Tens of thousands of kids are treated at Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson every year for minor injuries to chronic illnesses. Along with doctors and nurses, there's a team of academic professionals who aid the children's recovery.
"On second floor there is a skull fracture in bed 251. Holly that was an ATV accident," said Pam McCord. Listening to Pam Parks McCord, one might think she's a healthcare worker leading a meeting to update staff about their patients." Jessica your patient from the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit is on bed one," said Pam McCord.
Actually McCord is one of 10 certified teachers at Batson Children's Hospital. She's heading-up a morning meeting to talk about the days assignments. Once they're done, they'll begin their rounds, fanning out across the facility and outpatient clinics to help children with their school work.
"Matter can change in two ways. What do you think those two ways are?" said Self. "Physical and chemical change," said Iamber.
Teacher Allyn Self finds 14-year old Iamber just coming back from a children's party where they had fun face painting. She's a bit tired but perks up to study her science lesson with Self at her bedside. The 8th grader is undergoing cancer treatment.
"Were you worried about school work when you came,?" said Frazier. "Yes I was because I didn't know they had teachers here and I thought that I was going to miss all my school work, until I met Miss. Allyn," said Iamber.
Iamber wants to be a doctor or a rapper when she grows up. Self says keeping children focused on their school work provides a sense of normalcy that's comforting to them.
"We want Iamber to even though she's not attending her class right now, we want this to still feel like she is going to attend class no matter. So, she knows everyday we are going to do school just like as if she were at her school too," said Self.
The hospital school is comforting to Iamber's mother Ferlanda Lewis. She likes the one-on-one attention her daughter receives and it reduces the stress of worrying about her Iamber falling behind in school.
"Well, school is just one less thing I have to worry about because we have great people up here like Miss. Allyn and it's some more teachers like Miss. McField and they're all just so awsome," said Lewis.
"The stress that comes is a medical stress, not knowing what's going on with your child," said Heiden.
Laurie Heiden is the Hospital School Childlife Coordinator. The school has been here for 30 years. They serve more than 130 kids a day from public, private and home school settings. Heiden says they work with schools to coordinate class assignments and if necessary, create their own lessons. She says they work around the children's medical care.
"Our teachers have to do kind of spot checks. And so when they go in and if they can go in and work with that child for 30 or 45 minutes they will. If they can't they'll put it down and come back and try again," said Heiden.
Their goal is to keep kids on grade level. Heiden says the teachers have to meet the same standards as public school teachers and are licensed. Some are early childhood teachers, others K-12 instructors and some work with special needs children. Not all kids will go back to school because of their conditions. In those cases, teachers coordinate academic services for the children in their homes. There are also some who cannot go home. Michelle Goreth is a nurse practitioner who treats trauma patients.
"We have some that deal with children who actually live in the hospital after their injuries or disabilities requires complex needs. They are part of those children's lives and families," said Goreth.
Four-year old Trekeion hopes to go home soon. "And this is, said Gandy. "Red," said Trekeion. "Yellow, yellow, that's right! What about this one?" said Gandy.
Kristy Gandy, is helping the pre-schooler learn his colors. He was airlifted to the hospital from Fayette, suffering from seizures. Today, he's bright-eyed and ready to go to the classroom after eight days in bed.
"Just really impressed for him to have gone from unable to hold a conversation to doing some things that for a 4-year old is some what difficult, especially for one that's been sick," said Gandy.
Remember Iamber the 14-year old. She's heading home soon, but she'll be back for treatments. "I'm going to miss it," said Iamber. "What are you going to miss," said Frazier. "Miss Allyn and all the nurses," said Iamber.
Missing the hospital may seem unusual for some. But for sick children, these hospital teachers are a beacon of light and encouragement when they need it most.