In light of the recent events that happened at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival, I can’t help but think of the precious teachers who are leading the classrooms full of students who are grieving. We are based in Houston where it happened, but if you haven’t heard yet – 8 people (ages 14-27) were killed at the music festival on Friday night.
The days following a student death are incredibly difficult for the community, but without fail, teachers show up and love on their kids. It can be hard to allow yourself to grieve with your students, but allowing them the space to process their emotions, and guiding them through such a trying time is what they need, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for showing up for the tough stuff.
My first year teaching, one of my newspaper editors died in a bonfire accident. He was a popular football player with younger siblings at the school and the entire community was shaken up. I was a young teacher with no experience with death in my own life before, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was very nervous about that Monday back at school, but I quickly realized all I had to do was show up. Be there for them. Check in. Ask how things are going. Let them tell me how they are feeling.
In my experience in working with journalism advisers, I’ve come to learn that YOU are the teacher so many students come to in crisis. Thank you for creating a safe place for them to simply exist and lend a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for showing up.
On a related note – It’s really important to have a solid Death Policy about how to handle the situation if it ever happens. Ideally before it happens.
NSPA has a great document to help you craft your policy:
Lastly, just remember that whatever you end up doing will become precedent, so be sure it is something that can be repeated for future instances.