Yesterday, amid a steady stream of work including proofreading report cards, meeting with parents and teachers, and preparing for a small, family reunion this weekend, I was feeling pretty depleted. I looked at the clock and saw to my surprise that it was already 12:30, just a few minutes from the start of advisory lunch. I threw my papers to the side, shut my laptop, and made my way to the dining room.

My advisory group includes eight 7th and 8th grade girls and a co-advisor who is their Spanish teacher. On Fridays, we eat and talk together, usually for the entire thirty minutes we are given. This past week, we played a game in advisory called Anomia, a game that brought us closer, as games often do. Our lunch time conversation was hilarious, as usual, covering topics including food, holidays, birthdays, likes, dislikes, and animals, in this case a white hamster that disappeared only to return several days later in a laundry basket, covered in dirt.

After the girls headed back to class, I lingered over the remainder of my lunch and began talking with some colleagues in the dining room. One was in the midst of eating a special kind of orange, the name of which I can’t remember. His enthusiasm for it so vividly expressed that I found myself wanting one, too. We sat peeling and eating oranges for a few minutes  before returning to our work.

Back at my desk, listening to the laughter and shouting typical of a Friday afternoon hallway, I resumed my proofreading. But then, there was a knock at the door, and I looked up to see three students holding a jar of paper flowers. They had come, they said, to say thank you.

For what, I don’t exactly know. But this gesture, this gift of gratitude, wrapped my workspace in wonder and reminded me that even on the ordinary days, school life is extraordinary.

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