Dear teacher, (addressing urban myths & T1)

Dear teacher,

I have nothing but the upmost respect for you in your chosen profession. The power you have to convey your passion about a given subject to my child & ignite a desire within her to learn more is something I truly admire. I play my part in this learning, of course. I’ve taught my daughters to have respect for their teachers. Not to talk over you or answer back. To ask when they don’t understand. And to listen attentively. They have been taught that in your subject, you will have knowledge that reaches far beyond their current understanding & that an education is a privilege they are fortunate enough to be afforded.

It is my hope, therefore, that when I send to you a child who has been thusly briefed, you too will afford the knowledge they posses with respect. Especially if that knowledge & understanding is around a subject of which you know nought.

Like my child’s T1. You know not how your flippant comment “You were low in my lesson last week as well. Please could you get your mum to sort your diabetes out.” irks & distresses in equal measure my child who will not answer you back out of respect for your position of authority. You do not see the constant monitoring & tweaking that goes on from day to day, week to week, month to month, year in, year out. You cannot begin to imagine what a fickle mistress T1D can be & how many tears of frustration I have had to console & reason with over the years as I continue to reinforce to my child that there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to T1 management. There is just a perpetual learning process, in a condition that is constantly evolving & shifting in her maturing body. We are strapping ourselves in for a tricky time ahead. Preparing her metal so she may weather the predicted tumultuous teenage years without being worn down by the relentless daily demands of T1.

Above all, you failed to recognise & acknowledge her vastly superior knowledge in her specialist subject. To treat her with such contempt undermines the confidence which she herself has built up over 11years of living with T1. Confidence which she must defend daily from the constant attack of T1 changing the rules of engagement, sometimes on an hour to hour basis. I would not tolerate her being so disrespectful to you in a lesson. It saddens me greatly that you see it as acceptable to belittle a child’s skills in such a casual fashion.

Please. Don’t judge. And be kind. It’s not tricky, and you’ll find yourself with a child who wants to learn & work very hard for you.

Yours,

The proudest parent on the planet

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6 thoughts on “Dear teacher, (addressing urban myths & T1)

  1. That’s so painfully sad the someone in a role of such responsibility can be so directly hurtful and mean to a child who does an awesome job of living with T1.

    I hope this is appropriately reported and dealt with. I’m fairly sure chastising a child with asthma for not being able to breath in a lesson wouldn’t be so cool. Let alone children with autism, learning difficulties, other physical and mental disabilities which can be challenging and difficult every minute of every day for those children and their families.

    Someone needs a little more educating of their moral standards.

  2. Beautifully put…..if only they knew the effort to get them to school day in day out and try to cope with extra pe, wet plays, oooh lets do cross country, oh food testing. Tell Mimi we know she is a star (as are all our children) and to keep doing what she is doing x

  3. Hi there, I’m the mum of a 13 yr old boy with T1. Reading your blog is always a delight as we share the same bumpy road. I totally get your frustrations and after a few incidents last year, I wrote this poem to get it out of my system. My son is on multiple injections, does a brilliant job and gets on with life amazingly well.

    Dear Teacher

    Hi, hello, it’s me again.
    Please don’t roll your eyes!
    I’m not a helicopter parent,
    I come in peace!

    I need to explain
    That my child will be carrying an invisible pancreas.
    You won’t even know it’s there.
    He will carry it with him wherever he goes.
    He will do its job and look after it
    But sometimes he may grow a little weary.
    Your help may be needed as he mustn’t let go of this tiresome load.

    Scared? Don’t be!
    Imagine how he feels all day, every day
    Yet he keeps on going.
    Your job is small and help is at hand for you.

    My child must calculate many things at the same time.
    He must think like a pancreas.
    Can you imagine?
    As well as trying to learn,
    He must anticipate the effect of every action and piece of food
    Whilst travelling from class to class, and teacher to teacher.
    No mean feat!

    I will make sure you are given the knowledge you need.
    I ask that you are willing to accept your role.
    Let him be and don’t become a helicopter teacher.
    He is not perfect.
    Do not expect gratitude,
    There will be no immediate reward for what you do
    But know that he will go on to live a full life
    Having learnt from you that this burden can be shared.

    You will never know the gift you have given my child
    But please know that I will be forever in your debt.

  4. Pingback: Stable Diabetes: it's Mission Impossible #DPC16 - Actually Mummy...

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