EDITOR'S NOTE: McKenna Hydrick is a first-year teacher at Silver Bluff High School. She teaches English I and English II to ninth-graders. She is sharing her diary in this column each week.
Before I left for Christmas break, I thought I had everything in order.
I straightened my classroom.
I graded some of my exams.
I cleared out my filing cabinets.
I cleaned out my refrigerator.
In my pre-Christmas eyes, my classroom was right where I needed it to come back.
Well, I really must have been excited to leave for break because I forgot the most important part of closing up shop - plans for Jan. 2. It wasn't that I was 100 percent unprepared. I had long-range plans and materials, but I didn't have the specifics.
I already had done so much work over the break that I had forgotten about the day I returned. Every second of my break was consumed with Christmas, family, getting through my sickness, and grading exams and research papers.
It didn't occur to me until around 7 p.m. New Year's Day that I had no clue what I was going to do the next day.
I got very frustrated that night.
I think my frustration was partly with my lack of preparation, but it also was with being a first-year teacher.
I'm completely exhausted.
It's been draining to have to read the literature, some of it for the first time, create the plans, create corresponding lessons and worksheets, and make quizzes and tests all at the same time.
Then I am supposed to stand in front of my class and feel confident. I love my job - it's just hard, and I'm tired.
Nonetheless, I still had to plan something for the first day back. When I called my co-worker, who also is a first-year English teacher, we realized we were in the same position. We quickly planned together and decided we would make copies in the morning.
During our first period planning, we got everything together, and I felt fairly confident about the day.
However, Tuesday was insane. Getting everything back in order was more complicated than I thought it would be.
I realized that it was extremely difficult for me to get back in the routine.
I wasn't ready to come back. I wasn't ready to get up early again.
I never thought that teachers would feel like this.
I didn't think that teachers should feel like this. But I did.
It's a feeling that most people associate with how students feel on the first day back, but I felt it the same way my students did.
I got through the day, and by the end of it, I was back in the routine. It's funny how quickly things come back to you sometimes.
Through this experience, I learned that I need to be more efficient before and during the breaks so I am more prepared and less stressed.