The students' assignments reached me a couple of days ago. I started to mark them this afternoon, and the first one I read was written by a boy, saying his favourite object in his house was his mobile phone. He wrote that the mobile phone had belonged to his father, and his father used to ask him a lot of questions about all the buttons and icons. But because of the recession his father had lost his job, and committed suicide shortly after. When the boy was going through his father's belongings, he found the mobile phone and, with his mother's consent, started to use it.
I began to cry. I couldn't mark any more assignments. I went out for a long walk, got back, and cried some more.
My heart goes out to the boy and his mother. I hope they mourn, and then move on.
Here are the comments I wrote for the boy:
This is a very touching story. I'm sorry to hear what happened to your father. I hope this doesn't affect your studies. Your English is very good, so keep studying hard, and I'm sure you will have a very bright future!
(Also, I'm sure your father loved you very much, but at the time he was confused and didn't know what else to do.)
PS I heard a few years later that this young man had graduated at the top of the list, and had given a speech on behalf of all students in his year at the graduation ceremony.