I'm a 6th grade teacher. A teacher is defined as someone who teaches or instructs but I see myself as doing more than that. I listen, heal, guide, mentor, and learn myself. The students look to me for guidance and support. But there are days where I look to them just as much.
They all know I'm a Type 1 diabetic. Some know what diabetes is, some don't. I try to use it as a teaching moment but I don't like to spend a lot of time discussing it with them. But on the day my new pump arrived in school, they could easily see the excitement on my face and wanted to know more. I explained the differences between my old pump (Omnipod) and the new MM version. They were just as excited for me!
Then the day came where I started on the pump. I had to leave class early so I had another teacher cover and told the kids where I was going. Sure enough, the next day, they ALL asked about it. It makes me feel so special when they remember something that I say, let alone the day after! So I showed them what it looked like and moved on.
Well since I'm a first year teacher, I also don't know how to say no when people ask me to do things. Therefore, I got myself into sponsoring a track club during the off-season. I've got myself a group of about 11 students and we go out and run when the weather's nice. We do different workouts and then we visit the high school every week so the kids can meet the coaches and learn the high school drills. Usually I run with them and we have a blast.
One day, my blood sugar was super low before we went and ran. So I'm sitting at my desk eating fruit snacks and candy and everything I can get to stop from shaking. The kids were starting to come in to my classroom and were waiting to head outside. I told them how I had to wait a few minutes because of my low blood sugar. Sure enough, one student of mine pats me on the shoulder and says, "It's okay Ms. Quigley, you're more important than running right now." It melted my heart.
So not only do I get to teach these kids about science, they also learn about real life situations and how someone handles challenges. They all can say that they know someone with diabetes and when someone in their future mentions it, I know they'll say, "My 6th grade science teacher had diabetes. She had a pump and it was purple because that was her favorite color. It was also the color of dirt in her world when she drew us pictures on the board." That, my friends, means I've done my job and I loved doing it :)