Marta Bosch: “Children with Down syndrome are children exactly the same as those without it. They just ask for patience”

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By: Adriana Garcia, Joana Sanchez, Virginia Vacas, Cristina Villavicencio.

Marta Bosch is teacher of sick teenagers and she has five children (one with Down syndrome).

What do you do?

Teacher of sick teenagers.

When and why you decided to work at this?

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I decided to quit my job in the industry (although I liked my job, the working hours were very long) to look for a job that was much more suited to being a mother. The best option was to become a teacher. I started as a religion teacher but soon after I was required to have a degree in theology and I became a technology teacher. In September of four years ago, the inspector called me to offer me a difficult position as a home care teacher, that is, to give classes at home to sick children who could not go to school because of their illness. I was fascinated by the idea, if I enjoyed teaching healthy children and it filled me with great satisfaction to see how they assimilated new knowledge and moved forward, to think that I could do the same with students who needed it so much was a gift. I accepted and now I love it, I can say that I have a fantastic job and that it fills me a lot.

When you were little, did you want to dedicate yourself to this?

Honestly, I would never have thought that I would dedicate myself to this, and even less that I would like it so much. The truth is that when I was little I never thought about what I wanted to do when I grew up, I was happy and that was it.

Did you have a difficult situation in your work?

I had a student who was in a very bad mood, and when he saw me enter his room to give classes, he started shouting for me to leave, that he did not want to do them. It is a hard and unpleasant situation, that is why it is important to respect the students’ time and start first by creating a bond and incorporating academic knowledge little by little, at the student’s pace. The first thing we always do is to agree with the school a work plan adapted to the student’s possibilities and generally we only do languages and mathematics. The essential, so that the student is not punished with the loss of a course because of his illness.

Who has been your most difficult student?

There are no more difficult students, but there are students who make you suffer more. Unfortunately, there are students who do not overcome the disease and that is very hard for the teacher, since the bond that is created is very strong. We go into the students’ homes to give classes, we enter their intimacy. I can thank God that I have not lost any student, but once I had to call the mother of one of them while I was giving classes and then I had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital, I can assure you that you leave that house with a very bad body.

Between what ages are your students?

12 – 18 years old. They are students of ESO and Bachiller.

What have been the most important achievements of a student that  has made them feel happy?

There is one thing that is very clear, and that is, that no student wants to be sick. They all want to be able to go back to school and have a normal life. We home care teachers do a lot of training, we need it, and one of them is on bereavement. I can tell you that all my students are grieving the loss of health, so our goal is to be able to return them to school as soon as the doctor authorizes it and in the best possible conditions. Therefore, it is important to try to maintain, as much as possible, contact with the class, either with video calls, group work…. Now it is fantastic because there are virtual classes, which helps them to feel like one more. The pandemic has helped us a lot in this regard.

Do you have to work out of school hours?

Yes, sometimes. When my students are hospitalized.

Do you have children?

Yes, four boys, one with Down syndrome and one girl.

It have been difficult for you take care of your son with Down syndrome?

There is a phrase that was said to me when I learned that my son had Down syndrome that answers this question very well. “Children with Down syndrome are children exactly the same as those without it, they are just slower with their learning. They just ask for patience”. It is true that they have their longer times and that for them hurry does not exist, if you keep that in mind everything is very easy.

Can you tell us one anecdote of your son with Down syndrome?

When he was four years old he made his first prank at school, and the most surprising thing was the reaction of the teachers, great joy! Albert went alone to the bathroom, which was a hallway with four or five small toilets separated by walls without doors. I guess Albert did what he had to do and flushed the toilet. So far so normal. But the toilet must have been clogged and the water must have come up and that caught his attention. We figured all this out with the teachers. The fact is that someone downstairs saw a waterfall of water coming down the stairs and when they ran upstairs they saw it coming out of the bathroom. All the toilets were clogged by a roll of toilet paper wedged at the bottom and Albert was going one at a time flushing the toilet to get the water out. Luckily (or not so luckily) Albert is quite alert and curious. I can assure you that in La Farga he has also done a few. One day the director told me that they could be thankful for Albert’s time at the school, as the security measures were now excellent

Besides of your work, do you do some other activitie?

Yes, every Tuesday I have perpetual worship and on Saturdays I go walking.

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