I have a habit of leaving my deskspace with destroyed paperclips, worn out hair ties and ripped up straw wrappers. These were the footprints of a tacile being such as myself. How in the world does anyone ever ‘sit still’ to focus? My goodness! The idea of it is already making me antsy. I constantly get asked if I’m anxious/nervous because my whole demeanor seemed to be a squirrel swimming in a pool of nuts. In actuality, I just needed the physicality and comfort of clicking a retractable pen to calm the active mind. And in response to their question, I would scoff and say “Not anxious, just antsy.”
Since when did being antsy translate into being impatient anyways? Tapping my foot didn’t mean that I was impatient, it meant that I needed a break.
While writing this post, I’ve gotten up to refill my already half filled cup of water, stared at a dot for 4 minutes not realizing it was actually a fly and doodled on a used napkin. I think I’d do anything to fill in time that’s meant to be productive even if it’s 100% menial. But hey, those steps to the sink allowed me to process what needed to be processed and I came back laser-focused.
My workspace is pretty simple. I can pretty much make any space a makeshift productive arena. All I need is a corner and you’ll see me sitting cross-legged on the floor with everything and anything sprawled out. Here’s the thing, I needed to first look like I was busy in order for my mind to get of message of Okay, it’s time to focus. I needed to hear the lights, smell the coffee and overhear conference calls. In order to focus, I needed to drown out the noise but also needed to visually see the noise. Does that make sense?
My most memorable students have been ones that matched my traits. The staring into space, the rapid fire speed-dating questions and the constant need to fidget with something. I heavily applauded those students for having the ability to sit still and hear me rant about algebra for 40 minutes. Those that struggled after 10? Well they are off walking to the water fountain.
In a 5 minute conversation, I’d be taken on an improptu adventure from finding out what x on a triangle to that triangle becoming a rocketship carrying a group of pigs looking to save the world. It was essentially trying to connect the dots without knowing which one to start from. If I could just harness all that hyperactivity and spontatenity my students shed off, the world wouldn’t be so grey. And frankly, I’d be okay with that.
It was the where did you -, huh and what are you talking about moments that brought back the awe and childlike wonderment back into my life. I think we all need that. But the brilliant part about teaching those students were those fidget toys. You know, the ones that were hot and popular for awhile that students even without ADHD owned? Yeah, I confiscated them just to keep for myself.