To be honest, I don't really remember what happened just before that (it was twelve years ago), but I definitely remember what happened afterwards.
Or what didn't happen afterwards.
I didn't sleep more than twenty minutes that night.
I wasn't really upset that she had said she hated me. Believe it or not, I was worried.
Every teacher has taught a student (probably many students) like her. Let's call her Bridget. Bridget had an unstable home life, fairly significant anger issues, low academic performance and self worth, and was overall an unhappy kid. I'm not saying it was her fault (much of it probably wasn't), but it was what it was.
Although I don't remember the details, I know that Bridget had been extremely disruptive that day. My attempts to refocus her concluded with the bell, as a spitting-mad Bridget walked out of class, and directed at me a pointed, "I hate you!" on her way out.
That kept awake. And worried.
Looking back, I attribute this to my then lack of experience with middle school kids. This was the first marking period - there were eight months left. How I would manage my class after this? What would happen tomorrow? That was it - any hopes for a successful year were over.
The next day, I dragged myself into school, and cringed as the bell rang to end third period. My stomach was twisted in knots as I saw Bridget headed to my class. As she walked towards me, she didn't make eye contact. A bad sign.
As Bridget approached, she finally looked up at me. Her demeanor was calm - it even looked like she almost had a smile on her face.
"Hi, Mr. Levine," she said cheerily, as she walked in, sat down and started her warm-up.
I exhaled. Welcome to middle school.