Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Students' response to the death of Steve Irwin

After school on Tuesday, I went to the room where I normally teach my Year 9s to leave a message on the whiteboard. I saw a cross with the words: R. I. P. Steve Irwin. I imagined that it was a joke or something left from a drama presentation. I then learned that it was true when I turned on the radio in my car.

The reaction to Steve's death has been phenomenal in Australia. It is being compared with the reaction to the death of Lady Di. This is surprising to me as Australians are normally very harsh on their celebrities. Steve himself had remarked how he was not as appreciated in his own country as in the US. He referred to the "cultural cringe" that we often talk about.

What really surprised me was the amount of grief of my year 7 students. In the morning, during the 10 minute "homeroom" assembly, we say a prayer and the students get to pray for special intentions. The last two days have been dominated by prayers for Steve and his family. The girls seem to identify a lot with his daughter despite the difference in age.

The crocodile hunter was undone by one of the least vicious of the animals he had worked with. When men are interviewed they uniformly refer to his apparent invincibility. I guess most men of his age feel themselves invincible and are reacting to his death with a sense of shock.

I read today that the reaction in the US has also been great. People there loved him. Reportedly, they could not get enough of his landmark "Crikey!"

In the words of my students, "I pray for Steve Irwin, his family, and especially his daughter who was very close to him. Lord, hear us".

Elias.

1 comments:

tb

said...

aaah...your blogs are always entertaining, thought-provoking & humorous....YES, i DID say, humorous, Mr E!

CRIKEY, Elias....you ARE the Steve Irwin of Teachers!!

ps how do u pronounce your name?
Is it Elias as in EEE-leee-ass?

or is it
E-ly-uzz
??

thks

tb
-pronounced ..as in "TB"