The Smartest Kid in 4th Grade

Our school year has finally come to an end.  It was a very long year in some respects and a short year in others.  As I often say, “Long days and short years,”  which seems to sum up a lot of things.

My son Andrew had a wonderful year in spite of a few rough patches.  While he is incredibly bright, his ADHD poses a number of problems for him and his school experience (and that of the others in his class, not to mention his teacher.)

We were tremendously blessed this year by Andrew’s teacher.  We couldn’t have chosen a better teacher for him if we had chosen her ourselves.   When students are in elementary school, it is imperative that the fit between teacher and student is a good one.  Students spend the majority of their day with one teacher and if it isn’t a good fit, then it is often not a good year.

Fortunate for us, that was not the case at all.  Mrs. B was the perfect person for Andrew as she was the right combination of challenging, encouraging, supportive, educating, creative and firm.  While she understood Andrew’s issues, she did not allow him to use them as an excuse for not doing his best but also was understanding on the days when he had been up at 2:30 am because he couldn’t sleep or the times when his medication was adjusted or changed completely.

Andrew made the high honor roll the first three quarters of the year!  He was very excited, to say the least.  His goal this year, as he said, was “to be the smartest kid in 4th grade.”

He was certainly off to a great start.  But as the fourth quarter wore on, Andrew’s schoolwork was coming home with less than excellent grades.  As much as we encouraged him to do his best, had him redo unacceptable assignments and kept him on task to get it all done, his high honor roll status began slipping.

By the last day of school when he received his report card, he had undoubtedly not made the high honor roll.  He did earn a spot on the honor roll with a stable B+ average.  Andrew was disappointed in himself—for a few minutes, at least.  He was able to identify where he needs to improve and how he can do things better next year.

Whether or not he’ll do those things remains to be seen.  As you know, children with ADHD consider the future to be the next four minutes.  So there’s no telling what will happen in 5th grade.  Only time will tell.  But if you ask Andrew, he’ll tell you that he wants to be “the smartest kid in 5th grade.”