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Home : 2002 : Jan : 17

    Death in student's family
    By New 5th Grade Teacher

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    I have been in this situation before. Two years ago, when I was in a long-term contract position, I worked on a 4 person team. Two of the students were a pair of twins, one of whom I had for homeroom and the other to whom I taught reading and language arts. Their dad passed away after a brief illness, just before Spring vacation. One of the other teachers (the other twin's homeroom teacher) and I attended both the wake and the funeral. The girls really appreciated our being there and begged us to attend the luncheon after the funeral as well. We both did go and the children were comforted by the fact that we were there for them. In class, since I taught language arts for all four sections, I had all of the kids make cards, notes, and drawings for both the girls and their family. We talked with them about how sad the girls might be when they came back to school and what appropriate ways would be to help them cope with their sadness. I was very pleased with how well the kids stepped up to the task.

    This year I have a student in almost identical circumstances as yours. His grandmother is currently in the hospital, terminally ill with cancer, and is not expected to live more than a week or two. She has always lived in the same two-family house as this boy's family and he is very close to her. I was just wondering today myself how I would deal with the inevitable when it comes. While I probably won't go to the funeral, I most likely will attend the visitation and will definitely send a sympathy card to the family. I might also have the other children write a brief note or make a card to let him know they are thinking of him.



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