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Should I be a teacher is I have epilepsy?

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 15:33
Hi, I've had epilepsy (complex partial and grand mal) for ten years. I had to drop out of school, and currently live on disability epilepsy hasn't changed, I really want to go back to school to get my degree as a secondary education art teacher. I've loved teaching art, but just need a degree. However, I'm concerned that if I complete this degree, is teaching a practical profession for someone like me? This is my dream, and hopefully a path to living independently, but I want to know if this is a good idea before I go back to school and decide on this degree path.


Hello!I have a different view

Submitted by Stacey5068 on Sun, 2020-04-05 - 01:39
Hello!I have a different view on your situation as I graduated college with a Bachelors in Science to go into the field of education.  Back then, the job market was flooded and I couldn't even get an interview, but I didn't have to report that I had epilepsy to apply.  I went back and got a Masters in Science to teach special education.  I currently hold 4 teaching licensees and I did get full time employment.  However, I never revealed that I had epilepsy  There is a stigma attached with epilepsy and although you should be safe to fall under American's with Disabilities Act, I lost a job as a secondary special education teacher because the principal and vice principal found out I had seizures.  I was pregnant at the time and there wasn't a lot of research on how Lamictal affects pregnant women, but it was a safer medication.  However, there wasn't enough research on how that medication affected the blood level.  In my case, we found out that Lamictal dramatically dropped my blood level and I had a couple complex partial seizures while at school.   Teachers need at least three years before they can get tenure and I had perfect observations prior to the seizures; when I had my tenure meeting both the principal and vice principal sat down with me and said they couldn't renew my contract for bogus reasons such as "I didn't smile enough" and a mother complained that I sent her child to the office because he was using.  The student came to class 'high' more than once!  My doctor told me that it sounded like discrimination and I should pursue it.  It was discrimination, but I didn't pursue it because they were giving me recommendations for another job.  I found another job the following year, but I never told anyone about the seizures because I didn't want discrimination.  I worked at that job for 11 years and never had a seizure.  I did let the nurse know about my condition just in case something ever happened.I understand why administrators would be afraid to have a teacher in their building who has seizures.  Although there is a significant amount of information given for people to know what to do when someone has a seizure, it is still frightening for kids to see their teacher have one.  It isn't as frightening for adults, but I feel like their ignorant and look at you - waiting to see if your okay or if something is 'off'.  On a positive note, I think that a secondary teacher would or should be better because kids are older and have learned about epilepsy in health class - so they are comfortable.  A parent wouldn't be as concerned about an elementary homeroom teacher having a seizure and have a scared child.  A secondary student either wouldn't say anything or mention it but it's no big deal for them.Even though I had a bad experience I still encourage you to go for it because you sound like you have a lot of passion and skills students would benefit from.  If you are upfront with administration from the get-go, they would hopefully be receptive and would educate their staff before school starts.  My experience was over 15 years ago, hopefully you have a positive experience.My message relays a bit of reality in the work place, especially schools since I was a secondary teacher.  However, I also want to be positive in the end.  When I first went into college, the dean of education where I was going told me that this wasn't the career for me and I'd never make it.  I proved him wrong - you can set your mind to anything you want to do!      

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