I remember my first day in the classroom like it was yesterday. I was a very "wet behind the ears" fresh out of college eager newbie - convinced that all my students were as eager to receive my pearls of wisdom as I was to deliver them. I spent time weeks before school started getting my classroom ready and greeted each student as they arrived with my most welcoming smile. They were all boys, that first class - sophmores through seniors. Just before I started calling names to take attendance one student asked when the "real" teacher would be there - I explained I WAS the real teacher. From somewhere in the back row I heard "she won't make it to Christmas". What a mistake - not because I punished the student who said that - I never even tried to figure out which one of the 20 young men it was - the mistake was that the gauntlet had clearly been laid down - and I never turned down a challenge. They couldn't have known it but that one statement probably motivated me as much as anything could have. That was 33 years ago - and I have never looked back. Stay tuned to hear how that first year ended up - better than you might think as well as more stories and lessons this teacher learned along the way.