Day one back to work and I had to begin teaching meiosis. For those of you who don't have a biology background, this is the process of making sex cells. This process also can accidentally cause one sex cell to get an extra chromosome. This process is what caused Jackson's down syndrome. And I had to teach about it...
Believe it or not, first day back and I had a student ask me how does a cell get an extra chromosome. I showed him with my fancy magnetic chromosomes that I use to teach cell division and he responded with, "That causes autism, right?". I responded with, "No, it causes down syndrome." (Amongst other things depending on which pair of chromosomes it happens to...but that's besides the point)
I'll be honest...I had really hoped that I would come back to work and this topic would have already been taught by my long-term sub. I had confessed to Adam during my maternity leave that I was terrified about teaching this topic since "errors" during meiosis is a part of the curriculum we teach. Would I be able to discuss it knowing how personal this topic felt? Do I tell my students about Jackson? Can I just skip the lesson?
Don't worry, I didn't. But I also chose not to share our news with my students. It simply felt too personal. And I guess a part of me didn't want to see the reaction that I might get from them. Or maybe I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable...So I stuck to the details and made it through the week teaching the one topic that I was dreading.
And I survived. And when I look at Jackson, all I see are his big, beautiful blue eyes staring back at me. As my sister said one day, "it looks like he has stars in his eyes"... and this makes down syndrome a lot less scary.