Student Well-Being

Colleagues

November 01, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It’s hard to get more hands-on than Cathy Camargo’s Emergency Medical Technicians class at Bernalillo High School. Any given week may find 11th and 12th graders suctioning vomit from windpipes, splinting broken femurs, and bandaging wounds thick with blood.

In this, the first high school EMT class in New Mexico—and one of only about 20 nationwide—the student victims may be pretending, but the gore sure looks real. That’s because Camargo has worked with makeup artists from the state’s Emergency Medical Services Bureau. To simulate victims’ burns, for instance, she applies warm latex, which rises as it cools, resembling blisters. The 49- year-old health teacher clearly relishes the creative process. “We’ve made some wonderful barf,” she says. Her recipe? Mandarin oranges, red food dye, and applesauce.

Students who take the EMT class, an honors elective, tend to have an interest in medical careers. Those who pass become certified to ride with fire department or ambulance crews as first responders. Observing that disasters can be paralyzing, Camargo added a culminating activity to her class two years ago: a drill that tests students’ wits in the face of crises.

Last year’s mock disaster began when the school’s welding teacher detonated two loud, but harmless, balloon bombs he’d made out of oxygen and acetylene, a smelly gas. When the EMT students arrived, they found a classroom that looked as if it had blown up, complete with groaning victims. They immediately set up flagged zones: severe casualties to red, those who could last an hour to yellow, “walking wounded” to green, and the dead to black. Working in teams, they made swift judgments about whom to treat and stabilized victims for transport to the hospital.

“I learned a lot about how I am under pressure,” says Briana Chavarillo, 18. “If I am ever in a scenario like that...I won’t freak out.” Classmate Elisha Lovato, 19, identifies a subtler lesson. During the drill, she recalls, the students ran to visibly injured victims and ignored the rantings of a seemingly unscathed one. They failed to see that her eccentric behavior indicated a lethal blood clot in the brain. “We had to learn to take a look at the entire scene quickly before acting,” she says. “You’ve got to pay attention to more than just the gory stuff.”

This year, rather than staging one major disaster, Camargo is planning spontaneous small-scale drills to catch students off-guard. Her ultimate aim? To help students adopt the motto that guides her teaching: “Semper Gumby,” or “Always Flexible.”

—Lillian Hsu

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Seamless Integrations for Engagement in the Classroom
Learn how to seamlessly integrate new technologies into your classroom to support student engagement. 
Content provided by GoGuardian
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion 'Do I Belong or Not?' How to Help Students Navigate Social Relationships
What do you say to students who are struggling to feel like they fit in—and what do you avoid?
Geoffrey L. Cohen
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being Goodbye to COVID Vaccine, Testing Mandates. What That Means for Schools
The changes come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its COVID-19 guidance for schools.
3 min read
Doctor putting a band aid on woman's arm.
E+
Student Well-Being NYC School Vaccination Study Shows Differences Based on Race and Community
Schools serving a majority of Asian students had the highest vaccination rates.
2 min read
Vaccine record.
Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Help Students Define Success
What research says about grades and motivation: Don’t think of A’s as the ultimate goal.
Jennifer Aaker
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty