Teacher needing advice

Hi everyone-  just wanted to say that I am amazed, inspired and just overwhelmed by this site.  Each of you brings tears to my eyes…your words of wisdom and support for one another is beautiful and I’m in awe.

I recently had a student (I teach 11th grade US history) diagnosed with leukemia.  He’s undergoing weekly chemo and getting ready for a 4 day intensive stint at the hospital that will happen every 2 weeks for 8 weeks.  He’s been so sick–  I’ve gotten close to the mom in the last 2 weeks and trying to help out in every way I can.  The student, her son, has been really angry and won’t see anyone.  She told me tonight that he is ready to see me– and maybe even open to the relay for life that we have at our school for our town. 

I can’t wait to see him, he was super quiet in class, and I’m a really outgoing person…I talked to him a little, but with little response at the beginning of the year.  I just don’t want to screw up when I see him.  He hates the social worker assigned to him because she’s super cheery, etc. 

Any words of advice for when I go and see him?  I’m so nervous.  I’m never a nervous person….very outgoing, people person, always know what to say…..this time is different.  More on the line.  I don’t want to screw this up.

Advice?  I’d love to hear from you guys.  :)

Praying for all of you tonight…..

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Coping with Cancer, Friends and Family

  • http://www.teenslivingwithcancer.org/ Leah Shearer

    Hi Cristy,

    I am so thankful you chose to contact us. The most important advice I can give you is that your care and concern are never wrong. Just by visiting you will be giving the kind of support your student will appreciate.

    To be honest- it’s a hard time. And teens have it extra difficult. Just being 16 or 17 in a pediatric hospital, you might imagine he is very overwhelmed. All that is around him is the reminder that he can’t be where he wants to be or doing what he wants to do.

    Most times the reaction of a teen (anger against a visiting social worker) is nothing personal. Really, it has nothing to do with that person, it’s just a way of answering back boldly to the unfairness of the situation.

    Feel free to tell him about our website so that he might find a way to talk to others in his own way. You can’t imagine how much help is given just by seeing that they aren’t the only one in this. Now, that said—boys and you know I say this with love–boys can tend to at first turn away offers for “help”. No one wants to feel weak…but the opposite (strength) is the gift when they can reach beyond the fear of feeling weak.
    Just by knowing he can do what he needs when it is comfortable for him.

    I have this feeling that you are a very special teacher. And something tells me (because you are aware of yourself) because you wrote us here—that you will not get the same reaction as that hospital staffer.

    Think of a way to connect with him—tell him a funny story about what’s going on at school. Have his classmates/friends/teachers put together something for you to take there. These are ways to make him feel still connected to his school community. Just simple ideas but done with great love—-they are healing.

    I say this not as just from pulling from an idea tank—I’ve been there.
    I was a sick teenager and young adult myself. These things gave me hope that the people around me would be there for me, not only through it, but when I got back.

    Good luck and thank you for being a wonderful teacher–(not just of history).

    Leah Shearer
    TLC Program Coordinator

  • Sparx101angel

    hi cristy
    Im maxine and had a friend a grade ahead of me that got leukemia. I know what its like to see someone suffer. be cofident and look him in the eye when you talk to him, let him know that you aren’t afraid to look at him. Don’t be too cheery (like the social worker) because he might take this seriously and be thinking why should you be happy when my life is a reck. Instead laugh at things that are funny, laugh when he laughs and don’t,whatever you do, smile forever! its irritating enough even when you aren’t sick. And please iuf he has e-mail give him my address I would love to speak to him :) my e-mail address is Klemax10@rghs.org.za

    All my love and prays
    Max.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649752570 Kyle Chown

    The little things matter. For some reason, the big things always seeme to be covered, but the little things are always overlooked by people around me- so little things become big things. I don’t like feeling like people think I need an astronomical amount of help with everything- simple acts of kindness would go a long way. Also, whether he likes to admit it or not, the chemo is probably not the thing he’s afraid of the most. It’s often different for cancer patients, but as a cancer patient myself, I know that the mental battles are a lot harder than the physical ones for me. Ask him how he’s feeling. Really feeling. Not physically, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.

  • Marie Hand

    Your student might benefit from seeing my son, Carson Hand’s cancer journey slide show. Search on youtube for Carson’s Cancer Journey. Carson had liver cancer at 16 and is now 5 yrs in remission. The narrated (at the end of it) slide show shows how family, friends, and faith helped get Carson through a devastating time. He produced the slide show for a 5yr cancer free celebration. You can also check him out on Facebook. Blessings-

  • http://www.facebook.com/LeahAShearer Leah Shearer

    Totally agree with you Kyle. The little things TOTALLY matter.

    Leah Shearer
    TLC Program Coordinator
    Rochester, NY

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