the crying game

Teachers cry. We do, all the time. Especially first and second year high school teachers. A well known secret among teachers is that if you have to cry, don’t do it in font of your students. It will only make it worse.

I have a crying corner where no one can see me, even if they peek in through the window on my door. Another teacher I know has a full sized cabinet that he goes to cry in. Another teacher I know used to lock herself in the supply room to cry in peace.

I almost lost it in front of students once. Students had been throwing things at me and I didn’t know who was doing it. I burst into tears right as the dean of students came and took over so that I could go to the restroom to sob. That was not a good day. In fact, my first year, I was averaging 3-4 days a week of crying (in private, after school after all the kids left). My second year, I was crying about once a month. This year, my third year, I’ve cried twice….both times probably also fueled by PMS in addition to school stuff.

Why we cry: stress, frustration, feelings of helplessness, students who steal from us, disappointment, the list goes on and on and on. On the plus side (or maybe negative side) the crying tapers off with years of experience. Eventually, we become hardened, thick skinned teachers.

I polled a few of my students today and asked them if they’ve ever seen a teacher cry. Each one of them said yes. When asked how that made them feel, the consensus was, “I felt bad for them.” Kids feel for us too.