A Check-up w/ Coach David Roher Special Ed Teacher Ironman Trainer
David is not only my best friend, he is my running partner, he’s my triathlon coach and he was the one who got busted with me when we both got a summons for exercising in Central Park early in the morning before it opened. He’s been with me through thick and thin and I’m glad he was around to join us. Today we’re learning how things have been going for him during these weird days, his advice and perspective as a teacher, a husband, father, and an Iron Man coach who is also- you guessed it- ADHD. Enjoy!
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & David discuss:
:58- Intro and welcome David Roher!
2:00- How’s it going right now from your perspective as a Special Education teacher?
3:30- How are the kids handling it?
4:22- Why do you think elementary schoolers are having such a tough time of it?
5:04- Does T-Pain have all the answers? No, just a wild-timed digital audio glitch!
5:32- On a child’s mental process & adaptation during a pandemic
6:28- How are you holding up?
7:40- On acknowledging things out loud
8:00- Have there been any particularly difficult elements of all of this for you?
8:32- We’ve adapted many times before- we can do this!
9:00- What percentage of your survival would you credit to exercise?
10:17- Do you think we all get a “pass for effort” this year so far?
12:12- David’s final thoughts for us.
12:58- Thank you David for joining us today! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.
STAY HEALTHY – STAY SAFE – PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!
13:20- Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
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We have a new sister video cast called 20MinutesInLockdown! A video podcast devoted to learning fascinating lessons from interesting humans all around the world, all in 20 minutes or less! 20 Minutes in Lockdown was born in early April of 2020, when we were in fact, in lockdown, and couldn’t do much of anything. Realizing that more than ever, people could benefit from learning from people outside of their comfort zone – people with interesting stories to tell, people with good advice, people with useful ideas that could help improve lives, we started hosting short Facebook video interviews, and we grew from there. (Plus, you can actually see my hair colors change before your very eyes!) Check it out: www.20MinutesInLockdown.com
Hey guys, Peter, Shankman welcome to the episode of faster than normal. You know, during the summer it gets tough to find guests.
I don’t know where they all go. I guess they go outside of the country. They leave, they, they, they snuggle up, they avoid COVID, whatever it is, but, but fortunately. You know, at the end of the day, I still have people that matter. And one of those people is my very good best friend, David Roher. I have known David now more than, Oh my God, it’s going to be 10 years in October.
And we met. On the run course of my first iron man, iron man in 2010, because we were both dying and both exhausted, but we still have both managed to finish the iron man. And David, we knew right away, we were massively ADHD. We knew right away. We were basically brothers from another mother, David. Good to have you back.
My friend. Good to be here. Peter David, you interviewed me God a while back. I think it was my hundredth episode. Something like that. Right. You’re 100th was your parents, but I interviewed you a couple of years before that. And it was definitely a summer. It was the first time I met Ruth Carter.
Yep. So yeah, long time it’s been a while, but David, David is my not only my, my best friend is my running partner. He’s my triathlon coach. Um, we have done, we have, we have, David was the one who got busted with me when we got, when we got summons for exercising and central park before it opened, uh, he’s been with me through thick and thin, and that seemed to have be back, man.
So. Tell me, you’re a teacher and you guys went onto homes. You, you went to homeschooling not only for your kids, but for your, as a teacher back in March. That’s correct. March 13th is when we were told today’s the last day. You’re not coming in on Monday, bring your iPads with you. And this is what we’re going to do.
We’re going live now from home. But what happened in White Plains is they said, we’re going to use a website.
We all emailed our students and I would call homes and talk to parents and talk to students. But since the middle of March, I’ve not really seen my students. And that’s a really difficult place to be when you’re a teacher and you teach special education and being able to be one on one with them is a big piece of it.
No question about it. So how, how have you been handling that, you know, with the premise that, that, um, especially for you, it’s kind of students you work with and what you, you know, the way you teach you’re really hands on. Right? So that’s, has that been tough? It’s been very difficult, you know, when you teach special ed and you are a special ed student, as you alluded to, I understand the kids and we live in a world where you don’t physically touch students, but you connect to them by making eye contact by understanding the nuances of physical movements.
And when you don’t have that, it’s really hard to read them. It’s like an email. Where I can’t tell the intent of an email, let me stick an emoji. And there’s at least they know I’m there. I’ll be trying to communicate a positive five, right? No question about it. What about, um, and how did the kids handle it?
