During my first year of teaching I was reading to my students when a bee came through the window. The kids all started to move away from the bee and I told them just to stay in place — it would go away. The next thing I knew, the bee was flying down my shirt and it stung me in the middle of my back. I was the one who ended up in the nurse's office!

Kelly, Manchester, NH, Fourth grade

In my first year of teaching I received a lovely Valentine box of chocolates from a little girl in my first grade class. When I opened them all the chocolates were gone except the one in the center and it had a thumbprint in the middle of it. Below the chocolate was a note that said, "I love you". This was a very special gift.

Betty Klein, Ft. Sill, OK, First grade

I was a first year teacher, fresh out of college, young enough to be most of my kids' sister, and was having several doubts of everything I did. Questions rang through my head daily like, "Will my students learn this?" "Will I teach this lesson correctly?" and "How do I really assess their learning?" At mid-year, I began to wonder if my students had really learned anything. I wondered if I had touched their lives in any way. One of my students who had been struggling in my class answered that question for me. Most of the difficulty she was having in class was due to her lack of confidence in her abilities, and early on I made it a goal to change that. Every day when I said it was Math time, her eyes would fill with tears as I explained an assignment all because she had it set in her mind that should couldn't do it. Everyday I would sit with her and explain, "you can do it. You just have to believe in yourself."

After months of telling my children that I am not an artist and can't draw well, I drew a picture on the board that they were impressed with. After class, that same little girl came up to me and said, "See Miss Long, you can draw, you just have to believe in yourself." My heart was touched to know I had reached one of my students. What a wonderful reminder of why I became a teacher.

Melissa Long, Rochester, NY, Third grade

Young deaf students tend to interpret what is being said very literally. With this in mind: I was in a student-teaching situation and after leaving I kept in touch by mail with several of the kids. It was Christmas time and a ten-year-old deaf student named Rose wrote me a letter. She told me that she had really wanted a new red bicycle for Christmas but would probably not get it because of "Bill." She went on to say how much she disliked Bill and wished that Bill wouldn't stop her from getting a bicycle and that he must be mean. At the end of her letter, she said "My mom and dad said that there would be no money for a new bike because they had to keep paying Bill instead." It hit me that Rose thought her parents were actually paying all their money to an unknown person named Bill instead of paying bills.

Cindy Hartpence, Fayetteville, GA, Grades K–5

My worst moment as a new teacher was that I was not prepared for the size of my classes. My best memorable moment was the first time a student actually thanked me for being an effective teacher.

Lawrence Graham, Las Vegas, NV, Eighth grade