Returning to teaching with serious MS-related symptoms was a difficult choice for me. I educated students on multiple sclerosis and the symptoms they may see in the classroom. They learned that becoming sick increased my white cells and the chance of a new MS attack. We reviewed the protocols for emergency situations with specific students assigned to immediately go for help and the rest given instruction to stay calm in their seats. Here are some of the things students happily did to provide accommodations and safety for me in the classroom:
1 – Sick students sat in the back row by the door. Some even elected to wear masks.
2 – Sick students warned me they were not well before I came too close to them.
3 – A high school student was hired by the school to clean the surfaces and doors of my classroom each day to prevent the spread of illness.
4 – Students filled in missing words when I paused in speech unable to find it myself.
5 – Students laughed with me when things were funny and supported me when I could not hid my tougher times.
6 – Carrying my things into the school, asking if I needed help if I was doing something they could do, and volunteering to complete tasks in and out of the classroom that would be difficult for me due to whatever symptom might be the issue at the time, were the norm of the student body in my classrooms. I had outstanding students!
7 – Some students prayed for me at home when I was not well, I learned from their parents and themselves.
8 – My classes were well behaved. They knew stress was a factor in my progression and possible new attacks. They wanted me for a teacher; learning was exciting and their successes were celebrated.
In return for the students’ efforts on my behalf, I worked hard to help them to achieve their lofty goals; every stone was turned and bridge crossed. How I miss my beloved students! They brought me great joy and happiness. When we cross paths I see their smiling faces and long to be in their classroom again.