Good teachers never stop learning or sharing what they have learned with others.
Take Pat Conroy, 72, a former high school teacher of 35 years and a person living with type 1 diabetes for most of his life. Pat was a senior in high school when he started noticing swings in his energy level and constant thirst. Diabetes education as we know it did not exist in the 1960s when Pat was diagnosed, so he learned on his own how to manage the disease. He sometimes struggled with nerve-wracking insulin spikes, which concerned his family, especially when he went away to college.
Years later, one of Pat’s former students reached out to him after she started a job at an insulin pump company. Pat was curious about the pump, so this student began sending him information on different models. That same student later became the director of the diabetes clinic at a local hospital and invited Pat to join a Pump Club that brought people with diabetes together to talk about being active, food awareness, and new research. Though he had been managing his diabetes for decades, Pat said the Pump Club introduced him to new and helpful information.
The director of the diabetes clinic at the nearby hospital then asked Pat to volunteer weekly in her office, which lasted for 14 years, enabling him to connect with young, newly diagnosed people who have diabetes -- a natural fit for the retired teacher. He constantly others at the clinic, both young and old, to enroll in the education sessions there taught by diabetes educators. To this day, Pat continues to help others, mentoring them and reminding them that, with the right tools, they can take control of their diabetes and their life.
“Having taught, I see the value in education,” Pat said. “I think education is the key to success when it comes to many things. Diabetes is certainly no exception.”