Way back when, a long time ago, I was a first-year teacher. I had been hired to teach bilingual/ESL in a bridge (k-2) class.

My first vice principal took me aside one day and told me, "One of these days, it's going to be too much for you. It'll be too much stress. When that happens, call me. I will come to your classroom and give you a fifteen-minute break to pull yourself back together."

Not having been in the classroom before, I had no idea what she was talking about.

Teaching means you have 20+ children, your children, depending on you, pulling on you, arguing with you, and otherwise needing you. If it were such a great and easy deal, parents would have sleepovers, slumber parties, and parties for all the kids in the class every weekend. It's not. It's hard work. It's draining work. It's not unusual for a teacher to go home and fall into an exhausted sleep before even taking off her shoes.

And some days it's too much stress. A teacher has a meltdown. Tears. Angry explosions. The desperate need to escape all these needy children.

I am so grateful for that first vice principal. When she told me that, she showed me that it was natural for a teacher to feel like that sometimes. When I melt(ed) down, I didn't have the added burden of thinking I'm a freak for being impatient with all these takers of my energy.

Meltdowns happen to teachers. It's ok. We'll be supported by our colleagues and peers. No one judges harshly. We've all been there.

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