SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Students across KELOLAND are settling back into their classroom routines by now, but those routines don’t come as easily for those who are also patients at the Sanford Children’s Hospital.
Brad Thorson is just starting his second year of being the school teacher at the Sanford Children’s Hospital.
“I was a principal at Brandon Valley for 31 years and this job just appeared one day and I applied for it because I knew I still wanted to work with kids and this has really been a win-win situation for me,” Thorson said.
Thorson works with each patient’s home school district to set up homework and plans so they are ready to go back when they leave the hospital.
“I help tutor students. You know, with the advent of online schooling, that has changed things. A lot of times I’m just the facilitator of getting kids on the computer, you know, getting them to do some school work, that type of thing,” Thorson said.
Thorson spends a lot of his time going into the patients’ rooms to help them with whatever schoolwork they have. But there’s also this classroom right inside the hospital where they can come and learn some more.
“A lot of times I like to take them to the classroom just to get them out of the hospital room, like I said, get them in a new environment. And just give them the opportunity to kind of be a student for a hour or hour and a half,” Thorson said.
“I like coming here, you know, I can focus real hard. It’s just, I like it,” Vincent Guffin, a high school freshman, said.
Giving young patients a sense of normalcy in a difficult time.
“We try to take their mind away from some of their medical situations,” Thorson said. “And if I can get them to think about school or sometimes we do a variety of other things whether it be art or, you know, read a book or whatever. Hopefully, just get their minds off those medical things for a little bit.”
The school teacher position at Sanford is all donor-based.