Hi! I'm a type 1 diabetic and I'm going to be student teaching in the fall in a middle school and high school classroom. I've already read some advice for student teachers in the teachers group on this website and its given me a bit more confidence in knowing how I should approach diabetes in the classroom, but I'm still a little nervous. So, I wanted to see what past student teachers have done and what any student teachers are planning to do to fix lows, check sugar, and inform students and cooperating teachers about (type 1) diabetes.
Hi, Bridget. I've taught middle and high schoolers, as well as undergraduates. And I have major issues with lows. What really helps me is my Dexcom, which alerts me if my sugars get low, so I don't have to pull out my meter and test while I'm lecturing. However, I have tested while I'm lecturing (I've had diabetes for years, so I can do it while lecturing without missing a beat. Once I even injected myself with insulin in front of the class - that was undergraduates though; I'm not sure I'd do that in front of middle schoolers.)
I would definitely inform the teachers you're working with that you're diabetic and might need a snack or shot in class. They will understand (if they don't, fall back on the ADA (assuming you're American) and tell them they have to accept, but I've never met anyone who had a problem - they were always happy to have me do what I needed to do).
As for telling students, I go back and forth. Part of me thinks I shouldn't tell them, because I want to keep a reserve, and I feel like they should just accept it if I start drinking juice in class. Plus, esecially with younger students, I'm not sure they'd understand and they might give their parents a distorted view of what you said, and parents can cause problems. Plus I'm not sure what purpose telling them serves. If you test your blood sugars, they will probably just think it's some weird thing adults do.
However, I'm also obsessed with privacy and not telling people much about myself. I know other diabetics who tell lots of people without problems, so I doubt telling students will cause much of a problem. It might be good for them to see a young diabetic and learn more about diabetes, especially if you're teaching a science or nutrition class.
Anyway, basically, I would say make sure to have lots of sugar. If you need something, feel free to have sugar. Nobody will think it's weird for you to drink a bottle of juice/can of coke or eat a muffin or something in class. I do really recommend a CGM, though I know a lot of insurance companies don't cover those. But I've found people often don't pay attention to what others are doing, and most students won't notice if you test your blood sugars. Does that help?
Yes this has helped, thank you so much for the response! Since I have only had diabetes for almost a year now my endo has not discussed having a CGM with me, so I will have to resort to using a meter in class. I'm leaning towards making the students aware of it so they can connect with me on a more personal level, and so they know why I'm popping glucose tabs all the time or checking my sugar, as I have consistent lows too. Unfortunately, since I'm an English major I cannot make a lesson out of it.
Again thank you for all the advice!