By Luke Kenton
This beloved substitute teacher was surprised by his students with a box of donations after finding out he’d been sleeping on the classroom floor as a result of not getting paid.
Though he’d only been working at the Balbina Viana Arrais state-school in Brejo Santo, Brazil, for just two-months, it appears Bruno Rafael Paiva struck quite the accord with the group of students temporarily thrust into his care.
A music teacher by trade, the 28-year-old had been summoned to the school for emergency cover after a member of the native faculty had fallen seriously ill.
However, as a result of complications in finalising his contract, Bruno was locked in a battle with the state to obtain the first three months of his salary, and as a result of his financial shortcomings, he’d been forced to sleep rough in the classroom.
Declaring he’s ‘only ever wanted to be a teacher’, Bruno put on a brave smile for his students – but it wasn’t long before one of his pupils caught wind of his misfortunes, and altered their fellow classmates.
Walking into his lesson on May 15, Bruno is immediately inducted into a game of “Quente ou frio” (‘Hot or cold’) with the entirety of his classroom, oblivious to the emotion he’s about to experience.
Guided toward his desk, Bruno opens the small box placed in the centre and immediately bursts into tears
Peering into to see $400 Brazilian dollars (£80) inside – roughly about two-thirds of his monthly salary – the tears continue to fall from Bruno’s face as the class run over to comfort him in a collective group hug.
Insisting the humbling experience reaffirmed his love for teaching, Bruno, who has been teaching for four-years, said: “After working for two months and receiving no pay, I was told I needed to stay for three months before receiving my pay-cheque.
“Everything was so bleak – I felt like I was sinking with no idea of what the future may hold.
“As I couldn’t afford rent] The school let me sleep in the classroom – they helped me a lot.
“I thought I was going to have to leave the job – which I loved so much – because I couldn’t physically afford to stay any longer.
“That’s when two of my students Aylon and Gennifer stepped in – they organised for the whole class to donate $10 each into a fund to surprise me with.
“I felt so emotional, it was something I never expected.
“I was paralyzed; in disbelief it was happening; I was trembling with emotion and crying a lot – it was a shower of strong feelings.
“I felt so protected by the students I love.
“This day changed my life.
“The are the strength in the world that I want to see and they gave me the belief I needed to continue in my work
“I love teaching, it’s a part of me – I didn’t want to be anything else in life except from that, a teacher.
“I have no been working for almost four months and have finally received my first month of pay.
“I have set up a GoFundMe page to try to give back to those that helped me and to also help me through the difficult months ahead.”
To donate to Bruno’s cause, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/helping-teacher-bruno-and-students