Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good News, Sad News

Today we have some great stuff happening on the good news front, the first of which is that S.'s baby sugars came back normal!!! That is a major relief. The second is that S. has been entering on-line contests like mad and we actually won one, and it's big----an organic crib mattress! Can you believe it?! We had registered for one, and my mom was going to buy it, but now she can spend her money on baby in other ways. We are overjoyed! The third piece of good tidings is that S.'s cousin K. delivered her twins Friday and they are ridiculously tiny and cute, and mom is doing well. Yay yay yay.

On the sad news front, I am learning how to deal with teenage grief and loss as two of the seniors in the high school I teach at were in a serious car accident over the weekend, and one will probably not make it. I teach the younger brother of the boy who will probably not make it, plus a class of already-grieving seniors and I just really don't know what to do. I have never been faced with a situation like this as an educator, and it's hard enough to keep it together myself, let alone be a pillar of strength the kids can feel comfortable and safe around. How do I do this? I am so saddened for the school, the family, my student who will potentially lose his only brother--when you see these tragedies on the news, they seem so remote, so distant. You feel sadness for the families of the lost children, but never truly realize the impact this loss will have upon the faculty, other students, and the community at large. I don't pray, but I am sending good vibes out into the universe for this family and our school. I can be nothing but sad.

7 comments:

Amanda said...

C - I experienced this kind of loss this past year. One of our K students tragically drowned in his pool... it was one of the most sorrowful and terrible things I have ever faced. Witnessing the grief of this family was almost more than I could handle.
All you can do is be steady and positive constant in the life of your school and in the lives of your students.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
Hang in there...
I ams ending positive vibes your way.

J said...

We had a death at my school..well, I guess it would have been 4 years ago now. It seems like yesterday. The student died at school and the teachers never fully recovered. It was during a running event. The crisis team was great. It didn't help that the media was blaming the school though.

Blue Pearl said...

I'm happy to talk to you about this, if you would like. I'm a univ professor and this is my area of expertise. My best advise is to trust your instincts in terms of how to help these kids. If you would like to talk to me, let me know and I'll send you my email address.

CD & SP said...

bluepearl, that would be great--i've been given a standard packet of information from the "crisis team," but i admit i still feel ridiculously unprepared. in the meantime since i've written the post, the young man has passed away.

Carly said...

I hope you don't mind my coming out of lurking to post. When I was a senior in (my very small - 300 students total) high school, two girls in the grade below us died. For two different reasons, and at two different times. The best thing our teachers/school did for us was to let us talk about it. They set up house in the theatre, and for one day, none of us were required to go to classes if we didn't feel like it. We were required to be either in the theatre or in class, but we were free to choose. In the theatre, we could talk with counselors, talk to each other, or just sit and reflect. I know not every school/teacher can/will do this, but being allowed to be upset and allowed to talk and allowed to share was the best thing for me.

Laura said...

Wow, C. I personally think it's GREAT that they have a teacher like you, knowing how down-to-earth and compassionate you are. Don't doubt yourself so much...I think your instincts will prevail and you will be a great resource for them.

On another note, I'm referring an old high school friend to your blog. She found me on Facebook and it ends up that she's a lesbian, too! (I'd like to say I kinda knew, but I had no idea!) She and her partner want to have a baby and I thought you guys could be a great inspiration to them. Hope you don't mind!

Crystal said...

This also happened at my school about 10 years ago. I was a senior and the girl that died was a friend of mine - her chair at graduation was right next to mine. The teachers told us we could go home if we wanted or we could stay at school but we stayed in the same class all day until lunch and then they set up the gym/auditorium as a sort of safe haven to talk and grieve. Since she was a senior we paid special tribute to her at our ceremnoy and honored her parents. We each put a flower in what would have been her chair as we walked by it. It has been ten years but you never forget something like that. never. It's the first time as a child you realize your not invincible and it's scary.