Got it!
We use cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to visit this site you agree to our use of cookies. More info

Already a subscriber or advertiser? Enter your login information here

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

FREE! Sign up for the TIE newsletter and never miss out on international school news, headlines, resources and best-practices from around the world!

06 January 2021 | When Educators Grieve
23 December 2020 | Welcome Back to Better
09 December 2020 | Confronting Place Ignorance
25 November 2020 | Joy and Enjoyment in Learning
11 November 2020 | The Weirdest Thing
28 October 2020 | TIE Is Transitioning Too
15 October 2020 | Rising to the Challenge

view more

 

Enter your email below to sign up:

Ready to subscribe and get all the features TIE has to offer? Click here >>


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL APPOINTMENTS

You are here: Home > Online Articles > Grieving in the Classroom

TOP STORIES

SEARCH

Grieving in the Classroom

By Susanna Thomas

01/06/2021

Wellbeing Wednesdays, Kindness Days, Random Acts of Kindness Boards—all present a beautiful picture of a school’s focus on wellbeing. The social curriculum is designed to ensure that we educators raise empathetic, understanding youth, led by the examples set by the teachers and administrators.

However, the true picture of mental health support is revealed when an educator experiences a profound loss, compounded by such intense grief that makes it difficult to function, yet must return to work almost immediately.


One of my best friends ended her 13-year battle with depression during the winter break. The second academic term started only days later. Trainings had to be given, classes had to resume, work needed to be assessed. Where was I to find the mask I was required to don when I could barely get through the day without falling spectacularly apart?


As educators, we are the great performers. We are the supportive surrogate mums and dads, the stern disciplinarians, the wise encyclopedias, the understanding student and parent counsellors… The roles are endless. The nuance of education lies in our ability to push through and perform. We preach kindness, fairness, consideration, and understanding, even though we receive so little of it when it matters.


In the days immediately following my friend’s death I sought support so fervently. I googled and joined support groups. I frantically searched the internet for tips on how to control your emotions in the classroom when grieving. On dealing with teacher depression in the classroom.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of isolating ourselves in an office; there are lessons to be taught, duties to be attended to, tasks to complete. In the end, I had to use my reduced salary to pay out of pocket for a therapy session to enable me to show up to work on the last day of the weekend, as required by the school.


Despite informing the school of my grief, I have not been checked on, nor have I been offered a safe space to discuss my feelings. The cog keeps turning even when you’re paralyzed by your own mind.


Small relief comes in the form of distance learning and the fact that for three days of the week, students are not in the building. For those three days, you can turn your camera off while you compose yourself, you can hide in the toilet for 15 minutes when you would have had your lunch duty. You can breathe.


I’m still searching for the answer to the question of how to keep one’s composure during a class while grieving. Needless to say, there is a dearth of information specifically for educators.

At least the next teacher who has to cope will know that somewhere out there, there was a fellow teacher who sees that struggle, who understands it, and who is hoping to create a safe space for an honest dialogue on true, intentional wellbeing.


Susanna Thomas is a passionate Jamaican educator and animal rescuer currently residing in Dubai. 




Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:

Nickname (this will appear with your comments)
Email
Comments


Comments

There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.

MORE FROM TOP STORIES
Having coached over 30 women leaders in the past year as they’ve navigated the leadership search pro ..more
What classroom assessment practices will contribute most to understanding and improving student lear ..more
Restorative practice includes elements of collaboration, critical thinking, communication, character ..more
COLLEGE COUNSELING WITH MARTIN WALSH
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
FEATURED ARTICLES
Change: The New Normal
By Shwetangna Chakrabarty, TIE blogger
11-Nov-20
GORDON ELDRIDGE: LESSONS IN LEARNING
Designing Curriculum for Global Citizenship
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
08-Dec-20
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Home Sweet Exile
By Bruce Gilbert
25-Nov-20
The Little Library Making a Big Difference
By Veenaa Agrawal
11-Nov-20
THE MARSHALL MEMO
Reimagining Schools When We Return to a New Normal
By Kim Marshall, TIE columnist
06-Jan-21
Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on Effective Remote Instruction
By Kim Marshall, TIE columnist
23-Dec-20
THE PRINCIPALS' TRAINING CENTER
The Top Three Things Teacher Leaders Should be Doing to Lead Remotely
By Bambi Betts & Kristen MacConnell
27-Jun-20
Why We Did Not Go Virtual
By Bambi Betts, Director, Principals’ Training Center
22-May-20