A Class Discovered Their Teacher’s Secret – And Then Made Him Break Down Sobbing

Music teacher Bruno Rafael Paiva is the first to admit that he didn’t have the best-behaved class in school. So, when the students found out his secret, they couldn’t help but mess with him. And when he finally realized what was happening, he broke down in tears.

On the surface, the life of a teacher can seem pretty sweet. After all, which other profession offers an eight-week vacation across the summer and time off every month? But more than that, it’s possible that a teacher can spend more time with a child than the child’s own parents. And that can result in an immensely rewarding teacher-student bond.

However, teaching is not necessarily as attractive as it might appear on the surface. For one thing, teachers aren’t always paid for the two months of summer that they don’t work. In fact, the pay isn’t appealing at all. And the teacher-student bond can be impaired by classroom bureaucracy and school politics.

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Paiva knew that teaching could be a difficult profession. He understood that wages weren’t great, the hours were grueling and students can sometimes misbehave. Nevertheless, it was the only thing he had ever really wanted to do with his life. And one day that dream came true.

The music teacher had scored a job tutoring a middle school class in Brejo Santo, Brazil. Brejo Santo is a town that’s nestled in the northeast region of the country. In fact, if you wanted to drive there from Rio de Janeiro it would take you around 30 hours, covering a distance of roughly 1,300 miles.

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However, despite getting that dream role, it turns out that the job may not have been a permanent one. Indeed, Paiva was a substitute teacher, employed to fill in for the regular educator who had taken maternity leave. But there was a chance that his contract could be extended, so he grabbed the opportunity with everything he could.

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And, as Paiva expected, the students could indeed be unruly at times. That, however, was the least of the substitute-teacher’s issues. Indeed, his biggest problems were due to the dreaded bureaucracy that came with his new job. And it was a situation that nearly finished his career entirely.

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As Paiva explained to the Sunny Skyz website in June 2018, “I am covering [for] another teacher, and the contract has huge bureaucracy – receiving a license, [getting on] the system, sending [the] documents [from] the new teacher, receiving documents, then creating and sending the contract.”

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And this back-and-forth goes on even after the teacher has received their paperwork. Paiva continued, “[The] contract is signed, and [put on] to the system [so that] the name of the teacher [will be] on the payroll [for] the month. This enormous and lamentable bureaucracy is something that is in every system of our country.”

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This bureaucracy results in very real difficulties, as Paiva soon discovered. As it happened, he was yet to make it onto the school’s payroll system. Despite having put in more than two months’ work he wouldn’t see a penny for his efforts. Indeed, the system had failed him and he was spiraling out of control.

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Paiva was already lacking enough funds for rent. As he described to student mentoring organization AIME in July 2018, “The little money I had was not [enough] to keep me in town.” And to add to the teacher’s problems, there was nowhere for him to turn for the financial support he so desperately needed.

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As Paiva’s explained to AIME, “It’s been almost four years since my family began struggling to put my sister through medical school; a course that, in Brazil, is very difficult to pass. We have sacrificed a lot. In our house there is no sofa, the refrigerator is falling apart and my mattress is on the floor.”

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Paiva did, however, have a special arrangement with the school. He said, “I slept at school. I had lunch at school and a lot of [the] help I received [was] from [the] school.” But still it wasn’t enough. The institution had even invited the educator to work for an additional month. Yet with no money the offer turned his situation into an impossible one. The teacher would have to leave.

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“I saw it all collapse,” Paiva recalled. “Everything went black. All the people who could have helped me had helped me. I could not see salvation.” His students learned of their teacher’s situation and understood that he was so desperate that he might have to leave. And they were in no mood to take it.

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One day in May 2018, Paiva showed up to class just like he always did. But, as the teacher recalled, “There was a message stuck on the door inviting me to ‘Come in and read.’” As it happened, the students had something they wanted to tell their teacher. And they had devised an interesting way to get their message across.

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Indeed, as Paiva described, “There was a message on every chair and table in the classroom. I read notes like, ‘We know we’re messy but that’s not all,’ ‘We want to apologize for all our talking,’ ‘Knowing your situation we decided to join together, for you know how to be a friend,’ ‘We hope you like it!’”

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All the notes led Paiva to his desk where another surprise awaited him. And when he opened it he couldn’t believe his eyes. As he recalled in a Facebook post, “When I reached my desk, there was a small box. A box with R$400 to help me stay another month in school so I would not [have to] leave.”

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Paiva was moved to tears by the gesture. As he described to AIME, “When I saw that, I was caught. I was paralyzed, not believing. I started to get nervous, to tremble. No one had ever done [something like that] for me [before]. I really did not believe it. And I ended up crying in front of the whole room.”

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It seems that the students had organized a raffle in support of their teacher. And in a matter of days they had sold enough tickets to raise 400 Brazilian dollars, or around US$95. To put that into perspective, it’s the equivalent of two-thirds of Paiva’s monthly pay. And it was all so that the kids could to keep their teacher around.

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As a result, the gesture ended in a group hug with of all the students in his class. Following the surprise, the teacher wrote in a Facebook post, “They are [the] students who still make me believe in the education of the country, in the love of others, the compassion of putting oneself in the place of others, and in the respect and love of the student towards the Professor of [their] school.”

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