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Pass it to the Left

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The last day of school is an easy one to stray from routines. Students are excited and teachers are tired. So when I went to visit classrooms this morning I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

As I entered the first classroom I noticed that everyone was sitting around in a circle. Just like they had done everyday before that one. I had walked in right in the middle of their Family Meeting. So I decided to join the circle. And it was one of the best split second decisions I have ever made.

By the time I entered, about half of the class family had already shared. Everyone was required to share something and everyone was required to listen respectfully. At one point when someone was sharing, one of the cafeteria staff came in the room to collect the leftover breakfast. This distracted some students. But for all of the right reasons. They were no longer focused because they were trying to help point out to her that she had overlooked a few items. It wasn’t that they were deliberately ignoring their classmate sharing, they simply were more concerned about helping someone in need. Because that’s what families do.

Not long after, I had the opportunity to share and when I did I rambled on about this and that. To be quite honest, I can’t really remember what I shared. Other students followed me and they each shared something of significance to them. And then it was their teacher’s turn to share. I had no idea what he was going to say. He has a great sense of humor and likes to joke around. So I was prepared for anything. But I was not prepared for what came next.

He paused and I knew something was different. For he is never lacking for words. But today was special. He realized that this would be the last Family Meeting with his very first class. We all remember our first classes. There is something special about the bond you form with them. You never forget it and you never have one quite like it again.

So when it was when it was his turn to share. He kept it brief. With a tear in eye and his voice slightly quivering he told the kids how much they meant to him and how much this year meant to him. And everyone was silent. And then, as they always do, they crossed their arms in front of them and held hands. Boys holding boy’s hands. Girls holding girl’s hands. Boys holding girl’s hands. Family members holding family member’s hands.

And one last time, Mr. Feldman led the class in passing the spirit of good will and fellowship to the left. He squeezed the hand of the person to his left once they felt the bond. The connection if you will. They did the same. And so on and so on. Until we all felt this love and passed it to the left. It took less than a minute to go around. But what traveled around that circle was a year’s worth of fellowship and love. I was honored to be a part of this amazing experience.

Once it had made its way around the circle, everyone released hands and stood up to return to their seats. But one student did not return to his seat. He asked Mr. Feldman if he could give him a hug. Then another joined him. And another and another. Until it became one big, group family hug. It was beautiful. Look at the photo below and tell me iyou can’t feel the warmth in that room.

I am sure Mr. Feldman will have many classes in the future that will touch his heart in ways that he could never imagine. But I don’t think that he will ever have a class like the one above. His very first class ever. The one that he taught to pass it to the left.

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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  


Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.


Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

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Guest Sunday, 09 December 2018