As I hope you've been able to read, I have had a difficult time with being able to function 'normally' in this world as an adult with Asperger's Syndrome. Some of the hardest things I have had to work through are the way I do things. Earlier I have discussed my thinking pattern, my dealing with other people and so on, but here I want to address the simple and complex way I do things like from driving a car to teaching a class; I don't always do it the same way most other people might perform the task. Everyone has an opinion on the best way to do certain tasks and in all fairness, the logic can be very sound, but when you have Asperger's, logic has a way of getting twisted.
One of my wife's biggest pet peeves is how I generally drive a car. Technically you would use one foot to drive (unless you drive a stick shift). I however drive with two feet. Can I drive with one foot? Yes, I can easily drive with one foot, but there are times when I'm really paying attention and I find myself using two feet. I have been very fortunate not to have been involved in a car accident and I hope I never will, but many times it's the two foot method. Now if many of you are like me and drive with two feet it doesn't suddenly mean you had autism, this is just one example of how I do things a little different.
Lately, I was called out because my method of teaching wasn't what most principals expect to find in a classroom. If you've read my early blogs I make some mention of having difficulties with administrators because of my unusual method of education. Now remember, I had been teaching Speech and Drama since 1995 so when I had to make the change in 2010 to Social Studies, my methods had to change a little. I started out in middle school, but the stress was getting too great so I had an ADA accommodation put in at work that stated I was to only work with high school students. Last year was the first year I taught American Government. At first I was a little apprehensive about the subject, but I dove in feet first in the subject. The problem was the American Government is an EOC (End Of Course) Exam class so eyes were on me when the students took the test. I'm fighting harder for the students to do better this year. I will admit that I teach in an urban school district, but to me that doesn't matter.
When I conduct myself in my class, my big issue is "classroom control". The funny part is that I really do have control of the class. To me the question becomes where the line between management and where is the open education. If I concentrated all my efforts to managing the class the information gets put aside because if something were to happen in my class, I would have to address it immediately, sacrificing time from the student's education. I feel like I do the students a disservice if I use that method (I have tried that in the past and I ended up wearing myself out. High stress!!!).
I'm still trying to figure out the best method of addressing the issue of the best management and not sacrificing the learning process; then you have to remember that not every class is exactly the same. Simply put, I have to chill out and go with it because if I don't then I might be sitting in a mental hospital. The key is to have a positive relationship with the students. If you try to make yourself as the enemy then you probably won't get much cooperation from them. Respect has to be earned both ways.
I do have other quirky methods to things that I do, but I do realize that lots of people have lots of odd things they may do, but I just wanted to share how it can be with a person who has Asperger's Syndrome.
Song of Inspiration [Check it out on iTunes or Android!]:
Song: "Mess Of Me"
Album: Hello Hurricane
Here's the music video to Switchfoot's "Mess Of Me."
Here are some comic strips that really hit at the heart of teaching. (You'd be surprised at how close to the truth these really are!!!)