Mrs. Muller | The Standard

Mrs. Muller & Caleb - 1st Day of School

OfficeMax created the “A Day Made Better” event to bring awareness to the needs of today’s teachers and to “work to erase” teacher funded classrooms. When I read that Leighann, as a Max Mom, was holding a contest specifically to allow teachers of children with diabetes to get the accolades and credit they deserve, I wasted no time in preparing my nomination of Caleb’s current teacher, Mrs. Muller.

I’m happy to say that my entry was picked as a winner and I was able to present Mrs. Muller with a $100 gift card to OfficeMax.

Here is what I wrote. It comes from my heart.

As a background, Caleb has had four different teachers and seven different nurses at school since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Every teacher he has had has been loving, caring and concerned for Caleb’s well-being. Not one gave resistance to learning what they needed to do for his special needs. But Caleb’s current teacher has been exponentially superior in providing Caleb a safe and caring environment.

There are many teachers that learn to count carbs, administer insulin, understand how to treat a low blood sugar and even inject glucagon if needed. Caleb is blessed to have a wonderful school nurse who has the primary responsibility for all of those things.

What Caleb’s teacher has offered him is as important, and some may argue more important than all of that. Caleb’s teacher has embraced Caleb as Caleb first, and Caleb as a child living with diabetes second. That doesn’t mean she gives his diabetes less importance. She gives it the absolute most importance by thinking of Caleb as a person first, while still managing his needs as a child living with diabetes. She appreciates the emotional toll that living with a chronic condition can have on a person and that labeling Caleb as “the diabetic” is harmful emotionally.

What is extraordinary about what Caleb’s teacher does, is what she doesn’t do. She doesn’t give his diabetes unnecessary attention.

That may actually sound like it’s easy to do, as if it’s just a matter of ignoring it. If you have ever managed the care of a child with diabetes, you know that it is, in fact, very difficult to do. It’s like being a magician using smoke and mirrors to lead a normal life while managing a very not normal, extremely intrusive thing.

Caleb’s teacher has been able to accommodate every single request I have made without the slightest hesitation. She has coordinated a daily schedule that provides for normalcy in the classroom and inclusion of Caleb in everything the other students do, when they do it, to work around his diabetes schedule. When there are unplanned needs to check Caleb’s sugar, they flow as smoothly as possible and without obvious interruption to the class instruction.

Although she could, she doesn’t just pass him off to the school nurse. She expresses interest and willingness to learn all the details of his care to the end of making a better day for Caleb. She goes out of her way to talk to the nurse to review the day’s events when the children are not around. No one asked her to do this. She doesn’t have to do it. She wants to do it. For Caleb.

Of course it is important for our children to be medically safe at school. It is equally important that our children’s emotional well-being be cared for. Studies show that living with a chronic condition like diabetes that takes constant, day after day maintenance can lead to severe emotional problems including depression and socialization weaknesses. I know that Caleb’s emotional health is being cared for. I know this because he gets off the bus each day with a smile on his face and skip in step that I haven’t seen before and didn’t even realize was missing. I know this because anything diabetes related about his day is the LAST thing he brings up when it used to be the first.

I hope from the above that you can see that Caleb’s teacher is passionate about the well-being of her students. She is dedicated to her students no matter what their differences. Her innovation is in her approach to Caleb. She accepts him and all of him fully and completely. Where it would be easy to let Caleb stand out while he cares for his diabetes, she has been able to creatively balance his needs with the needs of all the children in her class without skipping a beat.

I will never be able to thank Caleb’s teacher enough for this. This is not something that can be repaid. But $100 is a start.

I feel very strongly that the emotional as well as the medical needs of students with diabetes be prioritized equally. In my opinion, Mrs. Muller has set the standard of care in meeting and properly balancing both of them.

To teachers everywhere, whatever the needs of your students may be, I raise my glass to you for everything you do for and give to our children. Thank you.

Mrs. Muller played an important role in making WDD 2010 special which you can read here (paragraph about half way down starting, “Perhaps…”).

