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Diabetic teachers?

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by heleedee, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. heleedee

    heleedee · Member

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    Hello all,

    I just wondered if there are any other diabetic teachers out there? I find it very hard to test/ eat regularly with my job as I often end up having to see pupils over breaks and I run a lot of over lunch activities. Does anyone have similar experiences/ advice on phrasing "I have to eat right now" without being accused of skiving? I feel like it's sometimes an expectation that you won't eat or take a break all day!

    Help appreciated

    Helen :)


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  2. lizdeluz

    lizdeluz Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Does your head teacher know much about diabetes? S/he will know you have diabetes, but might need some info about how you personally need to manage your diabetes. It would be useful to discuss it with him/her, because there may be other teachers with diabetes in your school and probably a number of students also trying to fit diabetes into their school day, and the head teacher will have a policy on how to support students and staff with diabetes.
    I know what you mean about break time and lunchtime being gobbled up by meetings, activities and supervision. I think your phrase, "I have to eat right now" is fine and will be perfectly well understood when colleagues know you have diabetes. Your health has to come first. So be clear and unapologetic about that.
     
  3. Mrs Vimes

    Mrs Vimes Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi heelee, I teach and I'm type 1. I understand what you mean - a break tends not to be a break. I make sure that I have emergency snacks stashed everywhere. I also take in food that Can be eaten straight away, no spending time walking to and from the canteen for **** food.
    I have been known to eat in front of the kids and explained it away as 'didn't get a break'.
    You must make time to test - I've managed it discretely under the desk. I would die if I ever had a hypo in front of a kid or colleague.
    Some kids know I have diabetes and they actually don't care / not bothered in a nice way.
    Not much help but sisters in arms!
    Oh and I take lucozade into meetings.


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  4. heleedee

    heleedee · Member

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    Thanks both, very helpful replies. I think I just need to feel like I'm not being rude! My Principal, Vice Principal and some of my colleagues know and are supportive, but I have kids around all the time (I work in SEN and have students with autism who can't stand the noise of lunch with me) which can make it a bit difficult to get privacy.

    Thanks for your help, sisters in arms indeed Mrs Vimes!


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  5. Scandichic

    Scandichic Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi there!
    The kids I teach know I'm diabetic. I once needed to eat something and the kids asked why and I told them. This means that none of them even think about it if I eat something. In the past I always would have been a sure bet for donations to cake sales but I have declined those recently and explained why. I think you should eat something when you need to and if the kids ask why just explain. At the end of the day, we are role models and there will be kids there who are diabetic. Since acknowledging my diabetes, some of my kids who are diabetic have come to have a chat about it.
    My boss told me to leave the room to test or go in the book cupboard. I do it quickly at my desk if I need to. I generally do it at the start of lunch. Remember! Lunch is unpaid and if you need to test, do it before your club starts.
    I eat yoghurt and blueberries or veggies and dip or tapas style stuff chucked into a container.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. Dogbutler

    Dogbutler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm a college lecturer and at first I didn't tell my students about my diabetes , as I thought it was irrelevant.
    However, as I teach over 18s, the students often bring in treats to share at coffee breaks.
    I got so fed up of refusing offers of cakes, biscuits etc ( not to mention finding the willpower to say no thanks -I barely have any at the best of times) I finally confessed to being diabetic.
    So glad that I did. I'm still surrounded by a sea of delicious baked munchables, but I don't have to think up excuses to refuse them.

    Another plus is since telling the students, they really are less inclined to interrupt me during lunch as they know I need to eat regularly.

    One of my groups finished yesterday and the students gave me a lovely silver bracelet. The said they had planned to give me a box of chocolates, but they'd had to have a rethink in the light of my confession!
     
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  7. Y3MBailey

    Y3MBailey Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hey I am 29 and a Secondary school teacher.

    Everyone knows I am diabetic and I usually keep some sweet stuff in the draw if I feel my blood going a bit low. I would take some and then do a proper test afterwards.

    Have not had a severe hypo for over 10 years but the one time one did nearly occur at work. I simply told my class I would be right back went and told another member of staff if they could just keep and eye on my class for a bit while I sorted myself out.

    One time I went hypo during the last parents evening meeting.... I stopped mid convo.... explained to the parents I felt unwell and left... Came back 5 mins later after a spoonfull of lemon curd and finished the meeting.... well restarted it.... Most are fine and I have never met any persecution for being diabetic.

    Remember at school lots of kids will have it as well so teachers are generally quite up on things as a group of society.

    Kids generally never question stuff...

    If I start eating a biscuit in the lesson I can only think of a handful of times it has ever been brought up.

    I have even used it to my advantage... due to my knowledge of diabetes (a condition schools tend to worry about loads) I got a promotion as medical coordinator for school trips

    I do agree that the testing/eating things is difficult and it is infact one of the main reasons why my hba1c is 7.2 and I am trying to lower it. Sometimes I end up missing lunch and then might grab a quick snack and end up taking injection to late or not testing properly.