Cause I know that, you know, all I know is, is, is, is from my, my, uh, my daughter that’s been, she’s been having a tough time. How did the kids been handling? So I teach high school. So my high school students, I had. From September til March to make that connection with them. And so they did phenomenally well, I was so proud of them.
You know, they got the work in, they reached out to me. If I hadn’t heard from anybody, I reached out to them. We made sure that they had access to the website. We made sure that we were able to provide the supports for them. The teenagers adapted very well to this model. But these are high schoolers. Now I can tell you, because I’m a parent, I have a ninth grader and a parent of a second grader.
I think the elementary school kids had a much more difficult time with this. Yeah. Talk about why you think that is and how have your kids been helping? Well, you know, my son is a year older than your daughter and my son is on the spectrum. So he has, in addition to his add, he has other issues. Yes. What we call high functioning and you know what I mean?
He’s just my kid, right. There are certain characteristics when you have students like that. And my wife has been home because she was asked by her job workshop down in the office. Nobody come in, she sat one on one with them. So he flourished on the environment, but he flourished because he had an adult sitting with them, refocusing him and being able to help him.
I think that’s the real key here. When you’re dealing with elementary school children. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of that. You know, the, the, the concept of, if the kids don’t know what’s going on, all of a sudden they know they’re not with their friends. Right. And you try to explain to them what the buyers is, but, you know, it’s tough.
They, they thrive on, uh, they thrive on connection. They thrive, you know, their job as, as, as, as six year old seven year olds, eight year olds is to make friends. It’s really funny to watch that first, second, third grade brain adapt to this. On the one hand they go, okay, it’s COVID I have to wear a mask. I don’t wanna get the virus.
I got to stay home. But on the other hand, they’re now trying to process in their brain. How do I take the way I operate? And modify that. Right. And some from some kids from a psychological perspective, you know, I always say when you suppress something, it’s like pushing a water balloon down under water, something’s going to pop up.
So we see kids find this amazing adaptive skill, but for some kids, it’s just, I’m getting bored and burned out. I’m getting fatigued, little kids fatigue faster on zoom. I believe. Well, I think it’s also the premise that the kids have this thing about. Um, you know, they, they don’t sit still cause they’re kids, right?
So you, you show ’em, you show the premise of like, okay, and now we’re gonna discuss this. And all of a sudden, you know, one of the kids is holding up their cat. Right. It just, it’s harder when, when they’re not in class and they don’t have that same structure with the other kids. How are you holding?
Because I know that from, from my person, from my standpoint of ADHD is the brutal, you know, being able to try to, um, just be human, right. You know, and try to do the things I normally do has been tough for me. What about you? It’s not been that difficult, to be honest. I mean, for me, my world revolves around the following things.
I’m an Orthodox Jews. So I get up the morning and I say, my prayers, well, I’ve never had a problem praying at home instead of going to services. Um, teaching, I get up in the morning and I look at the work hand in hand by my students. I programmed the next set of lessons for those students. Not difficult.
I’m an athlete. Well, I can’t swim, but I can still bike and I can still run. And I desperately miss my swimming cause that’s my love my source. So there was a certain adoptation to that. And then there was the, we have to go to the store. At some point we can’t hide in the house and I know people who literally had their food delivered to them and I respect that, but we went to the store, we shaped steps, we stayed six feet.
We wear a mask, we wear gloves, you know, human beings are incredibly adaptable. And so for me, it was just. All right. I have to mentally make a note. Cause I have add, this is the change I have to do. And if I say it out loud and I say to my wife and she echoes it back at me now, many modal levels, this is a teaching thing.
People have conversations in their head. You never live in your head. You have often said, don’t run space in your head. I say, don’t live in your head. If you say it out loud, it becomes so much easier to become an adaptable you where you own it. And then you can adjust to the change. Has there been any parts of this that has been harder than others?
There were a couple of times where I’ve gotten out of the car and go, Oh, I’ve got to go get my mask and he’d go to the store.
just really swimming was my anchor to my sanity every Monday morning was I swim and it’s my moment to vege and to let my mind wander because when I’m swimming, I don’t have to think breathing becomes autonomous. And I miss that and it became a, what am I going to do? Just replace this. So I don’t feel.
Something is lacking. You know, we’ve been through times in our lives here where our lives have been disrupted. This is not the first time we went through hurricane say, Andy, for hurricane Sandy. We went with the blackout of August. I think it was three. Yeah. We went through nine 11, you know, so we’re adults who have learned to adjust to these things.