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27 Replies to “Mrs. Muller | The Standard”

  1. Ok….I am adopting her!! She sounds incredible!! Caleb (and you) are so very lucky to have her as his teacher! Makes you want to have her move up with him every year doesn’t it?? We have lucked out with teachers so far (mainly because I was able to hand pick them…a small perk for helping so much at the school) but none of them have compared to Mrs. Muller. She deserves so much more than the $100 gift card!! She needs her own special day named after her and a parade!

    1. I love this parade and special day idea, Andrea!

      The example that Mrs. Muller has set actually gives me confidence about future years, even though she won’t be coming with him. Caleb has been able to grow so much in his D care that I’m confident the years to come will go smoothly because Caleb will be ready and able.

      Credit for that also goes to his wonderful school nurse who I know had a part in Caleb’s class assignment this year.

  2. She sounds incredible and that was notable of you for nominating her for the award. Caleb is very lucky and I hope that the teachers he will have in the future will be just as caring and supportive.

  3. I guess I always think of “having diabetes” makes Caleb kind of special. I know that sounds crazy because who would want a life threatening illness. Maybe it’s because he sets such a great example of someone living with diabetes. I don’t know. But I do know my youngest is kind of jealous of him and sometimes tell me she wishes she had diabetes. Of course she doesn’t understand anything other than that Caleb gets his own “Day” at school (WDD) and gets to make announcements (when funds were raised for JDRF). I feel bad now that Kate associates diabetes with Caleb (well, and my dad who fascinates the kids when he lifts his shirt and pokes a needle in his huge white belly 3 times a day). I never really thought about how he must feel as “the kid who has diabetes” versus just plain old Caleb. Well, at least Abby thinks of him as “Colin’s little brother”! And of course I think of him as my future son in law!! 😉

    1. I think credit goes to our community that you think this way. We are fortunate to be surrounded by compassionate people who respect each other’s differences.
      I know you know this, Erin, but no one should wish they have diabetes. Although Caleb and I are happy and feel blessed to be surrounded by such support, we would give anything not to need it.

  4. Oops, didn’t mention anything about Mrs. Muller. I will BEG for her for Kate next year. She truly is a fabulous teacher! I’ve never heard a complaint from anyone who has had her!

  5. She sounds amazing – as someone who went to grade school with a T1, I remember teachers either being kind of put out…or amazing when dealing with her during a low blood sugar event. (Obviously, back in the days of two insulin doses per day and urine blood sugar testing, so less invasive than these days, but still.)

  6. Great teachers are special. I’m tickled you took the time to recognize Caleb’s teacher. Congrats to all of you for working together for Caleb’s good health!

  7. I LOVE THIS!!! Go Mrs. Muller! I need to nominate Avery’s teacher next year – they are incredible! We would be so lost without the support of such an important person in our child’s life. It’s not an easy job (trust me, I know!) but so incredibly important! We love you, too, Mrs. Muller!

  8. What a wonderful teacher and a blessing to Caleb and your family! I am thrilled you nominated her Lorraine, she sounds simply wonderful. I am so glad you touched on the emotional health of our kids, it’s just as important as their physical health.

  9. Hooray for beautiful, kind human beings everywhere! What a huge blessing for Caleb and all who love him.

  10. WOW. I am speechless. She sounds wonderful. While we have had some terrific teachers, I am not sure we have had someone put Joe as “Joe” first. Rarely does the psycho-social get taken into consideration. That bothers me.

    Congrats to you…and to Mrs. Muller…and there-in-to Caleb.

  11. Oh Lo – what a beautiful letter that you wrote. You have such a way with words! A good way! 🙂

    I’m so glad Mrs. Muller won and that she is providing such wonderful care for Caleb.

    I hope one day Nate has a teacher just like Mrs. M.

  12. God bless Mrs. Muller! and God bless you, Lo & family!…i love reading uplifting stuff where the D is concerned…

  13. It is great to read something positive. So often, people focus on what is bad about a situation instead of what is good about it. Small blessings like Mrs. Muller are often overlooked. It is nice to see that her kindness and compassion have been acknowledged. If only there were more Mrs. Mullers and Lorraines in the world…
    Thanks for posting this nice story.

  14. your teacher looks soooo nice! i wish i was you!I want an omnipod to!So many things!! 🙂

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