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I will be out of school for 4 weeks due to surgery. I have not told my students this yet. It will interfer with our December performance. I will have to cancel it because I will be out the month of December. I have no choice but to have this surgery. They are removing melanoma cancer. Does anyone have any words of advice on approaching my students.
As far as what to tell them about the reason you will be out–I’m not sure what age your students are, but you do probably want to give them basic info because they will probably ask questions anyway–maybe ask the school nurse for advice on how to explain your surgery to them using words they understand but so that they won’t be overly worried about you. Most kids have heard of cancer–you might be able to simply explain that you are having a small operation to stop the cancer and make sure you stay healthy, but after you’ve had a little time to recover you should be just fine and back to teach them in just a few weeks.
Regarding the performance–although their December performance has to be cancelled, is it possible to reschedule another performance for them later in the winter or early spring after you come back? Or maybe a more informal parent visitation week or something like that, so that they don’t miss out entirely (unless they already have another performance planned later in the year). Not to put more stress on you at an already stressful time… but if it’s not a December performance then it doesn’t necessarily need to be seasonal, and you could probably program some songs or dances that they’ve already been working on and just polish them up a little bit when you return. Just an idea that might be a compromise. Good luck, and hope your surgery goes well.
Maybe I should add more to this. I teach elementary in a visual and performing arts magnet school. The rest of our calendar is full. Our Choir will continue on with the December show but there are no other openings in the school year (February – Dance, March – MIOSM, April – State Testing, May – School Musical). I do like the idea of talking to the school nurse and maybe having her there. My leave will take me up to the Winter Break so I won’t be back until January.
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