Can We Reimagine Our Schools?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like we’re still unraveling the true impact of the pandemic. One of the blessings, I feel, is how that time striped away all the nonsense and helped our family focus on what’s really important. But there’s no doubt it put our struggles under the microscope too. And we aren’t alone. 

Our schools have grappled with how to support children in a chaotic time in our history. It’s no secret, teachers are leaving the profession in droves. So we wanted to know what’s the best way to partner with classroom leaders in this tenuous time?

Child and Family Psychologist, Dr. Emily King, told us “The act of learning is a very vulnerable experience. You are shown something you have never seen before and you are asked to practice it … and to fail. And to try again.”

Most of Dr. King’s work focuses on helping support children with neurodiverse learning needs. We interviewed her again on this week’s podcast. She emphasized, with all the teacher shortages, the teachers that are now in the classroom REALLY want to be there. They are tired, but they have dedicated their lives to helping every child. 

So how can we help the teachers out there who have decided to stay in education? 

Getting Through School With ADHD

One way we can help is by coming alongside teachers to support our childrens’ learning. Dr. King wisely reminded us that a teacher can only nurture their classrooms as much as they are receiving nurturing and support at home. This is especially important for a teacher with a classroom full of students who all learn in different ways. 

The virtual school experience highlighted holes in the education system for our students. Some students loved the experience, but for many it was hard for them to even remember to turn their computers on. Now that we are more aware of learning differences than ever before, Dr. King explains to us that there is a whole menu of learning strategies that can help a child learn. It’s important to communicate with teachers to find the particular strategy that works for your child. 

One of Penn’s strategies for getting through school with ADHD was to always sit on the very front row (not the second row and definitely not the back row). He found that sitting on the front row helped him focus and keep his attention on the teacher. This worked great for Penn, but may not work at all for another student. Working together with the teacher to find the right strategy for your child is a great way to support both your child and the teacher. 

The Neurodiverse Classroom

Now that there is much more awareness and research about neurodivergent learning, there are ways the education system can be improved to meet the needs of all learning styles. Dr. King is working to improve this area of need through her course for teachers called The Neurodiverse Classroom, an online course to help teachers learn how to connect with all of their students to create a safe learning environment and facilitate strong student-teacher learning relationships. 

We invite you to listen in to our whole conversation with Dr. King as we discuss more about supporting kids and teachers, managing neurodivergent learning, and our soapbox about standardized testing. Join us at any of the links below: