The school year began, and I braced myself for fight after fight, for endless displays of apathy, for general bedlam.

And eerily, none of that happened.

The halls were mostly calm. The students mostly worked. It was foreign compared to the past two years.

But today, I felt it. The wave of stress and frustration pounded me against rocks of hopelessness and despair.

(How’s that for imagery, suckas?)

Hyperbole aside, today I finally felt the weight of my responsibility coupled with the weight of my students’ stresses. And boy are they ever stressed. Deployed parents, sick parents, sick siblings, dying family members, failing grades, abused friends, depressed friends, depressed selves, destroyed dreams.

And it really did tear me up.

And I thought again about Oprah’s show on Monday about how bad teachers are to blame for our broken education system, and I’m angry that she (or Bill Gates or Davis Guggenheim, director of Waiting for Superman) didn’t address what some of our kids face on a daily basis.

Most days, I really love my job. But some days, my job is really, really hard.

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