Going beyond the A,B,Cs

Friday, May 30, 2008

During the school year, teachers spend a great deal of time with their students. They get to know their academic strengths and weaknesses, personalities -- nearly as well as their parents.

Education works best when teachers and parents work together to ensure success for the student. But there are times when outside factors influence how children learn, and teachers and parents pick up on the fact that something is not quite right.

Sometimes it is a simple thing that is taking the student off course that can be easily fixed by intervention of parents or educators. Other times, the issues are deeper and harder to fix. Sometimes, it's a health matter.

Andrew Cummings, 7-year-old son of Collen and Gary Cummings of Le Mars, who just completed his kindergarten year at Franklin Elementary, wasn't his usual self earlier this month. He had lost weight, was using the restroom frequently and was sleepy and sluggish.

His teacher, Vicki Borchers, called Andrew's parents and shared her concerns about his health. For the Cummings, who had been observing the same changes in their son, it was confirmation that something was wrong.

They took him to the doctor and he was soon in the hospital, being treated for Type 1 Diabetes. Andrew's blood sugar had spiked into the 500s -- normal blood sugar levels are between 75 and 110. He was released from the hospital three days later and is doing fine.

Borchers had a student years earlier that had displayed the same symptoms that Andrew had shown and it turned out that he also had diabetes. The Cummings are happy to have their son back to his normal self, and are grateful for the concern his teacher showed. They even go so far as to say that Borchers saved his life and are pleased that she cared enough to get involved.

Borchers would be the first to say that she was only doing her job. Teachers do so much more than educate our children, and for that we are all grateful.