Should I share personal info with my grade teachers?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BioAngel, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 8, 2008

    Just wonderin'.... I don't want to appear like I'm a slacker or overly emotional. But I'm wondering if I should share this news with my fellow teachers on my grade... I guess for support from them... idk

    I found out today that my fiance's grandfather, who I think of as my own Grandfather, is dieing of cancer. Doctor told him he can't have chemo and radiation will only keep him alive for a few months, tops. He decided to stop treatment and not even wear his back brace--- which means he has days to just a week or two to live. My fiance and his family are all in Michigan... I'm stuck in Jersey. I'm wondering if I could head over there for the funeral, but I'm wondering if that's allowable for new teachers. I don't want to lose this job at a private school because they think I'm over emotional about things.

    Secondly, I'm realizing my Dad's health isn't great either. Since I moved out this summer, he seems alot weaker when I go home. My Dad also has drinking problems, I'm starting to notice bruises (large ones) on his legs, which I know can be caused by liver damage due to drinking. But instead of talking to him about it, I'm terrified into silence. I've never been super close to my Dad, but we've been getting better lately.

    So I have two possible deaths on my mind--- morbid I know, but I'm starting to have really bad nightmares. It finally caught up to me when my Sweetheart told me there's nothing else Grandpa is going to try to do, he just wants to go home and relax and live with his daughter, son-in-law, wife, and two grand sons. I finally told my fiance about what I've been noticing about my Dad and now I haven't stopped crying since I got the phone call. Not even a hot shower has stopped the tears.

    Still, I have a set of notebooks to grade, two activities to plan, I have to write plans for Thurs and Friday since I have no clue what I'm doing.... and all I want to do is curl up into bed and sleep.

    Is it okay for new teachers to share what they're going through like this? I work in a friendly place, I'm just worried it might portray me poorly if I seem really crappy over the next few weeks. I'm going to try my best to suck it up and work hard for the kids, but if I'm like this every evening, I'll be a mess by the end of Sept. :(
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I think you would be better off letting everyone know. They will surely pick up on something being wrong and this will let them know you are OK.

    Last year, I had a similar situation. I moved to NC all alone and with in a 2 month span, 2 people died back in MI and my dad was put in the hospital with MRSA. One of the people who died was a friend of my moms and the other was someone who I thought of as a second mother. We were very close. I like to think that she thought of me as the daughter she never had (she had sons). I am not someone who shares my feelings easily, but between the move, being completely alone, my dad being in the hospital for several weeks and a few deaths (PLUS all the school stuff), I broke. I just started bawling over something stupid in my P's office (I think it was a parent issue- I can't even remember) and was in there crying for HOURS. They had to find someone to cover my classroom.
    They were all relieved because they knew something was not right and were not sure what was wrong with me. It felt a lot better to let everyone know, too!
     
  4. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I think it's up to you! If you feel comfortable enough with your coworkers to share this information, then do it. There is nothing unprofessional about caring for your family members and being upset when someone is not well or dying. And since you will most likely not be in the best of moods over the next few weeks, I think it's wise to probably say SOMETHING. You don't have to go into all the details if you're not comfortable, but you could simply say that your family is going through a difficult time. Also, I don't see why your work would have a problem with you taking some time to attend a funeral. I've always worked at private schools and they've always been very understanding to personal situations like that. Just talk to your boss and let him/her know what's going on and see what the policy is.
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 8, 2008

    Oh, as for the issue with your dad, I might just say he is sick and not go into details since they are suspicions and not facts (and personal at that).
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Sep 8, 2008

    Awwwww... I'm sorry. I agree with the above. I would tell them what's going on, but you don't need to go into too much detail. They'll understand. At one point, everyone's gone through something like this.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 8, 2008

    Thanks for the advice. I spoke to my fiance about my feelings and he said I should tell them something about it. I'm actually rather close to my co-homeroom teacher and one of the English/SS teachers in my group... and the math teacher and the other English/SS teacher are sweethearts too. My closest buddy on the team said if there's ever a day I just can't teach and she's free that block, she'll head over and teach the class for me.

    Heaven forbid I ever get a phone call from my fiance or my Mom about something bad--- I know I'll have to take her up on that.

    I know that the headmasters of my school see me walking in much earlier than most of the teachers (I get there around 7:10 instead of the 7:40 we're required to do) and I leave late--- today I didn't leave until around 5/5:30. Plus I've had glowing reports from the teachers and students--- I wouldn't think needing a break from teaching would case too many angry people.

    I think I need to spend this upcoming weekend planning out briefly the next two weeks just in case. And take more time off to take care of myself--- I deal with depression and anxiety too and that can be an awful mix at a time like this.

    And since it's already midnight, I'm off to bed.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 8, 2008

    Share at least the basics. Your df's grandpa is your grandpa in law in everything but name. You have every right to grieve for him. Your suspicions about your father are also a reason to worry and stress out. You need the support of your coworkers in a time like this.

    You don't have to go into all the gory details, but you can share the info that your g'pa in law is in end stage cancer and you are very worried about your father's health. I think you will be suprised at the support you will get from your fellow teachers.
     