    It is a pain and one 5 years in to teaching I still have not really perfected.

    My advice keep some emergency lunches in your draw (the pasta tuna salad things are good for this as they dont require refrigeration) and if you end up skipping lunch set the students a 10 minute activity and eat something.... Hell work it into their activity "you have however long it takes me to eat this to finish your test".

    If any kids ask just say your diabetic..... again most kids will have friends or at least know of other people who are and will not question it.

    I get more grief about using my phone as a timer as "we cant use phones why can you"

    What subject do you teach (I teach technology)

    Hope this has helped feel free to PM me if you want to chat more privately :)

    kind regards

    Matt
     
  8. Suercc

    Suercc Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Teach post 16. Mostly fine. Had a recent period of too high followed by new meds and coming down too fast left me wiped out.
    Folks are brilliant about first aid situations like hypos but the being tired and brain fog isn't always met sympathetically
    Yes I want all of these deadlines met by tomorrow sort of thing.
     
  9. Scandichic

    Scandichic Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Had a couple of hypos as of late and had to sit in our FLC. They are all into the eat well plate which I am fervently against as I follow LCHF. This leads to lectures about diet and people trying to force carb heavy sugar laden food down me. If I refuse, it leads to arguments. They cannot understand that if I eat that, then I will hyper then crash and hypo. Have had this happen in the past. Usually if I hypo it's because I've had to go too long without food. Left lunch at home, that kind of thing.
     
  10. teacher123

    teacher123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Very helpful posts, thank you.

    I am about to finish my PGCE and was diagnosed with type 1 5 weeks ago...talk about a crazy year!

    I'm excited to start into NQT and have made my new employers aware about my condition. I suppose the best thing is just to be organised and have everything with you encase of hypos? At least I have the next three months to develop a greater understanding and how my body reacts etc.
     
  11. hdragon

    hdragon Type 1 · Member

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    hi . I was a teacher for the past 18 years with type 1 and I worked abroad in Hong Kong. so as you can imagine I had a lot to cope with as well . the main thing is to be a little bit selfish and insist on me time. I didn't and often ran high all day until I whet home and late at night tested none to often . you really need to take the time for yourself and talk to your staff members . they will understand and help you cover pupil meetings and problems as they occur. the last school I had were very good especially as my health deteriorated. don't do too much or feel you have to do it alone the children also like to know what's going on health wise with their teacher so sharing is a very good thing to do and they can help spot early hypo signs or your T.A at least should be aware so they can help you. don't feel it's a weakness to share or ask for help please. I now have only an odd days volunteering day at the local community college and do miss the hustle and bustle of a full day and weeks work but because of the full burn out I am not strong enough to go back to my one love of teaching. I had a good run but miss it . hdragon(known for the loudness of my voice in school)
     
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  12. crazycatlady42

    crazycatlady42 Other · Active Member

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    It's definitely a must to have good, understanding management and TAs. During some really busy days have run dangerously low. The reactions I have had from others have differed from getting me a snack to 'I don't understand why you're in school today.' Those people just need educating. Remember that without direct experience people have no reason to know what's going on.
     
  13. teacher123

    teacher123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Start in my new school on Friday as a NQT @crazycatlady42 so naturally a little nervous and newly diagnosed Type 1 makes me wonder how I'll deal with it at times.
     
  14. crazycatlady42

    crazycatlady42 Other · Active Member

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    Just be open with the people you will be working with most from the start and I'm sure that they will be very understanding when you snack during meetings etc. Also, be patient and prepared to educate anyone who doesn't get it. People in schools tend to be really human so with a little education from you will be great. It really is important to remember that just because it's a big part of your life it may not even feature in other people's.

    Good luck with your new job - I hope you love it!!
     
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  15. teacher123

    teacher123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much @crazycatlady42

    I guess the good thing about being a teacher is there a certain amount of routine involved and hopefully my confidence will build quickly...I hope in a years time I can reflect and realise how much I achieved with this condition.
     
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  16. crazycatlady42

    crazycatlady42 Other · Active Member

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    A great attitude!
    The routine of the school day will really help you.
     
  17. lizdeluz

    lizdeluz Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Wishing you a happy NQT year. I guess the new academic year has started, so it's an exciting time for all the staff and students!
     
  18. teacher123

    teacher123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @crazycatlady42 and @lizdeluz - survived my first day. The school was absolutely boiling and felt as if my sugars were sky high., When I checked, they were 5.0 and two hours after lunch 4.8 :). Feet/legs sore but not used walking and standing all day I suppose haha.
     
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  19. crazycatlady42

    crazycatlady42 Other · Active Member

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    That's great to hear - well done!
    It won't take long for your feet and legs to get used to all the standing. Hope it continues to go really well. Keep us updated.
     
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  20. lizdeluz

    lizdeluz Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting what you say about your feeling your bs was high, but that it wasn't. Keep some glucose tablets to hand! The school day is often so hectic that it's quite hard to find a spare moment, so I reckon well done for doing those tests.
     
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