Tag Archives: etiquette

The dos and don’ts of funerals

27 Dec

My father passed away recently on December 14, 2010.  It was fast, but not completely unexpected.  He had a few chronic health issues and was diagnosed at the start of November with squamous cell carcinoma on his neck.  After Thanksgiving, his respiratory system failed which led to his passing.

I digress.  The point of this post isn’t to talk about my father (though he was an amazing person, and I’m sure I’ll write about that soon), but rather to share my experiences surrounding his illness and death.

I’ve discovered that such events can bring out the best and, unfortunately, the worst in people.  It seems that some people also simply don’t know how they should act or what they should do under such circumstances.  Without further ado, here’s my simple “dos and don’ts” list for chronic illness/death/funerals.


  • Send a sympathy card.
  • Send flowers to the funeral and/or family of the deceased.
  • Visit the patient in the hospital (even if they are unconscious and unaware of what’s going on).  The family will appreciate it even if the patient doesn’t know you are there.
  • Offer to bring meals to the family.
  • Don’t offer to bring meals.  Just bring meals regardless.
  • Say nice things about the ill/deceased when appropriate. 
  • Tell funny/nice/cool stories about the ill/deceased.
  • Show up when a family member says, “It’s not looking good.  You need to come this weekend.”
  • Keep the person and their family in your thoughts and/or prayers.  Even better, say a prayer with the family or the ill person.
  • Show your support by showing up at the wake (viewing) and/or the funeral.  Sign the guestbook.  Even if you don’t know the deceased but know one of the family members, show up anyway.  Even if you haven’t seen the person in years, but they were special to you, show up.




  • Fail to show up to visit the ill person in the hospital but then arrive for the funeral (if you can help it–of course, due to distance and other circumstances this is sometimes unavoidable).  If you could’ve come to see the person in the hospital and didn’t, then why come to the funeral?  You didn’t care enough to see them when they were alive.
  • Speak ill of the ill/deceased.  This should seem like a no-brainer, but I had one person tell me after my father passed, “I always kind of liked that he was a social deviant”.
  • Go up to the spouse after their loved one has passed and say, “Well, you’re a widow(er) now”.
  • Criticize or critique the homes/possessions of family members of the deceased if you happen to be at their home after the funeral.  It’s impolite to say, “Your house is much bigger than your sister’s.”
  • Send a Christmas card to the family of the deceased if you haven’t sent your condolences in some way. 

Like, OMG, why are you so rude?

20 Nov

I’ve listened to my co-workers complain all year about how rude, snotty, mean-spirited, and lazy the students at our school are.  At first, I was puzzled.  Compared to my previous workplace (which was rife with drugs, sex, and violence), the students here are angels.  They are engaged in learning, seek their teachers out for extra help when it’s needed, are polite, and are just generally extremely fun to teach.

I wish I could remain under this enchantment, but I’m starting to understand some of my co-workers complaints.  Over the past few days I have witnessed several students (none of my own, thankfully) being rude, mean-spirited, and just generally acting like JERK FACES. 

Instance #1: While helping a fellow teacher  set up for a lab activity in her class, one of the senior boys, Jimmy, who had chosen his lab table called out to another boy, “Hey Peter!  Come over here.  Peter!  Peter!  Over here.”  Peter most definitely heard Jimmy asking him to be his partner.  Peter pretended not to hear and joined another table with much cooler boys.  I’m not one to let things like this slide, so I glance up at Peter and say coolly, “Come on, man.  You’re going to ignore Jimmy?  He’s been calling you for the past minute.  Not cool.”  Peter’s face turned red, and the teacher, also perturbed, then switched all the groups herself.  (Fortunately we have a good enough relationship that she didn’t mind me butting in.)

Instance #2: During one of my break periods today, I could hear some girls conversing in the science room next door very loudly before class began.  The conversation went something like this:

“Oh my god, you will not BELIEVE what happened.  Mrs. Robertson came into the bathroom when I was in there, and she STARTED TALKING TO ME!  I HATE when teachers do that.  I’m like, why are you talking to me?  Yeah, she said, ‘Hi, Bethany, how are you?’  We’re in the bathroom.  Oh, and then she TOUCHED my shoulder!  Ugh, I know!  I’m like, what are you a perv?”

I very nearly marched in there to proclaim, “Yes, clearly a teacher being friendly to you and speaking to you as if you are an actual person is clearly out of line!”  Somehow I restrained myself.  The teacher she was talking about is, incidentally, known as one of the kindest, most soft-spoken teachers on our campus. 

mean teens

Mean Teens

Instance #3:  While walking down the hall during the same off-period, some students were sitting in the hall (allowable, as it was their study hall period).  I overhear one young man say rather loudly, “I pay $25000 a year to go to this damn school.  Why should I care about the freakin’ rules?”  I stopped and slowly (and rather dramatically) turned around and stared him down.  One of his friends noticed me and started hitting him in the shoulder, whispering, “Language, dude, language!”  I simply shook my head, and turned back around saying, “No, not just language, guys.  Attitude, too.  Language AND attitude.”  After witnessing this last display of teenage snobbery, I was feeling quite ill-tempered.  I returned to my room and vented about the behavior of the students in all of these stories to a colleague. 

Then something unexpected happened.  The young man from instance #3 appeared at my door and apologized profusely and sincerely.  I suppose there is always hope for the next generation after all.  🙂

(As a humorous aside, when I was looking for images related to “apology” and “sorry” to include in this post, Tiger Woods kept showing up.)

Pet Peeve–would you please actually READ your email?

14 Nov

It’s probably happened to most of us.  Many of us are even guilty of this ghastly sin.

The criminal offense I refer to is (insert suspenseful pause):

Responding to an email without fully reading it and therefore not actually answering what was asked in the first place.

As I’ve mentioned previously on my blog, I really would like to start a Moodle (or some sort of Learning Management System) for my classes this year.  I’ve run into a lot of snags, and consequently, I am nowhere close to getting my students set up for this really cool piece of technology.  I had this brilliant idea to email someone who is tech savvy…someone who is personable…someone who seems to know education and what they are talking about.  (Actually, I tried this approach with several people, but only one irked me so much that I am now blogging about it.)

I emailed the owner of a “technology in education” blog.  It’s a well-known blog that I subscribe to, and I figured the person might be too busy to even reply, but it was worth a shot.  I told them in my email that I subscribed to the blog and really enjoyed it and was wondering if they could help with ‘x’.  I mentioned that I had already looked for the topic on their blog but didn’t see anything about it. 

To my joy, a few hours after I emailed the blogger, I saw a response in my inbox.  I was delighted to see my original email quoted at the bottom of the response–it wasn’t just an automated “Thank you for contacting so-and-so” note. 

That’s where my hope died and the anger flared.  The blogger did indeed write back personally, but only to say, “Hey, thanks for reading the blog.  I’m glad you enjoy it.  I recently switched subscriber providers, so I’ve taken the liberty to add you to the list.  You’ll get another email with a link to confirm your subscription.”  And that was it.

Um, am I missing something?  I didn’t ask to be added to your new list (which I had already joined anyway).  I asked a specific question.  If you don’t have time to actually respond to what I ask, then either don’t reply at all, or mention that you don’t have time at that moment but hope to do so in the near future.

So annoying.

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