If we are on a. With ourselves. And we say, this is a change. Let me figure out how I’m going to approach it. I mean, maybe it’s a teacher mindset where we plan things and we go, wow. Lessons go sideways. What is your B plan? If the lesson doesn’t work or the technology goes down at what, what percentage of your surviving do you think, uh, exercises played a role.
50% of it. And the other 50% is talking to my wife. My wife, Janet is an incredible person who. When we started dating, I was in a bad mood and I said, tonight, I’m going to bed. And she goes, no, you’re staying right here. And you’re talking to me. Yeah, that was the moment I realized I’m marrying this woman.
So having that partner, having she does for me, what you do for me, what I do for you, you know, that echo chamber that will call you on your bullshit. Right. And that’s been half of it. And we do that for each other. You do that for me. And such and such. Yeah. But the exercises you’re alluding to is definitely a big, big component.
I’m going to get stir crazy. If I sit too long, ah, I got the bike set up in the garage. I’m going to go, I’m going to watch some Netflix episodes and you know, I’m going to binge it all pedal and I’ll burn off the energy and I’ll, it’ll kick up the endorphins and yeah, I’ll get the brain, make it its own serotonin and.
And I’m focused. I know that we’ve always thought about trying to improve every race let’s get faster. Let’s get faster. Do you think that we all get a pass this year? That as long as we just get out and do something it’s okay. Are you asking your friend or your coach? Cause we get two answers. I’m asking you, I’m asking as a, as one human being to another.
Hmm. I think this has been an incredible opportunity for us. You know, there are people like losing their shit. Dude, my raise seasons. Oh my God. I’m looking at this. Wow. We just took a three month build up to Ironman training and turn it into another 12 months. How much stronger can we get? How much more mental break can we get between the workouts?
I always build in those gaps because life happens. How much more time. Can we remind our family, Hey, thank you for supporting me in this. And it doesn’t have to be triathletes cause you know the joke about triathletes. I didn’t know when one walks into a bar. Yeah, exactly. It can be anything you’re passionate about this.
Get this moment gives us an opportunity to reflect step back and not be rushing to a place because so many people were furloughed or working from home that, you know what we get to remember why we got it. Into a relationship with the people we’re living with. Yep. Well, I’ll leave it at that. You know, David’s, it’s funny, your, your premise of, Hey, we were doing so much, we’re trying, and yet you ran with me this morning at 6:00 AM and I noticed that you also did another 5k, uh, just, uh, just the 10:45 AM.
So, you know, I take everything you say with a grain of salt, but I am so glad that you came on and talked to us today. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Um, you have a new website, don’t you? What’s the link. Ah, you can tell them, Peter, what is the link to Dave triathlon website? It is trying, I believe it’s try coach david.com.
Correct. And you can go and see what David’s doing and, and if you’re ever thinking, Hey, can I do an iron man? Well, as I’m living proof, you certainly can. And David will get you through it from no matter where you are in the world’s pretty good. So I’ll leave you with this final thought for what you just said.
Yeah, it doesn’t have to, you don’t have to do an iron man. Did you ever want to learn how to run? Did you ever think maybe I just want to be comfortable in the water, not panic. Some of the things I do as a coach. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I take, take people I’d make them into Ironman. I turn it into marathoners, but I also just take people who wants to learn how to ride a bicycle.
We want to feel positive about themselves, who is that? I’ve always been scared. I help you get through that fear by helping you in a comfortable situation, realized there’s nothing to fear here. As the ancient Greek said, you already know everything. You need to know. That’s awesome. What a great way to end it.
You already know everything you need to know. David. Thank you so much for taking the time, man. We’ll talk to you again soon. Hi. Okay. Bye bye guys, guys. Thanks for listening. As always, you’re listening to that’s the normal. We appreciate it. We’re here. Sorry about David’s. Apparently he was, he was in the middle of the forest or something run.
Sorry. I missed the activity there, but we appreciate you being here. Thank you for listening. And as always be like, we heard these review on iTunes. Tell your friends. If you have any guests that you want us to join, that you wanna join us, let us know. We’d love to have them otherwise. We’ll see you next week.
My name is Peter Shankman. Thanks for listening.
You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal Podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play. And of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman. And you can find me www.petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice? That’ll leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews for more, the podcasts is shown and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week.