Tears and Smiles: The Last Day of School

Touched

Crocodile Tears.

It was the last day of school and under an hour before they were to board the school bus for summer.

We had cleaned desks, reports cards had been given out, and desks were shoved into a corner. We sat in a circle and I shared with them some parting thoughts.

I reminded them that each of them had gifts. Each of them were great at certain things. Perhaps it was art, music, or sports. Maybe they were consumed by all things science or math. Regardless, they each had a gift and I explained that this is what made each and every one of them special.

And that’s when I looked to my right and saw big ol’ crocodile tears running down his face. There wasn’t sniffling or rubbing eyes, just big tears rolling down his face.

I was surprised.

Since the first week of school I had watched him clown around and pay attention to his pencils more than to me. He enjoyed the attention — no matter who was paying attention, or no matter when he was being distracting.

I like the little guy. Smart, capable and always interested in sharing a snippet of his life when he came into my classroom in the morning. When he had great days, I applauded. When his days should have been better, I told him so.

Perhaps that last day it was that I told him he was special or maybe it was the stress of the last hour of school and all the excitement rolled up into an emotional farewell.

It’s a memory I won’t soon forget.

Crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks. It was either the kind word or warm smile that evoked the kind of reaction that wasn’t sad or happy. From where I sat, it looked to me that I had made exactly the type of impression I had hoped.

He knew I cared about him and he knew I would miss him.

I believe the feeling was mutual.

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