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StrangeTeacher
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26 Jan 2022, 5:26 pm

Hello,
It’s so long to explain but as i have been adviced in the past to go directly to the point, i shall try to summarize.
I’ve just discovered this site thanks to an article. I have been searching about teachers with asperger’s.
I have been diagnosted with asperger’s several years ago, about the same time i started as a teacher, about 10 years ago.
I have always been struggling on various problems i believe you might know or guess about. I have successfully overcome some but others are still drowning me. As noise and the high variety and number of stimuli : various noises, various clues about how a child is working, why… Being very aware of every change of attitude from one day to another. Not always having an explanation of why he or she changed…
For instance, lately with the covid running wild in our schools (France), i have been noticing patterns in changes in several children who were recently sick. Maybe it’s what is making my brain explode again. However, it always does this at one time or another. But with the years i have been better functionning and « explode » less (but near burn out every year for the last 6years at least. Before that I was part time and not much better though).

Anyhow, now that i can’t control my brain, again, now that it’s running wild again, going in every directions, i am searching for advice.

Currently, i am struggling with two main topics : noise and flexible education. This is a school project but also an interest i have. Besides with covid, a better way to cope with what is happening. However, i’m already overworked and this is an enormous amount of work.
Besides, i am « mapping » my 32 students again (4th grade). That is to say, i can see the differences, similarities, strengh, weaknesses from each. As well as what each should gain from another in the classroom. However, the number of students is to great. I can spend hours, lacking sleeping time (even though i need it so much !) having all those infos and more floading my brain. Never stopping. This is tiring and giving me headaches again (it’s not COVID). And i have a classroom much too small for me to use the space as an ally. Even though it’s probably the biggest i have had so far (40m2).
I have tried a LOT of space arrangements and only one is working for me so far. But it’s not very efficient, just the less worst i suppose. I have a board that can move and that is great.

I can see and feel my thoughts are so disorganized again but too much in my brain I suppose. How can i deal with it? Any advice please?

Thank you in advance.

Edit : i realize the title might not be correct. Any advice is welcome, not only from teachers with asperger’s. Thank you.



timf
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27 Jan 2022, 8:13 am

Welcome to our world.

In regard to your workload, you will have to learn to pace yourself. I found that in many organizations people may direct you to work harder and faster and do increasingly more and more. Since they do not have your best interest in mind, you may have to find ways to limit their ambitions. Most people that work in bureaucracies find ways to not only limit unrealistic requirements, but also realistic ones.

Teachers face a difficult situation. There is the information you are required to teach. However, (especially with younger children) there is a desire to do more. If one is both perceptive and compassionate, it is possible to be drawn into attempting to do more and more.

Some of Aspergers is learning how to define limits. For example, social interaction can be taxing to the point of exhaustion. For this reason many learn to limit exposure and provide time for relaxation.

I suspect that Aspergers is a result of a neurological variation produced by neurology that is faster, more sensitive, or more complex. The result is often an avalanche of information coming in and an effort to process it.

One can restrict the input, allow time to recover, or develop ways of processing that control the avalanche.

I can sympathize with your situation. However, I do not know how to make things better, I can only encourage you to make sure you take care of yourself.



kraftiekortie
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28 Jan 2022, 5:02 am

Nope. Can’t manage a classroom.



chaosmos
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28 Jan 2022, 6:08 am

I am a primary school teacher in Australia. I identify as being on the Autism Spectrum and am awaiting formal diagnosis.

I hear your struggles as a teacher.
Every day is BUSY and CHAOTIC and CHALLENGING.
I too experience sensory overload. I experience the demand of holding each student in mind. I struggle with the multifaceted nature of the job and wish so desperately for it to be easy. But it’s not. The past two years with children learning from home have been difficult and I have adaption fatigue. COVID is now free in the community, and whilst I’m not worried about getting sick, I am prone to overwhelm with the constant change and stress on us at school. We are understaffed and under resourced.

I have a few tips that have helped me.

1. Set yourself clear work times. Leave work when you’re supposed to. My time is 4:45pm. I don’t stay longer unless absolutely necessary.
2. Don’t work on the weekends.
3. Allow yourself breaks from meetings.
4. Wear noise reducing ear plugs in the classroom. I wear Flare Calmer. They are discreet and subtly reduce high and mid frequency noise.

Teaching is an endless and exhausting job. I never get to the end of my ‘to do’ list! We face extra challenges being neurodivergent. Look after yourself.



Last edited by chaosmos on 28 Jan 2022, 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

SharonB
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28 Jan 2022, 9:18 am

I am substitute teaching after having worked a quiet desk job for decades. It's challenging. The kids (generally) love my logic, compassion and understanding, but it's a lot. The system is set up for NTs (non-Autistic) of course: large bright overpopulated classrooms. One teacher I know has time with reduced lighting. Some schools have smaller classes, or dedicated teacher assistants. I prefer to sub for preschool for that reason (two teachers in our school district) or teach high school. I don't get the NT "don't care so much" mentality. I try to find moderation, especially within environments we don't control. If you can find a supportive workplace with more comfortable circumstances, great. If not, it's a matter of setting boundaries aside your "best" in this environment: there is only so much one can do.

I wouldn't be surprised if kids recovering from COVID are still "off" for a while. There are two children I know of who are long-haulers. Notice, adjust and/or move on. It would be so interesting to study all of this but then Life.



QuantumChemist
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29 Jan 2022, 12:35 am

It can be challenging to teach others while balancing our neurological issues. Being an university professor and a self-diagnosed Aspie, there are good days and bad days teaching. If you are good at masking, you can learn to hide the effects of bad days from others. It does come at a cost over time, as it is energy intensive to do. My hardest job issue involves dealing daily with my coworkers. Often they are much dumber than my most clueless students.

I use my reasoning skills to tap into the interests of my students as much as I can. In a way, I sell them an entertaining story wrapped up in a learning lesson every time I teach. Since my own learning method is highly visual, I try to incorporate that into my lectures. I realize that not everyone can learn that way, so I often check around to see if I need to change the approach to get a point across. Using real world examples is always a good way to hit home abstract ideas.

Remember, you will not be able to reach all of them equally no matter how hard you try. That lesson can be hard to take when you are doing your best to teach them. You can only do what you can do with them. Try not to beat yourself up if some struggle, it is part of the learning process. Good luck.



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29 Jan 2022, 8:25 pm

Welcome to wrong planet.

Use your time when not teaching and fulfilling other obligations to do whatever you need to do to destress. It could be focusing on your special interest or stimming or lying in a quiet room, whatever works for you. A lot of people disapprove of autistic ways of destressing but they are vital for our mental health.


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