Last week I was honored to participate in the great American teach in. For those of you who are not familiar with this, it is an event where the professionals are asked to come in and speak to school children about their profession. Lee Greenburg, licensed orthotist/prosthetist, who works at Westcoast Brace & Limb in Saint Petersburg, asked if I would like to help him with his presentation for this event. Lee explained that usually he goes each year and tells the children about what it is like to be a prosthetist. During his presentation, he likes to show the children a couple of different types of prosthetics. This year he had something different in mind.
For this year’s presentation Lee had decided he wanted to first tell the children why he had decided to become a prosthetist, the type of education required to enter this profession, and what a prosthetist does on a daily basis. Next, he introduced me and I briefly told my story about how I became an amputee. Then I talked about overcoming the challenges and how significant sports and exercise played in my recovery. Lee asked me to bring my handcycle, and running prosthetics. After I spoke about my road to recovery, took a couple fast laps around the track on my hancycle. Then I transitioned to my running prosthetics and jogged a couple laps. As I returned to the children their eyes were wide open with curiosity. So we opened it up to a question. All of the children asked great questions and it was great to see them excited about prosthetics.
While we were there, the teachers found our presentation so interesting that they asked if we would speak to a couple of the other classes. All together, we spoke to one 3rd grade class and four 6th grade classes.
I really enjoyed this event with Lee and his children’s classes. I felt it was great opportunity for the children to learn about the interesting profession of prosthetics/orthotics. Often times parents tell their children not to stare, pulling them away before they can ask any question that may be embarrassing, so it was also a great time to stare and ask any question they wanted to ask without their parents holding them back.
The one lesson that I wanted the kids to go home with was, it’s OK to ask questions and be curious, as long as they are sincere and not making fun of someone who is different.
I hope the class enjoyed the presentation as much as I did. I can’t wait to go back next year!