About Units of Study
(Teachers - Please read entire page)
appreciate your confidence in assigning my pages on grief to your students,
and as an educator I understand the need and the flexibility of class
activities in using the Internet as a teaching tool. I hope you will
continue to use these pages as a classroom resource.
It had been an ongoing problem that my guest book would be filled with prank e-mails from students when classes were assigned these pages. I could always tell whenever a teacher had begun a unit of study using such novels as "The Outsider". My guest book would suddenly fill with entries containing nasty remarks, fake towns, fake e-mail addresses, dirty language and rude comments. Some included insulting me as the creator of the page.
I have been an educator in public schools for 36 1/2 years, so I am familiar with students. Most are wonderful; some are problems. Some we think are wonderful will still do things we least expect when they think they can be anonymous. However, grieving people who may visited my web site and my guest book weren't in the frame of mind to read what the students wrote. I was constantly having to check and delete entries from my guest book.
I didn't take it personally; I realize that some students are not mature enough to handle such material. I'm sure your objective is to let them have some insight into the feelings accompanying loss, and how grief can be dealt with. Some students have had great losses in their lives (the divorce of parents, the loss of a parent or grandparent or sibling or even a close friend through death). Car accidents frequently kill teenagers, and diseases may take the lives of parents, friends and siblings. Suicide does occur in the lives of teens. Some students could benefit from the information presented on these pages, but most of them can in no way relate. Either they can't relate, or they simply don't know how to process grief and get in touch with their feelings. Some can't take the subject of grief seriously, so their way to handle it is to be in denial, or write stupid things to the person who wrote the pages. Other reasons for their bad entries could be that don't like school, they don't like the teacher, they don't like the extra work put on them, or they just like the idea of causing problems in one way or another. Too, they may be angry at a loss they have not properly dealt with.
I know that most of your students would never even think about do something like that. Still there are those rare few who thought it "cute".
Occasionally I got a nice remark
from a student. That was greatly appreciated.
Please continue assigning my pages to your students. I believe that students should be exposed to ways to handle grief. Even those who don't relate at such a young age will eventually experience grief in their lifetimes. It happens to all of us.
A Learning Experience
These pages could be a learning experience for teenagers. It might be mentioned to your classes what happened here previously, and it could open up a different type of discussion that could be equally as important to them.
You might open a discussion about
the inability of some youth to handle serious subjects such as death,
grief and loss, and why. You might talk about why students would be
compelled to do what some students did in my guest book.
One reason, I believe, is that young people think they are invincible. They can't see very far ahead in their lives except to believe that they will live forever. They may think they are impervious to danger, else why would they drink and drive, drive too fast, binge drink, not eat right, take drugs and do other things that are dangerous.
Equally as important to understanding how to deal with grief is understanding how to handle their feelings and thoughts, and what would motivate their actions. I think this could be an important part of your unit of discussion. It could be a serious lesson in their lives.
This is why I have left this page up even after I took down my guest book. I still want to help not only the grieving, but the teenagers who need help in understanding their feelings and actions.
My e-mail address is on the main Divorce Recovery Page.
July 2006 -Updated 1/1/09 & 2012