When a teacher lost a student: A narrative pathway through grief

Nick Thompson, Kennesaw State University


This chapter presents a reflection on a teacher’s narrative journey through the grief of his student’s death. The author frames the reflection by discussing how sociocultural theory and hope theory can inform each other to understand narrative pathways through grief. After the death of his student, the author constructed three types of narrative (creative nonfiction, oral storytelling, and academic writing) to create a pathway through his grief. The chapter presents tensions that he found from analyzing his storytelling: solitary vs. communal grieving and self-care vs. caretaker responsibilities. Finally, the author makes the argument for the function and usefulness of narrative as a tool for hopeful thinking while grieving.