Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Do you remember the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus? You know, the one where Richard Dreyfuss plays Glenn Holland, an aspiring composer, who realizes that his true calling is to be a high school music teacher? I first watched that film the summer of 1996, right after my freshman year at American University. That was the day I turned to my parents with tears in my eyes and exclaimed, “I’m going to be a teacher! I’m going to change lives!”
I’m not sure if it was Mr. Holland’s ability to relate to his students in a way nobody else could, or if it was the twist in the story that this musician had a deaf child at a time when having a child with special needs was such a burden. Regardless, I knew I wanted to be the next Mr. Holland (in an elementary school classroom, of course). I knew that I was not going to let anything get in my way!
Diagnosed with ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive Presentation) in high school, I was a slightly above average student at a school where “slightly above average” was not good enough. Though capable of much more, I was fine with the status-quo in school, up until I realized my calling and declared Elementary Education as my major. From then on, my passion for teaching and meeting the needs of the learners in my classroom became the force behind my drive to succeed. Earning a Master’s Degree in Education Administration so I could motivate other teachers to see that the sky was the limit when it came to education was my next accomplishment. I re-entered the classroom for two more years in 2016 after several years of mentoring and training teachers and working part time as an administrator.
Just last year, when one of my four children was diagnosed with ADHD, I realized that my training in education on this particular topic only took me so far. As my son began asking questions, doing his own research, and learning more about who he was, I realized that I had a new obstacle to face. This was no burden to me. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was a way for me to open back up my diagnosis from high school and take a look at what was going on inside of me, while simultaneously learning how to parent a child with ADHD.
I began my ADHD Life Coach training through the IACT Center in January. This experience has opened up an entirely new world for me, one that has reintroduced me to the amazingly creative, insightful and wonderfully complicated world of ADHD, a disorder that does not define who I am or who my children are, but, rather, provides us with our own unique lenses through which to see the world.