Today I have a guest post from a friend of mine, Mr Eric Wood. Eric has his own blog called All In a Dad’s Work, where he talks about being a dad, life in general, and whatever strikes his fancy. In this post that he has shared with me, he writes about how the loss of a student can affect a teacher.
I love teaching. I love filling little heads with as much as I can. It has some great perks, too. June, July and August to begin with. Though, here in Nova Scotia it’s only July and August. Still. If I were a full time teacher here those would be two months of “no work”. I used quotes there because there’s always work to be done. Whether it’s a course to keep up with current methods or conferences or preparing for the upcoming year, there’s always work. So don’t think teachers get two or three months paid vacation. Besides summer breaks, there are also recess breaks, lunch breaks, and prep periods. The kids are delightful 90% of the time. I can be a teacher anywhere. I may have to get my teaching license transferred like I did when I moved to Nova Scotia, but I can go anywhere. It won’t make me rich, by any stretch of the word, but it’s plenty fulfilling in other ways.
However, there’s one thing that gets me. Gets all of us, I imagine, though I’ve never heard talk of it.
The death of a student.
I’ve not personally had a student pass away while they were my student. But once a student enters my class they are mine for life. I taught 4th grade for 6 years and my first class of 4th graders are now juniors in university. Some even have kids of their own. However, two of them didn’t survive. One died in a car accident. She left behind a daughter who is just a toddler. Another drowned. He was still in high school. The third, though technically I was only a substitute teacher to him, I saw frequently in the classes I subbed in. He was hit by car while riding his bike. All three were great kids who were a joy to have in class.
We were playing a game as a class. To earn points you had to perform a silly task. Her task was to find something that could be pushed with her nose. There was on her hand and knees, nose to the floor, budunkadunk in the air pushing a pencil. I was roaring. The class was roaring. She was roaring.
He told me he was performing in church the next Sunday with two of his cousins who were also in my class. I told them DW would come watch. Crash was only a few months old at the time and we took him with us. The three of us were in the minority that morning in the Baptist church. But we were welcomed with smiles and open arms. It started at 9 and we listened to the preacher until it was time for the dance routine of my 3 students. It was impressive and, of course, I was a proud teacher.
I don’t have a distinct memory of the third. It’s more of his personality that stuck. He moved away before I really got to know him. Whether I saw him in class, in the hallway, in gym or library, he was always smiling. Like the other two, he was fun to have in class.
Now, at the beginning of every year when first enter a class I silently hope that all “my students” lead a long, fulfilling life and I never have to read about them in that section of the newspaper.
A reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck! <3