When I was asked to sub as a special education paraprofessional at Southern Boone Primary to begin the new school year, I jumped at the chance. I knew, for the sake of my mental health, that a return to in-person school was exactly what I needed. Six months of being socially distant from my school family had left me feeling incredibly lonely. I missed my people.

Travis Naughton

The first week of school featured some pick-up and drop-off issues, technical glitches in the new, two-story addition to the building, and a plague of black crickets that serenaded nearly every classroom with their familiar and impossible to ignore song, yet I’m sure I can speak for just about every teacher and student in the building (and the district) when I say it felt really good to be back in school—despite the hiccups.

I can’t divulge much about the work I do in special education, but I will tell you that any anxiety I had been feeling about being packed into a crowded school building in the midst of a pandemic was erased when one of my students said, “Mr. Naughton is my friend,” while another looked up at me sweetly and told me, “I love you.”

~ Read more in today’s Journal ~