Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I am licensed to teach elementary education, emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students, learning-disabled students and developmentally and cognitively delayed students and I have a kindergarten certificate. Students are scheduled for me in two 30-minute blocks from 9 a.m. until almost 3 p.m. Most of the time, I get to see them one-on-one. I am in constant contact with their home school districts to find out what they're working on. I match that and help the districts reintegrate their students successfully once they're released from the hospital. I attend rounds on Tuesdays and I have all the school district opportunities for training and staff meetings. After 3 p.m. I do special education due-process paperwork.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
A: My work creates a sense of normalcy for the kids. The normal thing for a child to be doing is going to school and this is the one thing at the hospital that they are familiar with right off the bat.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with the entire Gillette staff, but predominantly the rehabilitation unit, social workers, the chaplain and pharmacists.
Q: Why did you become a teacher in a hospital setting?
A: I had taught in St. Paul Public Schools for seven years when this came up and I really felt it was a direct match for my skill set. This is year 20 for me in special education.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: It's the students and the way I can interact with families that are in crisis. I hope I can create a new normal for many of these families.