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Jude's avatar

Just found out that my niece's 4th grade teacher died (just happened). How do we deal with this?

Asked by Jude (31971 points ) March 16th, 2012

My niece last saw her at 4 today. This was her teacher. My niece is in grade 4. My sister just received an email from the school and she called me. My niece doesn’t know about it, yet. She is a very sensitive 9 year old. Loved her teacher dearly.

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15 Answers

Jude's avatar

Her teacher was 42.

FutureMemory's avatar

How did she die?

Jude's avatar

@FutureMemory We don’t know, yet.

buckyboy28's avatar

I wouldn’t beat around the bush, but rather take it as a good opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about death. My grandfather died when I was 7 years old, and my parents explained everything to me which helped calm my nerves and realize that everyone was going through the same things I was feeling.

flutherother's avatar

Make sure the email is genuine before doing anything. If it is just tell your niece and let her talk about her teacher and why she liked her.

whitecarnations's avatar

I wouldn’t explain death to a 4th grader. However, I would tell my kid she has passed away and is in a better place, and that I’m sorry that they feel sad and just hug them.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I would sit her down and tell her tomorrow.

Depending on the school, there is usually a grief counselor brought in.

Sunny2's avatar

I would ask the school how they are going to handle it. They may have service of some kind and plans for counseling.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d be honest and straight with her. I dealt with a lot of death growing up. It hurt, but I’m not carrying any extra baggage because of it. I was offered condolences and I’m so sorries, but no one ever tried to sell that they’re in a better place line to me. I appreciate it a lot now.

creative1's avatar

Kids need you to be honest with them about death, I would talk to her and explain everything and if she wants to say good bye offer to take her to the calling hours. There are also alot of children’s books out there on death. I also recommend having her watch the movie My Girl

filmfann's avatar

I am glad you have the weekend to sort this out with your daughter. On Monday, the school will probably have a grief counseler there to help the kids come to terms with this.
I am sorry for your child. Good teachers are too rare a breed.

Bellatrix's avatar

Don’t underestimate her and don’t try to cover things up. Children, even little children, talk. Not all parents will be sensitive and considerate in the way they share the news so it is likely she will hear things from her peers when she does go to school. So I think it is better you have been honest with her.

I would try to find out more about the circumstances before you speak to her but speak to her before Monday. Preferably earlier in the weekend so she has chance to get used to the idea before Monday. She is going to be upset. That’s part of the grieving process. You can’t protect her from death though. All you can do is help her to find her way through this hurt.

Jude's avatar

She died of a heart attack. She was an exercise freak.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Maybe she was an exercise freak due to a chronic cardiac condition or family history? That’s too bad. :( How is your niece taking it @Jude?

Bellatrix's avatar

Very sad. Hope the little one is okay.

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