Just for Teachers

 

ALT

 

Parents: You may want to print this and share it with your child's teacher.

 

  • Before the child returns to school, meet with him/her and the family to talk about issues, concerns, and needs, as well as strategies for making any modifications.
  • Prepare to support and role model positive behavior, establishing an accepting environment in your classroom, free of teasing and ridicule.
  • Prepare the rest of the class for the student's return
    • Point out changes they may observe, such as hair loss, weight loss, scars, casts, etc.
  • Help classmates find language and comforting words to welcome the returning student back to the classroom.
    • Helping them understand that the returning student may not want to discuss his or her absence or condition will respect the child's experience and wishes.
  • Consider having a "pre-brief" with the class before the student returns.
    • What would it be like if you were the returning student?
    • Help the class anticipate what challenges the student may be facing.
      • For example, if the child experienced an amputation, have the students spend a day with restrictions that may help them to better understand what the returning classmate has to deal with.
  • Establish a plan with the returning student in case he/she receives a lot of questions.
    • Some kids do not want to share any information or are embarrassed by constantly being asked about their illness/hospitalization.
  • Find ways to include the returning student without singling out or belittling him/her.
  • Don't be too lenient or too strict.
    • Whenever possible, the student should be expected to perform the same tasks as the rest of the class.
    • Do not place unnecessary restrictions.
  • Provide adequate time to transfer from class to class.
  • Allow the child to have bathroom, water, and/or snack breaks, as needed.
  • Allow the child to wear hats, bandanas, etc.
  • If you are the teacher of the returning student's sibling, it is important to recognize that the sibling may also have been greatly impacted by the illness.  See Tips for Helping Siblings
  • Offer the student a quiet place to rest, if needed.
  • Give the student control whenever possible to help foster independence and self-esteem.
  • Be prepared for acting out behaviors and regression (this may be a way the returning student is trying to cope as a result of his/her experience.)
  • Accommodate the student’s comfort level.
  • Educate yourself on your student’s medication and side effects.
  • Be aware that the returning student may continue to have frequent absences if treatment/side effects are still ongoing.
  • If a child has a home tutor, consider prioritizing assignments and reducing the amount of homework, enabling the tutor to focus on the most important content.
  • It is important to let the returning student's classmates know about his/her illness (please check with both the returning student and parents of classmates before sharing information).  Be honest and developmentally appropriate.  Help students stay connected through sending cards, emails, phone calls, etc., should the child have more absences.
  • Stay in close contact with the school nurse and alert her to any changes you observe in the child, as well as any infectious diseases that are in your classroom (e.g., chickenpox).
  • Know the protocol for emergencies should the returning student have one.
  • Be sensitive and try not to be overly concerned – maintain a sense of normalcy for the returning student!  Sometimes paying too much attention can reinforce feelings of shame or embarrassment in the returning student.