But You Aren’t There – In Homage to the Late EFL Teacher Yaron Adini

The late Yaron Adini in a costume, photo taken at a school Purim Party, 2022.  Passed away at the age of 48 

I look for you as I enter the teacher’s room on Sunday morning, before the first bell. It’s usually not a good time to say more than “Good morning” to anyone, but you and I both have a free period at 08:00, so we don’t have to worry about the bell. I’m curious to hear about the interesting activity you have planned for today for your classes. Truthfully, my interest in the activity is secondary to my desire to bask in the glow of your passion for teaching. Seeing your face light up with enthusiasm is so very inspiring.

But YOUR spot is empty.

You aren’t there.

I scan the two rows of computers – surely you must be, once again, helping one of the teachers who is struggling to make our computerized grading software understand what she wants it to do. No one even needs to ask you for help – the minute you register sounds of frustration, you are there at their side, explaining and guiding in your calm, gentle voice.

You aren’t there.

Oh, so you must be in the vice principal’s office again, helping make the workflow more efficient. Your background in High-Tech comes in handy.

I wonder if all those years spent with computers, who never loved you back, gave you such passion for teaching when you made the switch?

I don’t teach students with “normal-hearing”  but I do hear them gossip when I’m doing yard duty, or when they come to volunteer in my special learning center. Students gossip about their teachers.


You aren’t there.

Never mind, so you are busy, fine. We share another free period at the end of the day on Tuesdays. We’ll talk then, right? We can unwind and talk about things unrelated to teaching. I usually let you lead the conversation as I’m constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of your general knowledge. You have lived abroad, you speak several languages and in fact, are fascinated by languages. What were you telling me about the complex beauty of Greek recently?

Tuesday comes and goes.

You aren’t there.

So, you must be absent again, having a bad spell with your illness.

I’ll write to you – you often find it distracting when you are bedridden to correspond about things such as which ed-tech solutions actually are helpful and to tell me about some tool you discovered that might be helpful for my special needs students. You offer to help me understand how to use it if needed, even though you have never used it yourself.

No reply. 

I wait, truly patiently, because sometimes it’s a really bad spell and I need to wait till you get stronger and start replying again.  Always in written form. You don’t like phone calls or visitors. When you come back I don’t ask the questions you don’t like, about your health. What matters is that you are here.

Was your passion for teaching also related to your fragile health? Did it make you more aware of how wonderful it is simply to be able to come to school and teach?

I never asked.

My message box remains empty.

You aren’t there.

Now you will never ever be here.

And it’s hard to comprehend.

Thank you, Yaron Adini, for touching my life with your kindness, patience, generosity, and enthusiasm. Your amazing smile will be engraved in my memory.

You left us far too soon.

I’m grateful to have been fortunate enough to be your colleague.

You will be remembered!




When Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes & Hercule Poirot Examine a Teacher’s Desk

Looking for clues on a teacher’s desk. Naomi’s Photos

Thank you all for finding time in your busy “literary lives” as world-renowned detectives to join us here today.

Since all of you are known to have extraordinary powers of deduction,  I would like to give you a small challenge.  Please look at this photo I took of a person’s desk.  What can you learn about the person who uses this desk and his/her workplace from this photo?

Hercule Poirot: I don’t even need to use my little grey cells to see that this is a teacher’s desk. She is clearly grading papers!

Naomi: That is correct, but wait!  You said “SHE” is grading papers. What makes you think that we’re talking about a female teacher?

Hercule Poirot: “Because I am Hercule Poirot! I do not need to be told.” *

Naomi: Haha! With all due respect, if you were my student I would ask for information from the text (in this case, the photo) that supports your claim.

The evidence is clear – The photo was taken on a hot, sunny day. Naomi’s Photos

Sherlock Holmes: I must agree with my colleague on this matter. “You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”**

Sherlock Holmes: Look carefully at the photo. Great thought and care have been invested in the exact placement of each object and decoration on this desk, indicating not only a woman’s touch but one who is pedantic and clearly interested in style or design. Even the apple, which is only there temporarily, is neatly cut and placed with care.

Naomi: Pardon me for saying so, but you are from another era – there are men today who are admired for their style. Aren’t you just guessing due to the fact that there are more female teachers in this country?

Sherlock Holmes:  I’ll ignore that. Just look at the spectacles on the desk. Not only do they serve as an additional indication, but they are reading glasses. Clearly, this desk belongs to an experienced teacher.

Miss Marple:  Gentlemen, do take a look at yourselves!  You are so easily distracted by the irrelevant issue of gender, while completely ignoring the true significance of all you see on this desk.

Naomi, you must bear in mind that “Gentleman are frequently not as level-headed as they seem” ***

Naomi: Thank you, Miss Marple. What do you mean?

Miss Marple: This teacher, and the teachers seated near her (this desk is obviously one of many), are clearly required to spend a great many hours at school, well beyond those hours devoted to teaching.  One would assume that such hours were allocated as “preparation time” though as someone who specializes in listening to what others say among themselves (certainly not to be confused with eavesdropping!!) I do wonder how much work can be efficiently done when surrounded by so many people…

The investment we see in making one’s workspace comfortable and aesthetically pleasing indicates someone who has decided to make the best of the situation.

Hercule Poirot: (Coughs loudly and pauses before speaking)

My dear Miss Marple, you neglected to mention the evidence that this teacher does not have an administrative role at school.

Naomi: Which evidence is that?

Hercule Poirot: I’m astonished you need to ask that, Naomi. Why even a child would know what being allocated a cubicle (as opposed to an office) signifies…

Lieutenant Columbo: Just one more thing…

(Collective sounds of surprise are heard, as he had not been sent an invitation)

Lieutenant Columbo: Why has no one mentioned that this teacher is not an elementary school teacher? Look at the length of those texts!

Sherlock Holmes: (sighs deeply)

Sherlock Holmes: Even though I did not actually say the following in any of my books, I cannot help myself – we didn’t mention it because it’s E-L-E-M-E-N-T-A-R-Y!

Mali Savir, EFL Teacher at Mekif Yehud High School (Naomi’s Photos)


Many thanks to Mali Savir, for “lending” me her desk for this post.

  • *        “Death on the Nile”, by Agatha Christie
  • **     “The Bascombe Valley Mystery” by C. Doyle
  •  *** “The Body in the Library” by Agatha Christie