Friday, September 07, 2007


A student died yesterday. Having been a teacher for several years now, I've had a few students cop out before but somehow this one made me stop and think. I'd been the one to enter his name on the class register but I can't recall what he must have looked like. Was he short or tall, thin or fat, fair or dark? They say he'd had kidney problems and then a heavy case of jaundice which he'd succumbed to. I've been thinking a lot of things. Like it was just a couple of months ago that he'd come to class with high expectations, thinking he was now in college and on his way to getting a degree. And only a short time later he's dead and gone; his name soon to be removed from the records, and apart from a mention in the annual magazine, his memory obliterated.

As a Christian I've been thinking....what have I ever said to these young people about life hereafter. I teach them how to write an application for a job, how to write a resume, delve into and discuss the intricacies of human psychology, social and cultural myths and mores, etc etc via literature. I see myself as helping them get that degree.

But what about life after death? To them I'm an adult figure and whatever my inadequacies, they see me as a responsible, trusted mature person and I should be a guide, a mentor, a someone who ought to know that their young lives can suddenly be cut short and prepares them in some way or the other for that eventuality.

It's humbling to feel so completely inadequate and useless.



  1. It's especially sad when young people die. I think it's brave of you to want to broach a subject like life and death to college kids. They are at that age when they are so nonchalant about most things, but it would be helpful and cathartic for many.
    A student died last year due to cancer, and there was a commemorative function for him. The batch also had a practical class scheduled that day. Most kids were eager to go to the function, but a dozen or so actually demanded the class not be cancelled! I think they should have been given negative attendance :(

  2. I so agree, diary, but I think most folks irrespective of age are nonchalant about death if they've never faced it personally. And I don't really blame them because it's an issue that makes people uncomfortable. But that doesn't mean it can't happen to you so people really ought to be more careful and diplomatic when it comes to dealing with deaths. Including your students. Yep, give them negative scores for having that kind of uncaring attitude. And I think medics who are in the life and death profession really ought to hone their empathy levels at med colleges.

  3. most us think that death is something that happens only to other people, it's kind of hard to accept the fact that we will also die some day.

  4. Tu chungah pawh thleng vek dawn a, nia kan bul a mite mai nitin kan awmpui te an thih hi chuan a mak duh khawp mai. Naupangte tan malsawmna i ni zel dawn nia.

  5. Nangpawh le, Sawmte.

    ambs, it's hard but it's important to face up to issues like this too.