As we begin a new school year, our buildings are teeming with energy and excitement. There is an edge that comes with a re-start—both for teachers and students. Some teachers are embarking on their inaugural school year as a teacher. Students have enjoyed a summer with activity and diversion; however, most are ready to get back to the routine of socialization, education, and extra-curricular enjoyments.
But what happens when this excitement is punctuated by a tragedy? What are you doing as a teacher to prepare students for the unexpected? What are you doing to prepare students for the inevitable? Do you actively provide curricular initiatives in Death Education?
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While I am sure that few have teaching units in Death Education, we should intentionally teach students to understand, deal with, and prepare for death. It is still true: “No one is prepared to live until he is prepared to die.” As educators, we must not only help our students prepare for death, but we must also prepare them for those times that death strikes uncomfortably close to us.
This past school year during graduation week, a student in a school that I serve, died in a boating accident. The impact on a family, a peer group, a school, and a greater community was shocking. While we know that these things can happen, as educators we are often caught off guard.
The educational process should include instruction in Death Education. Of course, protocols for this teaching will be different based on age and grade levels. But educators should integrate truths about death into students’ learning experiences. Ruth Haycock’s Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects suggests appropriate concepts to include into a curriculum.
Some obvious biblical concepts that should be taught—
- Spiritual vs. Physical Death
- Causes of Death
- Nature of Physical Death
- Life after Death
- God’s Power over Death
- The Body after Death
- Post Resurrection Events
- Believer’s Attitude Towards Life and Death
Death Education should not be taboo in our classrooms; rather, teachers should intentionally integrate truth about death into curriculum. Prayerfully, your students and your school community will be spared from personal tragedy this year; however, as teachers we must be proactive in preparing students to face death.
Only when students understand and are prepared to deal with death can they be fully prepared to for life.
What are some suggestions that you can share about how to implement death education into the teaching process?