“I’m a mom of two kids. I’m a kindergarten teacher. I love little kids. They’re so giving. Say I go into work on a Monday, at least somebody will draw me something, or give me a dollar, or an apple, just to give me something.

[When teaching,] You see a lot of parenting styles. A lot of parents baby their kids. Oh yeah. They do everything for them. They dress them. Ask me, ‘Do you wipe them when they go to the bathroom?’ Oh no.

A favorite [memory]? It’s too hard to choose! I would say, a little boy in my class was going to Disneyland. And he cried because he wanted me to go with him. He wanted his parents to call me up and take me. Oh, another one is when I was pregnant with my 8 year old. Some school parents threw a surprise baby shower for me. That was sweet.

Kids can be so honest. One time, a boy in my class was sad, so I asked him what was wrong. He said police were at his house. And, ‘My dad was yanking my mom’s hair in the street.’ Another time, a girl said, ‘My brother was going to kill us with an axe! He was on drugs.’ They tell you everything.

[My goal is] To make sure everyone in my classroom gets a good education. One of the hardest things about teaching is trying to get them diagnosed [for learning disabilities]. When I first started, you’d just say so and put them on a list. Now, there’s a lot of paperwork. They don’t want to test kids anymore. Maybe it’s too expensive? So trying to get them extra help can be hard.

I like to play poker too. Every Saturday, my dad would get his family together, and they would start playing poker. I would stand around the table and watch. When I got older, I played with them, my great-uncles.

I’m the oldest of six kids. I was the first in my family to go to college. My dad died when I was 21. Cancer. My youngest brother was 8. I had to take on a lot of responsibility, but it made me independent. It was hard because we didn’t get everything we wanted – there wasn’t enough to go around. We always had food though. We didn’t have name brands. Or snacks. Only breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Say we had pizza, everyone would try to save an extra piece for later.”

Excerpt may be edited for clarity.