It was certain to be an unusual day in the classroom. But it wasn’t until 4:00 pm that I found out how extraordinary it would be. This was a school that I had never visited before and I was a floater, meaning that I would be relieving four teachers, enabling them to attend meetings.

From the time that I entered the building, I was received with appreciation and cordial smiles. That approach continued throughout the day, with the first three teachers thanking me profusely for my presence and engaged teaching approach. All three of them requested my contact information so that they could invite me to return to their classrooms.

Then I entered the second grade classroom for my last two hours of the day. My kids immediately appreciated the fact that I had a sense of humor and wanted to take whatever steps to teach them something on a late Friday afternoon. As they were finishing their activities, each one found a reason to arrive at my desk for approval, assistance or acknowledgement.

But there were two who made more of an impression than they would ever know. The first was a little boy we’ll call Conrad. When I handed him a flyer to read and provide answers to questions, he said, “I don’t know how to read.” It’s not uncommon to find wide disparities in reading levels so I made certain to read the titles and important pieces of information. There were six questions to answer.

Six times Conrad appeared at my desk and asked what the question said. After I read it to him, he smiled broadly and went to scribble what appeared to be gibberish. And when he returned for the next question, I congratulated him on his great answers before reading the next question. He amazed me with his cheerfulness, perseverance and determination to complete the assignment that was all unreadable.

Finally, there was Yurely. With no words spoken throughout the two hours, she approached me for a hug. Of course, I returned the affection and followed her example to be silent. She returned to me four times, each time delivering a hug. The last time, I asked her name and she told me, smiling with as much smile as her body could produce. Whether she hugs all of her teachers or not makes no difference. Somehow, I had persuaded that she was special, silent or not, because she was. Shalom.


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