How Being “Part Robot” Brings STEM to Life in My Class

NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to continue its Teachers of New Jersey series in 2017. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the series, it now comes out twice a month. This editorial series is curated by photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. These stories highlight the joys, struggles, and personal reflections that surround being a teacher.

“I teach 7th and 8th-grade science at Central Regional Middle School Bayville. I have been teaching 14 years. I love doing hands-on lessons with them, and I love seeing them grasp why I am teaching them, and the, ‘Wow, this is how it works!’ kind of responses. I love it when they engage and ask me questions that stretch me, and that I have never thought about before. I really enjoy that. I want them to be excited about science and to be curious about things. I love it when they hear about things or read about things on their own, and they will talk about it in class the next day.”

“I have always loved science, even as a little kid. I love learning about all different phenomena in the world, and how science can solve so many problems we face. There is so much technology that we have now because of science that we didn’t have before. I tell my students that science is everywhere, it’s all around us. My students know I am passionate about science, so they get excited to tell me when they learn something new, like when we had the eclipse over the summer, they were so excited to talk about it when school started this year.”

“Science has also made a significant difference in my life this past year that I was not expecting. Towards the end of February I had a cold and had these other symptoms like I was really, really thirsty and I was drinking water all the time, and I couldn’t quench my thirst, and my vision changed, and I couldn’t see the board at school from the back of the room, and I lost weight, and I was always tired. But I didn’t put all of the symptoms together. My husband actually googled the symptoms and told me he thought I had diabetes. I told him he was crazy, and I kind of explained everything away. I finally went to the doctor, and they did a blood sugar test, and sure enough, I had diabetes. I couldn’t believe it.”

“I was pretty sick in the beginning. I wound up having to take some time off work at the end of last year, but I am doing a lot better since I have been on the insulin pump since last June. But through that, I was able to see how strong I was, and I was able to learn a lot about the technology that is out there for diabetics. There is actually a glucose reader on my arm, that constantly reads my blood sugar, and it is the most amazing thing. It constantly reads it, and it sends me updates to my phone, and it can send it up to five different people, so it sends the readings to my husband, and to my mom, just in case my blood sugar drops too low, it can notify us. I was amazed by this. I also have an insulin pump. And I always tease my kids and my students that I am part robot because I have a glucose wire and an insulin pump on me! “

“Going back to school this year I have been more tired than I want to be, but I am happy to be back. One thing for sure, though, is that science and technology has really made a significant difference in my own life, which makes what I teach them all the more meaningful.”

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