The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Coping with Loss

Today was a sad day in my classroom. Without going into many details, we learned that a member of our classroom recently suffered the loss of a parent. It came as a complete surprise to everyone. I am very grateful for the support of the principal, social worker, outreach specialist, and school psychologist, who were all on-hand to talk with students who were coping with grief. We also learned that another student had recently lost a close family member, so the grief was compounded.

Despite this tragic loss, I had the responsibility to continue to teach today. I told my class how important it was that we acknowledge the sadness, but that we needed to come together as a classroom family and support each other as we worked through the remainder of the day. The students did a great job of doing just that.

In the afternoon, our social worker came in and helped the students create sympathy cards for their classmate. The cards were very touching, very sweet, and far more sincere than what I would expect to see from an adult. I think that we, as adults, have been socialised to treat so many topics as taboo that we are unable to fully express how we feel to others. My students, on the other hand, have not yet learned to put up these walls, and they were able to express sympathy to a classmate in a very real, honest way.

As we continue to move forward, we will grow closer together as we help support one another during this difficult time. I hope that all of us, and especially our classmate, will remember the good things.

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