Last week, one of my student's grandmother passed away. Understandably, she was distracted from the lesson at hand. So, I couldn't just tell her to stop thinking about it. I didn't want to not talk about it with her. But, I needed to try to move this incident along so that she could get back to focusing on the lesson. If I didn't talk to her about it, it would be the only thing on her mind. Also, she would've at least felt that at that time, she had no one who could sympathize with her. That thought alone would've made her feel very alone.
I didn't want to accidentally break her fragile heart into 1000 itty bitty pieces by saying the wrong thing. So, first, I talked to one of the secretaries. I just wanted to give her my pitch to see whether she thought it was ok. She encouraged me to remove the part where I say "Being sad won't bring her back." Sorry for being too honest. Again though, I ended up not saying that. This is the gist of what I said:
"I know you miss your grandma. The best thing you can do is just remember all of the good things that you did with her. Remember all of the games that you played with her. I know that you can't help but be sad, but please try to feel better. Your grandma would be sad if she saw that you weren't able to focus on school."
So, that's mostly what I said. On top of that, I let her sit next to me for about 15 to 20 minutes. After she looked more relaxed, I had her sit back in her desk. Then, morning recess started. She always likes to stay inside for recess. I don't always allow her to, but on that day I did because of her losing her grandma. Its interesting. By afternoon recess, she seemed pretty normal emotionally. She wanted to get back to helping out in class (e.g. taking out the recycle). And, that she spanked her best friend in the butt kind of gave me the idea she was pretty much at ease again. The secretary said that she also looked pretty happy too. Either I was damn good consoler or she can get over her losses really easy. Either way, a good outcome.