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!




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