Tagged: Guide for Teachers
November 26, 2019 at 2:32 AM #120774
Let’s face it, talking to anyone about cancer can be a daunting experience.
With subjects such as cancer, it can be difficult determining how you’re going to approach the subject. You want to be realistic and state the facts while also speaking with empathy and emotion.
This is even more difficult when the audience that you’re speaking to is your students. In this day and age, teachers talking to students about health, disease and wellness is imperative. After all, school is typically where students learn about the realities of life and death.
If you want to learn about how to talk to your students about cancer, you’re going to want to read this. We’re uncovering eight methods on how to appropriately discuss cancer with your students.
1. Discuss the General Facts
First things first, it’s best to start with the general facts as to what cancer is.
Depending on the age of your students, they may have yet to understand what cancer really is. For young students, it’s best to discuss the subject as generally as possible. Stick to a simple outline of what cancer is and provide a sense of assurance that treatment is possible.
You’re also going to want to discuss how some aspects of life might change. Remember, kids generally rely on routine to make them feel safe and secure.
For older students, you can get more specific in the details. In knowing greater detailing, older students are all the more likely to require help in dealing with these emotions. Here, it’s helpful to discuss how and where students can receive help with their emotions.
2. Reiterate That It Can Happen to Anyone
When a young child is told that someone they love has cancer, it can be difficult for them to understand why this happened. This is why it’s always best to address that cancer can happen to anyone and that it doesn’t target certain people.
In the event of a tragedy, young children tend to blame themselves. In learning that a parent has cancer, they may naturally believe that their actions caused the diagnosis. For example, they might think that the stress of fighting with their siblings caused one of their parents to develop cancer.
It’s important to address that a disease such as cancer is nobody’s fault. You can reiterate that it can happen to anyone and that it’s not caused by the actions or words of others.
3. Discuss Coping Mechanisms
Now that you’ve outlined what cancer is, it’s beneficial to discuss how to cope with such a diagnosis.
For example, let’s say that a young student found out that their mother has lung cancer. Together, you can outline different methods on how to cope with this news moving forward. To start, here are some common coping mechanisms:
Accept your feelings
Keep a journal
Allow friends and family to help you
Talk to a professional
Spend time with your family
Open up to a parent about your worries
Discussing coping mechanisms together will help teach your students the best way to overcome adversity.
4. Offer a Sense of Hope
When discussing such a serious and distressing topic, it’s always helpful to touch upon hope. The goal is to offer hope in a way that is both realistic and practical.
You can note that many people who have been diagnosed with cancer were able to lead happy and soon-to-be healthy lives. In fact, there were over 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States alone.
This is meant to make students understand that cancer isn’t always a lost battle. You can also discuss that cancer treatment options are continuing to become more widespread and effective. If you need examples, this article will be helpful.
This is also a good opportunity to encourage your students to reflect on and appreciate their good own health. Furthermore, they can reflect on how grateful they are to have healthy friends and family members.
5. Encourage Questions
Remember, your students are likely going to have a lot of questions after such a discussion.
Your students might ask how cancer has affected your life or how it might, one day, affect theirs. In these moments, be informative with your students while also maintaining your sensitivity.
Before opening up the class for discussion, be prepared with a few possible answers. In answering these questions, your students are naturally going to feel more at ease following the discussion.
6. Find Ways to Help
In the wake of bad news, it’s always helpful to finish with something positive and inspiring.
One way to help students hope with this newfound information is to offer ways to help others. This could be someone dealing with cancer personally or something dealing with a friend or family member’s cancer.
This could anything from raising money for cancer research to writing letters to someone battling cancer.
7. Discuss Positive Choices Amongst Students
So, what should your students do now?
After discussing the subject of cancer, it’s only natural for young people to wonder how cancer might one day affect themselves. In these moments, it’s important to note that there’s no way to guarantee that someone will or will not develop cancer.
However, you can encourage your students to develop healthy habits that are known to fend off disease. This could be anything from eating a healthy diet and avoiding drug and alcohol abuse to ensuring proper exercise and avoiding smoking. Sharing a simple fact such as smokers being 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers is always beneficial.
You can also discuss the importance of visiting the doctor regularly for check-ups.
8. Encourage Students to Speak to You Personally
At the end of the day, not every student is going to feel comfortable addressing the topic of cancer publically.
This is why it’s important to encourage students to speak to you personally. Simply letting students know that you’re available for one-on-one discussions and to answer any questions in the future is helpful.
You might have students that desire speaking with you one-on-one about this topic. These students might have questions that they were not comfortable asking in the presence of other students. They may also simply want to discuss their own experience with cancer and their associated worries.
Teachers Talking to Students About Cancer
There’s no denying that talking about cancer is incredibly challenging.
Fortunately, with teachers talking to students about cancer, kids are able to learn about the realities of cancer from a young age. This means that if cancer presents itself in one way or another, it’s not an entirely new and unexplored topic.
This is why knowing how to talk to students about cancer is so important. If you’re a teacher, be sure to use this guide for inspiration on how to discuss such a difficult subject with your students.
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- This topic was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by sharon frankklin.
- This topic was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by sharon frankklin.
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