Crying at School

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by PinkFish, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2009

    I have a question about what I should tell my students after taking a week off from school. Last night my grandpa (who I was very close to) passed away suddenly. I live 1000 miles from my home, so I was not able to get to the hospital to tell him good-bye. Today I went ahead and went into work to prepare things so my sub as I will be out the rest of the week. My co-teacher and I explained to the students that I was going to be out of town the rest of the week, but we did not tell them why (although they asked me about it all day). Today after I dismissed my students I went into my room and totally lost it. After I thought they had dismissed all the busses I left my room to leave, however there were still a few busses left and several of my students saw me crying. I never ever wanted to let my student see me cry. With them being 2nd graders I am sure they will ask me why I was crying when I come back on Monday or ask me why I was gone. I would really like to tell them the real reason I was gone and then have them stop asking me but I am not sure if that is appropriate.
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 30, 2009

    Ask your P how this is normally addressed just to cover yourself but personally...

    Our school does tell the students. Sometimes we may not give all the details, but we do however, acknowledge that death is a natural part of life and it happens sometimes. We don't go into too many details but the person who experiences the loss needs to go to a funeral and will be sad about it. The students typically write sympathy cards. Mine were mailed to me. I cherished them. It's funny because the students all had various comments on each of their cards (creative) and the adults all basically wrote the exact same sentence. I did have one student go home and talk to their parent about it in more detail (ie, not just making a passing comment). I had students come up to me and genuinely care about what I was going through. They were compassionate but I don't think it was traumatic for anyone. I think it is okay for 2nd graders to know. In my case my P told the students since I left rather suddenly.
     
  4. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    Mar 30, 2009

    Pink Fish, I'm sorry to hear your students saw you crying. That can be quite unsettling since younger children often see us as the stronger ones in all situations. At the same time it sounds like your students are very sympathetic.

    Since your students seem genuinely concerned and not just after you during a point of weakness, I would tell them a loved one passed without going into how or why. I'm sure they will understand that you are sad because someone close to you has just passed.
     
  5. PreKyay

    PreKyay Companion

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    Mar 30, 2009

    First, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I think it is appropriate, if you feel comfortable, to explain to the students that you had a loved one pass away. Be prepared for questions, though. Simply tell them that you appreciate their concern and that you are glad to be back with your class. :)
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Mar 30, 2009

    I cried in front of my high schoolers when we planted a tree in honor of a student. They were very upset that I was crying.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 31, 2009

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I would tell them. "My grandpa was very old and very sick and he died. It made me sad."

    Phrase it in such a way that they don't start to worry about their own grandparents. But you are allowed to be human.

    The alternative is to have them wonder why you were crying, and their imaginations are going to come up with much worse than the actual truth.
     
  8. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Mar 31, 2009

    I am sorry for your loss. It is a very difficult situation when you are so far away! My thoughts are with you.

    Only do what you are comfortable doing. I lost two family members early last year and explained it to my 5th graders as matter-of-factly as I could. They were understanding and compassionate. They handled it well.
     
  9. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Mar 31, 2009

    I'm also sorry for your loss!! :hugs:

    I agree that telling them isn't a bad thing to do. I'd have the counselor or P with me to help answer questions or if you need to walk out of the room if you get emotional talking about it. Its ok for them to see you as a human being. My former students saw me cry when my student's parents died. The P and counselor helped me explain very general details to the kids and it helped me tremendously. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 4, so death is a very emotional topic for me.
     
  10. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 1, 2009

    I agree with the notion that you can tell them a small summarized bit of information, after all you are human just like them!
     
  11. jroot85

    jroot85 New Member

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    Apr 1, 2009

    Last year was my first year teaching, and the last week of school my grandfather passed away. It was almost a two month battle. The students could tell something was different and I wanted them to be prepared for me not being there the next day if God decided it was time for Grandpa to go. So I took one day and explained to my students that my Grandfather was very ill and it was a day to day battle if he was going to make it or not. My students were completely understanding. Each day they would ask how Grandpa was doing. It made me feel better knowing that they were thinking about him too like he was their Grandpa even. After two months he passed away, we only had a few days left in the school year. I went in early the morning that he passed away to get all my end of the year things together and put a few things in place for the sub. I of course was a wreck and many of my students saw me crying. It is amazing to see how much kids can care about you. When I returned a couple of weeks later to clean out my room for the summer I had cards all over my desk. I still to this day keep those letters and look back at them when I have a bad day. Even the student who I really didn't think cared at all; truly did. I had many students crying the day my principal told them. I think you have to know your students and definately let them know that your grandfather was ill. As others have said, I would talk with your principal just to make sure you are in the clear, but I don't think you can be gone for a week and not explain. It is good for them to see you as a person...and not just a teacher.
     
  12. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    Apr 1, 2009

    I'd tell them. You might have the guidance counselor come in as well. One of the buildings I teach at has been hit really hard with serious life things. One teacher, who also happens to be a 2nd grade teacher ..young..mid 20s. In the fall she had a misscarriage and was out. Then in janurary her and her husband lost everything in a house fire. The kids knew why she was out and were really sweet and worried about her.

    My sympathies to you and your family.
     
  13. KTeach27

    KTeach27 Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2009

    First Year Teacher

    Hi, I teach Kindergarten and I have not cried in front of them before but they definately know when something is wrong with me or when I'm down. I always talk to my kindergarteners about how I'm feeling in the simplest way I can. I find that my kindergarteners although very young really have been through a lot ( I work at a Title One School) and can understand much more than we think. Although it won't be easy I say something like "Ms. V is feeling very sad because someone she loved is no longer around." And if I didn't want to say anything further about it I'd let them know. "Ms. V doesn't want to say anything else about it for a while, because talking about it makes me sad." I find they are very sweet in my times of need and heed what I say. Good Luck and sorry for your loss.
     

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