Tag Archives: drug abuse

A Sad First in my Teaching Career

21 May

I’ve been teaching now for 15 years. The law of averages says that at least one or more of the students that I’ve known has passed away in that time. But as an international teacher, I’m not connected to the communities that I teach in the same way that someone who spends their whole career in the same school (or school district) is. So there are surely some passings that I am not aware of.

That’s why this one is so hard. It’s a first.

This kid was in my French class for a couple of months. I remember that he was funny, athletic and personable. He was ready for a laugh and seemed to get along with just about everyone. He came from a good caring home and had all the material and societal advantages that one can think of. But ‘sit’ is just about all he did do in my class. He wasn’t terribly interested in French and he transferred to beginner’s Spanish before Christmas. Having a French language background made it easier for him, his new teacher told me. Even after he’d left my class, whenever I would see him on campus he would give me a smile and a cheery, “Bonjour!”

Having a French language background made it easier for him, his new teacher told me.

“Easier”. That is a word that keeps coming up for me when I think about this kid. From what I saw of him, he seemed to spend a considerable amount of energy seeking out the ‘easy’ option at school: be it class work, homework, projects or deadlines.

This afternoon his parents will host a service of remembrance for their son in accordance with their spiritual beliefs. It will no doubt be attended by many of his fellow students and former teachers.

As a teacher, as a parent, I feel that we need bigger, better, badder ways to talk to our kids about substance abuse.


We can’t keep allowing funerals for 17 year olds to be the final lesson on this subject.

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