If I ever write a book about the first years of teaching, this will be my opener:
I had dreamed of teaching my ENTIRE life, from the time I was five and lined up all my stuffed animals, my brother, and my neighbor (she always wanted to play "Hospital;" today she's a nurse!). You can imagine how excited I was the first day of my first job in first grade! Oh man, I had everything planned, backup assignments, extra activities, etc. I hit the kids hard with management and procedures from day one, telling them what to do when they finished their work.
"When you finish," I said, "you may either do a math center or read a book."
One of my students refused to do either and continued to frustrate me that day, so I finally said to him, "Just go get a book and RELAX!"
He agreed, sat down, spread the big book open in the middle of the floor and yelled across the room,
"HEY! CAN ANYBODY IN HERE READ?"
Oops...I think I learned more from him that day than he learned from me that year.