NPR just featured a fantastic article and later a response to the reactions teachers have to the struggles of the profession.
On my first day of teaching, I fell sound asleep at 7:30.
I had intentions of staying late and getting lessons done for the week, but that night, the first night, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I don't remember crying that first day, but that, along with the piles of grading and lesson plans, would come.
I cried consistently as a teacher, and not just the first day, and not just the first year. While you have triumphs (the kids you meet later at the grocery store who tell you they changed their major to your subject, or the sweet letters from students or their parents), there are lots and lots that can overwhelm.
There are long to do lists that don't really ever get done. There is never a lunch break or a study hall duty long enough. These tasks get completed late into the night, but even then, the night is never long enough. I wouldn't be able to fall asleep because I would hear echos of students calling my name in my head. "Señorita, Señorita, Señorita..." Or I'd stay up anticipating an observation, or a difficult interaction with a student, or kiddos with low grades in Powerschool, or a project that needs more time that we don't have.
The worst part is that the to do lists, the lesson plans, the parent emails, the meetings...they often have very specific time frames in which they need to be completed. That email: by 3pm. That lesson: by 1pm. That parent: now. That lunch meeting: oh crap, I missed it! Even the most organized teacher has days when interruptions or meetings or assemblies or Field Day throw their whole plan into disarray. But teachers, we are reminded, are supposed to be flexible.
While teaching has both joys and triumphs, even after 5 years in the classroom and a good reputation and tricks up my sleeve and great lessons from previous years, there was a persistent feeling that I wasn't doing enough quickly enough. In my professional opinion, that feeling doesn't go away, just the need to give voice to it does. So cry, teachers, cry in the car or on the way to recess duty or before that morning bell rings. I promise that you're in good company.