Chapter 3: For Middle School Teachers
As a middle school teacher, you probably know what a tough time middle school can be for any kid. If you add food allergies into the mix though, it makes everything more challenging. Middle school is the first time students with food allergies will get a chance to be independent. They will not have the same classroom teacher everyday who knows about their allergies. They will also probably be in a new school with new friends which will be a difficult adjustment. They will need figure out how to tell their new friends about their allergies, how to tell their new teachers about their allergies and how their allergies fit into their identity as an adolescent. As a middle school teacher, here are some things you can do to help your food allergic students:
- On the first day of school, pass around a getting to know you sheet. Ask students about their hobbies, interests and if they have any food allergies. This will allow students to feel like they are in control to self disclose (even if you already know) and it will help you know if it is safe to bring in treats for your students
- Learn to use epinephrine auto-injectors. Anaphylactic reactions (the most severe form of allergic reactions) can happen anywhere and to anyone regardless of history of allergies or not. Becoming familiar with how to use an auto-injector could potentially save a student's life
- Don't joke about student's allergies. Middle schoolers are impressionable and if you do it, the students will think it is ok, even though it is not. Make your food allergic students feel safe.
- Keep your classroom clean. If kids are allowed to eat in the classroom, make sure to keep the desks clean for students with allergies.
- Make sure students with food allergies know that you are an open ear to listen if they are having any problems at home or at school regarding their allergies.