After serious consideration at rethinking my career choice, I decided to return for a second day in my new classroom. All week long the tantrums continued. The other children and my assistant seemed oblivious to the noise, and everybody stayed out of Chris's way.

After talking to the counselor who was at a loss for suggestions, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My sanity demanded it. Chris had become accustomed to throwing a tantrum, as well as anything he could get his hands on, whenever he did not get his way. That child could destroy a classroom faster than you could blink an eye. I found an unused conference room down the hall and told my assistant that every time he threw a tantrum, he and I would depart for the conference room.

What I witnessed in the conference room paled in comparison to what happened in the classroom. The child gnashed his teeth at me, threw himself against the wall and screamed at the top of his lungs. I bought the best earplugs I could find and calmly sat down until he exhausted himself from chasing me around the conference table gnashing his teeth like a crocodile. I also wore protective clothing and did a lot of praying. I reminded him that as soon as he calmed down, we could go back and join the children and have fun.

After two weeks of removing him from the classroom and sitting with him in the conference room multiple times a day, the tantrums began to subside. By the time the teacher came back for a visit with her new baby in April, she was astounded at how quietly Chris sat in the circle. To be perfectly honest, I was too. By that time, he was also receiving therapy twice a week and was learning to control his impulsive anger. I said a silent prayer every day as I drove home thanking God for the progress the little boy was making and for giving me my sanity back.

I was actually beginning to enjoy my new profession by May. My co-workers informed me that we would soon begin end of the year conferences. I couldn't wait to share the children's progress with their respective parents. My first conference was a very young Mother who rode the city bus so she could attend my conference. I patiently went over her daughter's progress with her and was pleased that she continually nodded her head in approval. After she left, I floated over to the other Kindergarten teacher to tell her how well my first conference had gone. She smiled at me sympathetically as she told me that the woman couldn't understand a word of English. I made a silent note to myself to make sure in the future that the parents understood English before I plunged headlong into a conference. I realized I had a lot to learn.

One day as my teacher assistant and I sat in the teacher's lounge while our students were in music, I noticed her twisting some paper in a long skinny tube using loose tea in a bag. I asked her what it was and if it was a suggestion for a science experiment. She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and calmly informed me that it was a joint. I thought I was going to wet my pants on the spot. Being her supervisor and all of two years older, I told her to take that stuff out of the building. All I could picture was a headline stating "Rookie teacher arrested for rolling joints with her assistant". I further explained that if she brought it in again, I would have to report her. Our relationship took a downturn after that, but at least I didn't get fired or arrested.

Looking back now when I have a class of sixteen with a full time assistant, I wonder how I managed that first year. Little did I realize that this was only the beginning!