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Teaching with Asperger's

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by EmberandJasmine, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. EmberandJasmine

    EmberandJasmine New commenter

    Are there any other student teachers with Asperger's? I feel like because I'm quite mild, I've managed to get by in life and keep under the radar until I decided to become a teacher and now everything is so stark and put to the forefront. Because I am unable to properly read the 'mood' of a classroom, I never approach them in the right way. Also, because I tend to take things either very literally or in black and white, it's lead to some issues. So for example, my university tutor told us it is important to be friendly, so I came in very friendly with a smile. Then my mentor told me that because the class have quite big personalities they can be quite manipulative so I should be more strict. So today, I came in strict and he said now I came across too strict. So my problem here is that I have little to no skills of assessing how I should behave and have to go off what other people tell me, but then I take it too extreme because I struggle with grey areas. I also don't understand some of the students' humour and was told that this would cause a lot of struggles for me, although I feel like I get on with them well as my brother and cousins are all teenagers so I know what teenagers are like etc.

    To be honest, all of this has taken a knock on my confidence and it has lead to my mind going blank or me not explaining things in the most coherent way despite the fact that I am confident in my subject knowledge. I was wondering if there is anyone going through something similar and if so, do you have any tips? I also feel that because I am a female and therefore I can be quite adept at hiding a lot of my traits, it might mean that I am not being taken seriously. Is this a concern for anyone?
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Why don't you just be you, and ignore suggestions about being more friendly or more strict? You can't put on a front every day - just be yourself.

    it doesn't matter if you don't get the kids' jokes. They'll realise after a while, and not care about it - all teachers (and people, in general) have personality quirks, and this is yours.

    If you feel that you get on with them then I think you have nothing to worry about.
    alexanderosman likes this.
  3. Hixy

    Hixy New commenter

    I agree with blueskydreaming - you can't force a new you, and actually I think it's really important for pupils with aspergers themselves to see representation in their lives. In terms of the strict/friendly thing, I think it's just a matter of processes, it doesn't need to be an either or. If they are making it hard to teach or hard for their classmates to learn, there should be a process you can follow without going overboard.

    It doesn't matter if you don't get students humour, I think kids would probably prefer that to a teacher desperately trying to be down with the kids.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  4. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    My son has Aspergers and I have worked with a teacher who had Aspergers too. The areas of social/communication difficulties can cause a few issues I found. The teacher I worked with could be very abrupt and offhand, although not aware of it. If you would be comfortable with it, is it possible to let your students know that you have Aspergers? As the posters above have said, you could well be a really good role model for students who feel a bit ‘different’ themselves. You could make light of it, but just let them know, this could take the pressure off of you not being yourself as well. ‘It’s ok to be different,’ and a celebration of diversity could encourage a really good classroom culture. There are lots of things I’m sure you’re great at, and without being stereotypical, I imagine you feel it important that the children stick to the rules, and many Aspergers teachers have great strengths in maths, music or stem subjects.
    alexanderosman likes this.
  5. hawaiian soul

    hawaiian soul New commenter

    I know this is an old thread but only just found it. Hope all has worked out in your training year.

    I am almost certainly an undiagnosed female autistic and taught for 12 years in many different schools and also on supply. I used to do exactly the same as you adopting suggested approaches from other teachers. In the end the kids would complain I was relaxed one lesson, strict the next and they never knew where they stood with me. It also really dented my confidence and although I could plan excellent lessons I could rarely deliver them well.

    Definitely be yourself, you won't be able to copy neurotypical teachers. I believe that's the biggest mistake I made in my attempted career. I also found I was really easily manipulated by both staff and kids. I don't know if being open about your aspergers would be a help or a hindrance as many teachers can have very negative views of disability especially autism (the kids tend to be more open minded).

    I never did develop good behaviour management skills but I certainly found it much easier to teach autistic kids in special schools. The communication barrier is gone so that might be an option.

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