LCM Spanish Students share Get Well Cards with Pediatric Patients in Galveston
Good teachers recognize and take advantage of all kinds of opportunities to help their students grow; emotionally as well as academically. Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School Spanish teacher, Sandra Warren and husband John, pastor of First United Methodist in Orange, went to Houston to visit a church member following surgery. When they arrived, the member, Judy McClelland, was asleep, but daughter Myra Sanders was with her and that’s where this story goes into “teacher mode.”
Myra retired from LCMCISD when she and husband Alan moved to the Houston area and she is now teaching patients at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Galveston. According to Myra, “Sandra told me she was teaching Spanish at LCM High School and I had the idea of her students making encouragement or get-well cards, written in Spanish and English.” 95% of Myra’s students, kindergarten through grade 12, speak Spanish. “Sandra loved the idea and told me she would have her advanced Spanish students make cards.”
Sanders said that the patients (students) have loved them. “I teach English as a Second Language and the students are so excited to read in their native language and then try to read the same message in English. I was especially excited when I came across a couple of cards made by Ashley Knight, who I was fortunate to have in a gifted and talented enrichment class, eight years ago, when she was in the fourth grade.” Ashley, along with other students taught by Sanders, have recently graduated from LCM.
“This small project has brought huge smiles to some patients that needed that extra encouragement,” said Sanders. “I think we will make this an annual thing. I’m very proud of these LCMHS Spanish students and so proud of my Shriners students.” Myra has just completed her first year of teaching at Shriner’s, though she thought she had retired. She says, “It is one of my most favorite teaching positions I have ever had. I taught 112 students in my schoolroom, from August through May, and only 7 students were from the USA and spoke English. Two students spoke Mandarin Chinese and 103 spoke Spanish. Many students are from Mexico and some are from Bolivia, Guatemala, and Panama. The students come to school in between their doctor clinic visits, physical and occupational therapy sessions, psychology appointments and Child Life-structured play visits. They attend about an hour a day, several days a week.”
Ms. Sanders tells us that some patients are there for only a week, while others have been in the hospital for months. She also teaches bedside in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for a few moments each day. She was a respiratory therapist during her first career in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and even worked briefly in a burn unit. “I think returning to the hospital setting to teach was a God send,” she said. “I also work with pediatric patients across the street at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). These are patients that are in the hospital for long periods of time and need help coordinating with their schools to get assignments. These patients are from area districts and speak English.”
Anyone who has observed Myra Sanders in a classroom or around children, students or her own grandchildren, know that she is definitely where she is supposed to be. “I have loved my ‘retirement’ job and hope to keep doing this for a while longer. My experiences teaching in the LCM District helped prepare me for this special type of teaching. I miss LCM and Orange but know I am needed here…plus, three out of five of my grandkids are in Galveston.” Ms. Sanders is now teaching two mornings a week in Summer School at the Shriners program.
Ms. Warren’s Class included seniors, juniors and one freshman.