Picture this: a little first grader standing in a light drizzle under an umbrella in his Spider-Man PJs holding a sign saying, "I Miss You, Ms. Miller." Ms. Miller is his public school teacher who drove by honking the horn and waving wildly.

"Teacher parades" in our area and across the Commonwealth and the country is an idea born on social media in which teachers drive in a parade of cars with their names and a message of hope on the sides, and drive through the neighborhoods where their students live. It is done at a safe social distance, with families in their driveways or watching through their windows.

Videos show the excited children jumping in joy, waving to their teachers who are equally as thrilled and ecstatic. "Miss you, Ms. Kingston and Ms. Bonitez!" The teacher parades have been lifting the spirits of everyone nationwide.

There's something that's difficult to describe about all the honking, the joyous waving and the bond of connection is the perfect recipe for happiness while schools are closed during the COVID-19 crisis. Reading the various stories and seeing the photos on social media, it was impossible to hold back the tears.

Watch the videos on Facebook showing a jubilant little girl waving so hard that she's up on her tiptoes? The next block down, two boys holding a sign that says something like, "We want to go back today." From Swansea and Westport and other area cities and towns, principals and teachers cruising by the homes of the children they love that sends the clear message that they truly care for and miss the kids.

In a time when we are forced to distance ourselves from each other, parades like this foster another kind of enlightenment: emotional literacy. These close connections benefit both the students and the teachers, and this emotional connection is so important because it stays forever.

As these parades show, the influence of a good teacher can never be erased.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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