHD often have more energy than others. It may be useful for them if they direct this energy into recreation activities. These children have difficulty to maintain attention to tasks or play activities. They often seem as if the thought be elsewhere, that would not listen or would not hear what they are told. The often do not follow exactly the instructions. People with ADHD may appear to be in constant motion; can talk excessively; they have difficulty remaining seated; they may frequently stand up or move in their chairs; rise from the table while eating, watching TV, and while doing their homework; they may make noise during quiet activities.

 

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