It felt good to tell him in response self-contained, six years. To which he replied, "So you speak the language?" Yes. I nodded empathetically. Yes. I am fluent in you-can't-tell-me-nothin'-I'm-mad-at-the-world-ese.
He spoke on about the student mentioning that she has control issues. I told him, I felt her energy. I could relate to him too, as I vividly remember pushing kids out the door at the end of a long day-- using my energy and with the thought that tomorrow is a new day, but for today, I'm done.
But I was headed in the student's direction, so I addressed her conduct in a way that she may not have expected: a simple reminder to be mindful how she moves through the halls, as other people also occupy the same space. And I used her name, which I had just learned from my co-worker's interactions with her. This surprised her in a good way, as did my tone.
So yes, in four words, the story of my first six years of teaching is:
self-contained, six years.