What would you do if...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by BumbleB, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    You planned to read a novel with your class in which a minor character dies of cancer, and you have a student in class whose mother has (and will most likely die from) cancer?

    To read or not to read, that is the question....
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Might depend on the grade but I think I'd look for another novel.:hugs: to your student and his/her family.
     
  4. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Depending on the age of the student, I would approach him/her individually and ask if s/he would be ok with reading that novel as a class. If it turned out to be ok, I would make sure that the student knew that it was ok to step out at any time if s/he was uncomfortable.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Depending on age of the girl, your relationship with her, and how much you want to teach it, I might speak to her about it. If she's really young, though, I'd likely just pass.
     
  6. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    She is in 8th grade. I have quite a close relationship with her family, because I had her brother last year and he was a very high needs child. Her mother told me about her cancer before she told her own family (including her parents and children).

    It's a very sad situation, but she seems to be coping well. I plan to speak to our guidance counselor about this, but I thought I'd ask the sagacious minds of AtoZ as well :)
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd probably talk to the parents first if you have that good of a relationship with them. I could see it going either way... she might see it as a valuable connection tool, or it could be crushing for her.

    If it's a minor character that doesn't appear in the book, you could also just skip that section of the book, but the second you do that, your eighth graders would immediately go to read the part you skip.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If you are close with the family, I would speak with them as well.
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I wouldn't read it. There are plenty of books to choose from. Read that one another year.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I'd skip it. A former teammate of mine read Bridge to Terebithia (sp?) every year. She skipped it one year because one of her students had recently lost a parent (also to cancer). She didn't want to read a book where a character died. Even though the real life death and fictional death were very different.

    Even though his mother is alive, I would be even more apprehensive in this case since the situations are similar.
     
  11. comaba

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    I wouldn't read it either. School may be the one place the student can try to forget whatever unhappiness unfolds at home.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    There are so many wonderful books out there...I would absolutely switch.

    Why put this poor child through any additional emotional stress? Regardless of how well she seems to be coping, why make things harder?

    And if you ask mom, you're reminding her of what's already heeping her awake at night: the idea that her daughter and her high needs son may very well grow up without a mom.
     
  13. OhThePlaces

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    I absolutely agree.
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    As someone who lost a parent to cancer young (but not that young), I would advise changing it. I can remember going to a movie in which someone died of cancer, and I cried through the whole thing, and dreamed about it afterwards. The person who took me to the movie felt really badly for a long time. I just don't see an upside.
     
  15. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    :yeahthat:
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

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    Views can differ. My mother was diagnosed with cancer a little after my fourteenth birthday and died a year later. If the question had been put to me, I'd have said to go ahead with the book.
     
  17. futureteach24

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    I'd find another novel. Kids are resilient and put on a brave face but.that would probably to hard for her.
    I know 8th grades sounds old enough but my uncle had cancer when I was that age and he almost died. It was a very hard year for us. I couldn't have imagined having to read a novel about that.
    I know it sucks having choosen a good novel and planned out the unit. Sorry:(
     
  18. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Thanks everyone. There are plenty of great books out there, for sure. We're kind of in a pickle because our curriculum director didn't order the books we wanted, and this novel is the quickest thing we could get 30 copies of. We only have one other book to choose from (that is a class set), and we lent that set to another teacher (thinking our director would order the books). Kind of sucks that we have to be put in this position :(

    I guess back to square one!
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I'm going with "find another novel" as well. If you talk to the child, no matter how nicely, she may feel put on the spot and say "yes" even if she doesn't really feel that way. Or she might be ok with it right now, but differently when it actually happens.

    Even talking to the family isn't enough, IMO, because they can't possibly know how their child will truly feel. There's just no reason to risk hurting her further. Plus, what if the mother actually ended up dying while reading the book. It'd be even worse.
     
  20. ecteach

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    Sep 14, 2013

    not
     
  21. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Exactly. I don't think it's worth asking the child or family. I would skip the book altogether and certainly wouldnt ask the family or child any questions about it. They are prbably in a completely different state of mind.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    So as of this moment you have no options... Will you see about borrowing a class set from another teacher/school or see if a new set can be purchased? If you must teach a novel according to your curriculum map or whatever, and it has to be done now, you are certainly if a tough spot.

    I found comfort in books during a couple rough times in my adolescence. Being able to relate to characters or situations was huge. Everyone is different.
     
  23. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    We are seeing if we can borrow a class set of something else from the county library. We could ask for more books to be purchased, but we are reorganizing our whole curriculum, and the book we're supposed to be teaching may not "make the cut" for common core, so they're hesitant to buy more. So we found this replacement book, but now that's out due to the sensitive nature of the text.

    Basically, we have no resources (not even a textbook). It's a bad situation, but we're making it work. I'm thinking that maybe we'll revisit our short story unit that we did last year.
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    What book is it that you're thinking about? Maybe there would be something specific that could be done with the book.
     
  25. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom.
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Eek... yeah, I wouldn't touch that one with a ten foot pole, even if it wasn't for the family situation.
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Ouch. Even though she MAY actually find comfort in it, I would pass.
     
  28. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Have you taught this book to middle schoolers before?
     
  29. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    No, it was recommended to me by a teacher in another district who uses it in her 8th grade English class.
     
  30. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our junior English teacher teaches that. One girl lost her mom to cancer in the middle of the unit actually. She wanted to read it and actually enjoyed it very much. Each student is different.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Just curious, since I teach in a Catholic school and it wouldn't be a problem... would you expect flack from families that don't believe in Heaven?
     
  32. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I work in a very religious, blue collar town...so most likely not. However, the book does not portray Heaven as what we all think it to be. It's really not a religious book at all. It more makes you think about your life on Earth and living it with purpose.

    It really is a great book, short and high-interest. I just don't want to take the gamble of making my student feel uncomfortable.

    We are going to work on citing textual evidence with articles and short stories this week. Hopefully that will buy us some more time to figure out what we want to do. And I'll have to drive back to the county library (around a half hour away) to return the 30 copies that I borrowed! :lol:
     

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