Here are some of the things the veteran teachers told me about their own first years in teaching:
- "I never cried so much in my life."
- "I literally ran out of my classroom into the bathroom crying and wouldn't go back. I was like a child. Another teacher had to come into the bathroom and be like, 'You go back in there and take 'em!'"
- "One of my kids threw all of the math books into the trash can. The guidance counselor found me in my classroom, sitting on the floor, crying, pulling all the books out of the trash."
- "Just literally do not crack a smile."
- "You really have to be like a drill sergeant."
- "You have to be...I don't want to say mean, but you kind of do have to be mean, and that can be hard if it's not your personality."