Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Worst Day for a Teacher

Oddly enough, this never came up in an education class even though it will happen to all of us at some time or another.

My dad is a teacher so I learned about the phone calls early on.  The phone rings late at night or very early in the morning.  A staff member is on the phone.  In a shaking voice, your friend tells you that a student died.  That we don't know all the details but we think______________ happened.  That the crisis team wants everyone in by _________ time in the morning so we can figure out what to tell the kids.  That we can't believe it happened to such a nice kid.

I hate those calls.  I spend the night alternating between crying and staring blankly at things.  The crisis meeting is oddly tense since some people are crying, others are trying to plan and others are in shock.  No one knows how to make this easier for the students.   How can we?  A kid is dead and nothing is okay about that.

I hate the minute between when I get into the classroom and when I start talking to the students about what happened.  The rest of the day is always blurry to me afterwards even though it feels like it will never end during the day.  Hugging crying students, sharing memories, trying to keep some semblance of normality when the abnormal has happened.  In many ways, I feel especially bad for the students who did not know the student who died.  They're in a transformed school without knowing/feeling the reason for the change.

I hate the intrusive thoughts.  The kid is always on your mind even if you haven't seen them in years.  I hate the exhaustion.  I hate seeing students suffer.  

The first day after a student dies is the worst day for me as a teacher.  

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