Year: 1996-1997
Month: April
Leader: Group B

Situation/Case Study:

The group decided to discuss two situations that dealt with change. Teacher has a child with cancer in her classroom. I was having difficulty with a third grade child who has emotional problems and has low reading ability. The child is now writing and behaving in my multi-age classroom. However, he continues to have problems in other areas with different teachers.

A teacher might feel frustrated in this situation because he/she may not be able or know how to help a child in this situation. It may also be difficult to discuss in a classroom. A teacher may feel frustrated when trying to deal with change in the classroom because they cannot always "fix" things for the children and know the right resources to use.

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:
Death and dying. Is this a classroom or individual situation? How do you relay one teacher's success to another?

Group discussions delicately handled may help the child and the other children understand. Other students may learn to befriend someone who is experiencing the loss. Children should learn that the classroom is a safe place to discuss feelings. Connect death with a positive feeling, like planting a flower, plant, a book, or a sweet memory. Use other people for resources i.e., speakers, social worker or counselors and start collecting good recommended resources in your library. When, and if appropriate, use the surviving parent and some older siblings.

Many of the teachers had not encountered a close death in the classroom and did not know how to handle the situation. There was a feeling that just avoiding it would be the kindest thing to do. When we left we all felt that we should deal with it in some way the child could tolerate and let their feelings out. We realized that there were more resources available then we thought by putting our heads together. It is good to alert the surviving parent even if they don't participate.