A Day In The Life Of Scott

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion

It has been a while….

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First, I want to apologize to my regular readers, it has been a long time since I last did a good post. I do not have any good excuses, other that I haven’t had time or I just didn’t feel up to writing.

The end of the last school year since my last post went too quickly. Time flew by, and while getting into to the flow of the school year I just never managed to get time to sit down and reflect on things clearly. Last year was an awesome year for me, and I miss the kids I was teaching while I was at Neilburg Composite School. In addition to learning new curriculum I had to develop a whole new model for classroom management and by April I was considered to be the resident expert on scientific inquiry-based learning strategies.

During the course of the year I developed many lessons and units using only scientific inquiry; basically I organized the lessons and planned them, but the students did most of the work. I had always wanted to have my classroom be a place where the students did the work but was never sure on how to organize myself enough to do this. After meeting with my learning coach several times each month, my lessons became more and more thorough. At first it was weird, here I am “teaching” but not doing the work, as the students were doing all of it; I merely served as a mediator to guide them through the work.

In May I was asked to prepare a presentation for some parents and administration on the topic. Since there is a move in science education to be more hands-on and inquiry-based, it was up to me to inform people about what it all meant, as well as provide some examples.

Unfortunately for me, I was not re-hired at the school. It was a sad experience for me, and even though I was new and only there for one year, I was made to feel welcome. Not only were the students great, but there was an amazing staff of teachers and dedicated support staff to ensure everything runs like clockwork.

I have been looking for a new job for months. Now that the school year is started, it is clear that I am not getting anything full time this year. I am, however, on the substitute list for nearly 10 schools. So, this could be a busy school year all the same, as I am told (and was again this morning during a meeting with James’ teachers) that there is a shortage of subs, and I will should definitely not be having any trouble getting sub days around here. I have been told this since last spring that subs get a lot of time because there isn’t enough of them around – I could be busy as full-time without the pressures of planning.

I met with James’ new teachers this morning about his seizures and medications; being in a school made me feel out of place because I was not starting the year off in my own classroom as I had been for the last nine years. I am jealous of teachers who got to go back to work last week.

On the bright side, I am looking forward to a year with some flexibility. James has been visiting doctors and getting scans done on an ongoing basis since the end of January. His new epilepsy specialist, whom I might add is amazing, has been diligently working to improve his quality of life. James has been put on new medications that work almost perfectly (when he takes them properly), he gets regular appointments, and he was included as a candidate for epilepsy surgery. James signed the papers two weeks ago to consent to the brain surgery, and this will be happening by next spring.

Since he was in the hospital last January for observation, video EEG and CT scans, he was listed as an ideal candidate for the surgery because of his uncontrolled seizure activity. Since then, they have been doing a lot of additional scans to get a full picture of his brain – MRIs, PET/CT, and soon an functional or F-MRI will be done. They now know roughly where in his brain it all begins, and they want to remove some of all of this tissue, that they believe to be malformed / damaged neurons that are causing seizures. If they need to, they will even wake him up during the surgery so they can stimulate his brain, allowing them to map his brain functions directly, also allowing them to avoid removing crucial parts of the brain so he does not come out paralyzed or unable to speak. Very cool! You know, from a purely scientific perspective. J

Personally, I find of this to be very exciting. My inner science geek loves learning about the brain, and dealing with doctors to learn how it is all working is all the more exciting for me. I’ve told all of his new doctors to be straight up with me, I can understand the medical mumbo jumbo about the brain because I know the brain already. Let’s just say, this has made for some great brain-talk with his epilepsy specialist who can talk to me and not have to “dumb down” the terminology because I already know it.

James is looking forward to the eminent surgery… though I am not convinced that he is as comfortable about them poking in his brain as he lets on. Mostly, I think he looks more forward to having fewer seizures. The neurosurgeon told us that it is unlikely to stop all of the seizures, but it will definitely give him a roughly 75% better quality of life – meaning fewer or no medications, and of course the possibility of getting his driver’s licence if all goes well. This would be great, because 75% fewer seizures would be a huge difference to him.

Well, this is all I have got for now. Not much considering I haven’t made a real post in eight months, but that’s how it goes.

Until next time, ciao.

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Author: Scott Oosterom

I live in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, Canada. I teach high school math/ science at Chief Little Pine School in Little Pine, Sk.

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