The other day I had to go into my building.
I entered through the summer school hall.
While I was there, I saw a teacher who started when I did.
She and I have been colleagues for 11 years.
So she wanted to chat.
As I had just posted I am not returning, this is understandable.
While we chatted, students entered the hall in droves.
I think they were on a bathroom break.
One of my freshman approached me.
Understand, this is one of the most reticent children I've ever worked with.
Even on the rare occasions he speaks, he is incredibly soft-spoken.
It isn't that I never heard him speak.
More that he speaks rarely and only if absolutely necessary.
I am told this isn't the case later in the day.
He was in my first hour.
Anyway, truthfully, he is an atrocious student.
Rarely present in mind and body.
Often totally absent and regularly sound asleep.
I got him to try.
Not always, not consistently, but sometimes and definitely the last few weeks.
I wish it had been enough.
His final grade was a 52%.
His lowest grade was a 21%.
That improvement is impressive.
And it is not enough.
A 59% or even a 58%, I could see giving him the credit.
He just wasn't close enough.
But he tried.
His classmates always acted so surprised that he did anything.
Which pissed me off, to be honest.
My response was always, "Of course, why wouldn't he?"
I wasn't sure he noticed one way or the other.
While I was chatting with my friend, it happened.
He entered the hall and walked directly to me.
Before I could even say hi, he gave me a sweet, hesitant sideways hug.
I said hi and he might or might not have mumbled a response.
He definitely did not make eye contact.
I don't even care.
That hug says the world.
The hug tells me he noticed I never gave up on him.
I never let anyone bad mouth his effort, no matter how sporadic.
That hug is a good thing.
After that, I ran away.
Not literally. I skedaddled out of there as quickly as possible.
They don't know I am not coming back.
So, yeah, that was a nice good thing.
Even if it did remind me of the end of my era.