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First Day-Why wouldn't you tell me?

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Riding4Him Riding4Him is offline
 
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First Day-Why wouldn't you tell me?
Old 09-04-2019, 06:38 PM
 
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First day at a new school. I teach 3rd grade and this is a new district and school for me so I don't know the parents and I had a good report with parents in my last position but I'm the newbie here. So one little boy is being real squirrelly all morning. I've gone over the rules and procedures but here he is all over the place mentally. At lunchtime another teacher pulls me over to tell me that the boy's dad had died two days ago! What? I guess he had cancer and was in hospice care and the parents were divorced but why wouldn't you say anything? Now I don't want to be hard on him but I'm not sure what to say or if I should let it be and have him bring it up. Ugh!


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Old 09-04-2019, 07:27 PM
 
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I would start by just building rapport with him and asking general questions about how he is doing that leave the door open for him to talk about it with you if he wants to.

Also, email the counselor and suggest him for extra support.

Boy that would have been nice to know before the start of the day. Gesh he could have broken down and you would have been clueless. The mom really should have touched base with you at the very least. The fact that she didnt might mean that this kiddo is gonna need extra support on top of the trauma because mom may not be on top of things and may not be a good communicator.
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Old 09-05-2019, 05:38 AM
 
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And on the other hand, maybe boy and mom don't want the death of dad to be what defines this young man.

I wouldn't treat him differently. You might want to schedule a meeting with mom to check in and discuss his squirrely behavior, especially if you find you can't make corrections on his behaviors due to him being sensitive or his reaction (if you find that true).

He might need compassion, but giving him a pass because of this isn't doing him any good. Does that make sense? Just trying to see the other side of a situation. Maybe- who knows what mom is thinking.

It would have been nice to know some background, but like I said... it shouldn't necessarily change your treatment of the child.
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Second Day
Old 09-05-2019, 06:22 PM
 
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Good points; I would say that day two was better. He was not all over the place like day one. Mom did ask for my email (was on the beginning of school paperwork) so I gave it to her. At the end of the day I asked if she had sent anything and she said no. ???? He mentioned dad once today to a peer. I missed the conversation but at least he's talking.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:28 AM
 
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This is a tough situation... we had seven parent deaths at our school several years ago. As a small rural school, we all pulled together and worked our way through. We sorta followed the children's lead... some needed support, others not so much so. Some families handled it well, others not so much so... I was particularly worried about one second-grader so I (with involvement and approval of her teacher and the principal) initiated a conversation with her, explaining that she and I had something in common. We both lost our dads at seven years old. She seemed genuinely surprised and we talked for quite a while, ending with an agreement that we'd find a way to talk again if either of us felt the need. It started out being one of the most difficult things I've ever done and ended being one of the most rewarding things I've done.

We can't always know what's going on in a kid's head and heart. But I think it's important for them to know we are available and we care. In any event, it's also important for the kids to know they are not alone and, without diminishing what they are experiencing, they were not singled out--others have had similar experiences.

One day, one of the kids told me that Sally's pet bunny had died. I managed to find a moment with her and said, "I've heard that you lost your bunny. I'm so sorry." She replied "It's okay, we're getting a new one Saturday."

As others have suggested, it's important to maintain normality--predictability and security are very important. That doesn't mean it's easy to judge the degree of support and compassion to display.


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