  9. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Sep 10, 2008

    I agree with mmswm. I found out today that two teachers lost their fathers last year (I'm new this year). Just imagine if they had kept that to themselves! Instead, they could lean on each other and other staff members for support. Staff can be just wonderful in times of hardship-they may even show up at your door with meals and other support. We tend to feel our co-workers pain deeply and want to know how to help. Keep it light right now, but don't refuse their help-it will be good for everyone. If that makes sense.
     
  10. zoodies

    zoodies Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2008

    Share what you feel comfortable. I lost my brother 3 years ago and did not return to work for 1 1/2 weeks. It was amazing how much they pulled together for me and how supportive everyone was. I know there have been many teachers at my school over the past year dealing w/ death and cancer, as a community we just do what needs to be done for the kids, so I'm sure everyone will be supportive for you:)
     
  11. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2008

    I agree that you should at least tell them the bare bones of it. I lost my grandfather the year before last while I was teaching and everyone was very supportive! He was in Del. and I'm in Va....I went to my principal and told her that I may have to take a few days off and I applogize, but i'd give her notice ASAP...that my grandfather was at home on hospice with anywhere from days to 2 weeks to live. She prayed for me and left a note in the email she sent that day to the school to keep me and my family in their prayers. I went through a lot of stress last year with my dad (I'm am a BIG daddy's baby!) having a heart-attack (they think) and having stints put in not once, but twice. Again, my coworkers were the best! They prayed for him and offered to do lessons for me if I had to leave unexpectantly.

    I'm very sorry to hear about your grandfather to be and your dad. I hope you can find a way to talk to your dad and at least put your mind at ease a bit about things. *hugs*
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 10, 2008

    Thanks all... I haven't mentioned it to anybody yet and I'm usually able to stay cheerful with the kids. We have a number of parents who's kids I teach and they continue to stop me in the hall and tell me how happy their child is to come to my class. One Mom just stopped me and said while he son finds the information hard and doesn't like science, he ADORES me. So I'm finding alot of happiness just being here.

    When I come home, I pass out and cry. I'm worried about my family in Michigan and there isn't much I can do to help them.

    Anyways, I'm going to end it here, I'm still at school and I feel the tears coming on. I know it will in the end be alright, it's just difficult now.
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 10, 2008

    :hugs:

    Don't forget we're here for support when you need it.
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 11, 2008

    Grandpa passed away last night--- my fiance told me during homeroom (I have computer access all day). Not the best time to tell me as I have the whole day ahead of me, but I know he died in his sleep, he wasn't in pain, and that he was a Christian. So that's comforting.

    I'm going to do what I can to make it through the day--- suck it up for today and tomorrow and give myself time to breath on the weekend. It's not that I don't think I should go home and relax... but I know Grandpa wouldn't have wanted me to miss two days of school cause he was in heaven.

    Plus I have my coffee mug and a pile of chocolate on my desk atm... the Lord is good in all ways. I know Grandpa isn't suffering anymore and that means alot to me.

    Thank you for the advice and support. *hugs*
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 11, 2008

    :hugs: My condolences. Make sure you take care of yourself.
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 11, 2008

    I decided I can't keep walking around school unfocused, shaking, and on the verge of tears so I will be taking a personal day tomorrow. My mentor, thank God, stopped by to check up on me (randomly, she didnt know what was going on) and I told her so she explained to me what to do. Sub is already set for tomorrow, plans are done, I just have to make some extra copies for tomorrow's class.

    I guess I look a little frazzeled.... the secretary was like "Can you do all of this?" when she told me the procedure, I just nodded and made the phone call. But knowing how news gets around, I'm sure by Monday everybody will be stopping by to check on me. (In a nice, concerned way)

    Tomorrow, I'm planning on sleeping in and just resting. I have alot of planning to do over the weekend, so I desperately need this one day to mourn and pray.
     
  17. teacherforlife

    teacherforlife Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2008

    I see no problem sharing this information. I try to never share issues that apply to my health or anything that may make me appear weak. I am sure others probably think I am silly for being careful about such things, but I have seen other teachers relay so much information that they are perceived as weak teachers in jeopardy of falling apart at a moments notice.
     
  18. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Sep 12, 2008

    Death hurts and your feelings are normal. About a year and a half ago, I got a call at school that my husband's 6 mos old granddaughter died. I could not help myself to cry in front of my students. My students were very concerned for them and many of them went home and told their parents. I did make it thru the day, but like you I did take the next day off.
     
  19. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I feel better today, but I won't be able to travel out there to visit. I'm spending today to do my own little mourning ritual and then I have to get back to work planning a new unit over the weekend. I'm still sad--- I'm sorta in a "I don't believe it" stage now after grieving.

    I spent last night ordering flowers and I found this beautiful prayer box that plays Amazing Grace (which is my boyfriend's and mine hymn--- the hymn that always seems to be at the service that day when we go to church on important days in our relationship), so I feel better knowing that they have something physical to show my support. I hope that makes sense--- I know I didn't have to get anything, but I feel comforted knowing I did.

    If I didn't have so much planning to do, I would have considered going out there, but there's no way I can show up on Monday with nothing planned. My brain is just mush anyways and I hardly remember what I planned with the kids to do. So today is break day and then hopefully I can refocus tomorrow.
     

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