This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my school.  Oh yes, we don’t just get a day, but an entire week of love.  Today, there was food for us all day long.  Breakfast, snacks, lunch, and to top it all off, cake and ice cream.  Cake and ice cream.  Together.  It was heaven.

After I got my plate of food, I headed into the Teacher’s Room.  Now at my school, like at most, the Teacher’s Room is sacred ground.  Students are simply not allowed.  Ever.  I’ve walked a child through from time to time with a bloody nose or some other ailment requiring a shortcut through the Teacher’s Room and gotten dirty looks from those seated.

Today, as I placed my plate down on the table, I suddenly felt a pair of arms wrapped around my waist.  I looked down and saw Marshall.

Marshall was never in my class.  I believe he’s in second grade now, but he repeated a grade somewhere in there, so I’m not exactly sure.  He’s got a smile that lights up any room he enters.  Marshall has Down Syndrome.

Seeing me in the Teacher’s Room, Marshall broke away from his Speech Therapist and bolted into the room and hugged me.

“Marshall, how are you?” I asked as I looked down at him.

“Good,” he beamed up at me.

“Marshall, look at me,” I began, placing my finger under his chin to help him keep eye contact.

“Don’t ever stop smiling or hugging people, it’s one of the things that makes you so special,” I told him.

“OK,” he replied.

With this, he bolted off and found another sucker to hug.  Nobody seemed to mind him being in the Teacher’s Sacred Space.

All the treats and food the parents brought in, even the cake and ice cream were awesome, but it was Marshall that really made me feel appreciated today.