Teachers who hyperfocus

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bdomogala, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. bdomogala

    bdomogala New Member

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    Sep 7, 2017

    I am a graduate student seeking to become a high school or middle school math teacher. Regardless of the level of the students I'm working with, I find myself hyper-focusing on one student as I work with that student. This leads me to lose awareness of the rest of what's happening in the other students in the class.

    For example, I will be helping one student to graph a line and be completely oblivious to anything else that is happening at that moment. A student across the room could throw an eraser across the room and I wouldn't notice it at all. This also applies to auditory input, as students would have off-topic conversations and I wouldn't hear them at all.

    I've tried looking up every few seconds, but then I focus on looking up instead of actually helping the student I'm working with.

    I have ADHD but I am trying to avoid becoming medicated if there is a way to help change this hyper-focus without it. What else can I try to alter my awareness focus to become a better teacher?
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Sep 7, 2017

    I do this to some extent as well (never diagnosed ADHD but with anxiety). I have gotten better over the years. You have to train yourself to "scan" and to try to make eye contact with everyone in the room. You also have to learn to stop and listen in on side conversations. Most importantly, you have to generally train yourself to "never turn your back on the ocean" (ie, never face away from the group). It takes training, but you can improve!
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 7, 2017

    I was originally like this, I think it's kinda natural at first. The way I fixed this issue, is that when I was working with one student, I positioned myself so that I was still facing the majority of the room. I wouldn't bend down to be close to that student, it's not necessary, I was barely bending a little, so this way I could still easily scan the room. If something was going on, I could see it from my peripherals. I'm sure I missed some things, but I was more aware of what was going on.
    I also never spent too much time with a kid, it was a minute at the most.
    Because I've always worked in alternative ed (in juvenile hall for a couple of years) I learned that if a kid says "I have a question about this, can you come here so I can show you", it often meant he wanted me to get distracted, block my vision so others could do something (steal, fight, tag, etc).
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 7, 2017

    I have the opposite problem... I have a hard time focusing on the one student in front of me if I see misbehavior elsewhere.

    I agree that you should
    . Try to always be facing the rest of the class.

    Also, are you going to the students or having them come to you for help? Changing that up might help. I do both, depending on the class and activity. Sometimes going to the student, rather than having them come to you, helps make sure you're circulating the room and maintaining close awareness of what's going on.
     
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  6. bdomogala

    bdomogala New Member

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    Sep 8, 2017


    I always go to the student, I don't have a desk in my classroom as I'm just an intern/student teacher right now. I found the advice from everyone very enlightening and I'll see how it goes once I get the opportunity to try it. Thank you!
     
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  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 8, 2017

    That's why it's sometimes good to have them come to you, too. You can sit where you can see everyone still, and you know right away if someone is out of their seat.

    Also, for a student who needs extended help, I often put them with a partner. That way I'm not talking with one student for too long, and they benefit from working together.
     
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