I got an invitation I could not refuse last week! The invite involved a room full of 12 & 13 year old students and disease. Two of my favorite subjects!
Mr. Schluntz and Mrs. Schaner (7th grade science teachers) recently invited me to their classes to talk about disease. When teachers ask if I will come talk with a class, I don't often think "What am I going to tell them?"
I think "I can't wait to learn with them!". Students and I discussed what an outbreak might look like here at Richmond MIddle School, how monitoring immunization records impacts a schools population, herd immunity, vaccines, pathogens and at times we even got a little off track as we were so curious!
We watched a video simulation of Herd Immunity. See it here.
Reviewed and discussed pictures of vaccine preventable diseases (via historyofvaccines.org and Ms. Schaners own research)
Discussed student observations from playing the vaccine preventable disease game Pox. Read about the game here.
I also shared my own disease outbreak story about contracting the chickenpox virus as a new nurse and how the hospital I worked for responded.
Throughout our discussions, some of the questions students asked: "Do they still vaccinate for small pox?" "Why do you have to have multiple vaccines for one disease?" "Can you get chicken pox more then once?" "Have you taken care of children with vaccine preventable diseases in the hospital?"
All great questions that indicate a level of interest, knowledge and desire to learn more. I suspect some of these questions will help fuel a cool assignment that Mr. Schlunz has assigned his class: "Outbreak at RMS". Students will be researching a disease and creating a case study that could happen at school.
The very last day of joining the science students, Mrs. Schaner and I had a great conversation about medicine, science and that 'ah ha' moment when students might decide "this is what I'm interested in". We talked about encouraging students to be curious, and to ask "why not?"....which leaves me sharing this great blog post: "The Changing Face Of Medicine" by Minerva Arenas.
I hope all students ask "why not" and follow their passions in learning.
The Parent Taxi Trap. You know...kids, too young to drive but too cool to have a parent hang out with them at practice (think 9-15yo)?
You'll find yourself spending an incredible amount of time driving to and from events. If not spending hours waiting in a vehicle or sitting on bleachers. As both my boys became teenagers I found the ride to some events and practices was all that they needed. Having raised confident independent boys, they didn't want me to stick around yet they needed to be picked back up within two hours. This is the parent taxi trap.
At first I dreaded it. All that driving and very little time in between requires one to stay close by. Not enough time for errands or grocery shopping. But time enough for something!
At first I settled into reading a book, twitter feed or newspaper, but found the additional sitting (after 8 hours of work and additional 1 hour car ride) seemed counter productive. If I let it happen, I could spend up to 15 hours each day...sitting. Not healthy and makes for one grumpy mom. I needed an out, a way to improve my mood and feel better about how I was spending my time. So I packed an extra pair of sneakers and an array of outdoor gear in my trunk. And leave it there (raincoat,bug spray,sunscreen,maps,snacks).
On average I spend 90 minutes 3-4 days per week, either running or walking in the woods while waiting for my teenage son. I always feel a surge of energy after and see/hear/smell things that I wouldn't have if I was sitting in a gym or car.
Here are some of the amazing escapes from the world of parent taxi trap in the Upper Valley! Happy running/walking and parenting!
Hartford VT Trails
Thetford VT Trails
Fairlee, VT Orford NH Cross Rivendell Trails
Northern Rail Trail
Boston Lot DHMC