Should I let me child’s teacher know that I am sick?

Another “shrink wrap” question and answer from Kids Konnected and Lynnette Wilhardt….

Yes, I think it is very useful information for the teacher to have. Many children will exhibit different emotions during their parent’s illness that may affect their schoolwork.   Some children have difficulty concentrating, some may become tearful, and some may become easily angered and may take that out on their classmates.  It is important for a teacher to understand what the child is experiencing at home as this may impact their behavior.  The information allows a teacher to take it into consideration if they need disciplining or their grades are suffering. 

I chose to tell both my children’s teachers. For my child in elementary school I had a one on one conversation. For my teen/middle schooler at the time I emailed all of her teachers and her school counselor. I feel there are so many issues that middle schooler/high schoolers have to deal with and so many students that the teachers have to deal with that it just gave them a heads up. I also asked them to feel free to email me if they saw any concerns.

I feel that sometimes even after we do not look sick anymore it may still be beneficial to let the teacher know what they have been going through, espcially for our younger ones. My now 8 year old was still showing signs of stress and anxiety last year. The teacher just felt he was immature and not paying attention. I am hoping that he will have a better year and a more understanding teacher!!!

Lynnette Wilhardt and 2 of the youth leaders from our local Kids Konnected group are going to be on the Today Show this Friday, September 5th. They all contributed to the new book:

Love Sick:  Teens Journal about Growing up with a Parent with Cancer

Here is a link from an article in the LA Times on the organization also. As with all non-profits in these tough times – they are in need of support to keep helping children and teens who have parent with or that have passed from cancer. They have groups around the country but need donations to keep them going as well as donations to send kids to camp and to send out Hope the Bear packages.

Please keep them in mind if you are looking for a way to help …..

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7 Responses to Should I let me child’s teacher know that I am sick?

  1. cancervisa says:

    yes! absolutely. affermatively yes. You will get hopefully extra compensation not to have to do “volunteer” things like, bake cakes and man booths or even visit days when the assistant is sick.

  2. bcjenster says:

    Haha Cancervisa!! I finally found a way out of the PTA! LOL

    My kids were 4th and 7th grade. I did the same thing. I spoke with the elementary teacher and the school counselor and sent emails to my son’s teachers in middle school. I asked to be informed if they noticed any changes in behavior. I think the teachers absolutely HAVE to know if there’s any kind of change at home, regardlss of what it is.

  3. justenjoyhim says:

    I agree, the teachers have to know. I told my son’s teacher and teacher’s aide in kindergarten not too long after I was diagnosed last year; I wanted them to know in case there were differences in his behavior. And I wrote about my infamous letting his new first grade teacher know the first day of school after he held onto me and cried, not wanting to let me go — then when I got her out into the hall, I busted out crying and let her know. Ohhh, first impressions! GAH!! At any rate, I did tell her! That way, if there are behavior issues, at least they know where they’re coming from.

    I don’t want exceptions made for his behavior, but some understanding of where any out-of-the-ordinary behavior might come from would help them know how to deal with it, I think. “Discipline with empathy” is how our family therapist put it.

  4. imstell says:

    Absolutely tell the teachers. Being a kid is hard enough these days. All the adults in their lives need to be mindful of that and keep watch over them.

  5. throwslikeagirl74 says:

    As a former (and will be again) teacher, I definitely agree. It’s not even so much about cutting them slack (though it is). Knowing what’s going on at home can help you take the right approach with kids. When I was teaching, a lot of my students had parents who were in jail. Talk about baggage. 🙂

  6. JulieS says:

    I think it is VERY important for the teachers to know. My boys were 9 and 13 (3rd grade and 7th grade) when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My younger son was put in a group at school with other children who had parents with cancer (I did not even know that it existed!!) It turned out to be wonderful for him. Additionally his teacher checked in with him everyday to see how he was feeling. She also allowed him to stay after school a few days a week to do homework so I did not have to worry about it at home, especially if I was not feeling good.

    My older son who was in middle school had difficult days at times but would not talk to anyone initially (UNTIL HE GOT CONNECTED WITH KIDS KONNECTED!) His teachers were very understanding. There were at least two times he failed exams when things were stressful at home (when he had previously received all A’s) My son chose not to tell us becaue he did not want us to have more things to worry about. When I did find out, I e-mailed the teachers and they both let him retake the exams (and he did well). He also had one teacher who would catch him after class to ask him how he was feeling because she knew he would not be talking to his friends about my cancer.

    I think it is important for them to know (especially if you don’t look “sick”).

  7. I just posted about this yesterday (Telling the Teachers)

    I had a lot of similar thoughts.

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