Loss Grief and Growth Education Resource Workshop for teachers
“Death neither obeys the school timetable nor appears on it... it enters the classroom without knocking.”www.winstonswish.org
The story... Yves Berthiaume – story of his father dying when he was 12 and the teachers who supported and mentored him
“We need to address the needs of kids” Yves Berthiume Developed tours of the funeral homes
“The most frequent question from teachers…” “How do I support grieving students?”
Loss Grief and Growth honors the relationship between students and teachers.
Teachers are connected with students: • before, during and after the loss occurs. • when some have forgotten the needs of a grieving child.
Loss Grief and Growth honors teachersas: • mentors, • creators of a safe environment, • communicators inviting expression of feelings and fears, and • creative leaders of teachable moments.
Loss Grief and Growth honors children “We are powerless to control the losses and catastrophic events our children may experience, but by honouring their inner wisdom, providing mentorship, and creating safe havens for expression, we can empower them to become more capable, more caring human beings.” Linda Goldman
One of the myths of our society is that it is possible to insulate children from the traumas of loss, death, bereavement, and grief.
Types of losses • Divorce • Moving • Developmental • And out kids are exposed to death
Death in the family • grandparents, • parents, • siblings, • pets, • friends …
Death in the media • News - global community violent/sudden/tragic/terrorist/war/conflict • Movies, games • fictional/unreal
Death in the school community People • peers • teachers, • support staff • custodial staff • family members of peers
Death in the community “Not only do we grieve as individuals, we grieve as communities. Our lives are so intertwined that each of us is affected by a death in our community.” Dr. John Morgan
Grief • is a normal healthy response to loss. • is a whole person response.
Grieving • is the process of integrating the loss into ones life • and making meaning of life’s experiences.
Grieving • is not something to “get over” • is not something that needs to be “fixed”
Grieving • New losses can trigger old losses. • we regrieve at future levels of growth, development, and future life events.
Misconceptions about grieving • There is a right way to grieve • There are stages of grief • Grief is/should be time limited • “It is time to get over this” • “When will she “get over” this?”
“Intuitive” grieving style… • The “typical grief response” e.g. crying, talking. • Sadness is the primary emotion. • Grief is processed through feelings.
of the loss the grief and the griever “Disenfranchised grief “ Recognition
Little talk, lots of action.. Grief is processed cognitively rather than emotionally. If expressed, an emotion is more likely to be anger than sadness. “Instrumental” Grieving Style
In Elementary and Middle School: • Children grieve in “doses”. • Grief may be expressed through play.
A child may complain of fatigue and illness more often than usual.-> nightmares may be disrupting their sleep. School attendance may become sporadic.
What you might see in High School… An inability to focus or pay attention. Changes in academic performance. Complaints of fatigue and illness. Sporadic school attendance.
a greater volatility of emotions. • there may be an increase in risk taking behaviours in grieving teens.
Grief is not “an excuse”, it may be the hardest work the student has yet faced in life!
Developing an understanding of death Through the course of developmental stages and life experiences, children begin to grasp the meaning of death.