As a Reality 101 blogger, there are tons of great topics I anticipate writing about; this is not one of them. Last Monday, one of my students passed away. It was very sudden and shocking. This particular student has been in my class since I began two years ago. I've attended his birthday parties and talked regularly with his mother. He even came to my wedding in December. My students often fight over who will be his "study buddy." He's well-known throughout our school and is especially popular with all our administrators.
Those of you who currently teach understand that classrooms become like their own little families. If a student is absent or an assistant is out, it's like part of the family is missing. When we return to school, I know our "family" is going to feel incomplete; we won't be whole.
Over the past two
years, he taught me about patience, compassion, boldness, advocacy,
communication and appreciation of the simple things in life. I watched him
teach others in my school about acceptance, respect and what true friendship is
In my two years as a special education teacher, I've never for a moment thought I didn't have the best job ever. I still believe that. But I have discovered the worst part of this job: losing a child that you've taught, loved and lived life with.
I'm sure some of you have experienced this, as well. What do I do now? What do I say to my students and school? How do I help them and myself through this grieving process? How do I reach out to my student's family? I would so appreciate hearing your suggestions and experiences.