Dear diary,

The moment has arrived. The honeymoon is over. When each new school year begins, I have a wonderful feeling of purpose, happiness, and energy that fuels me. I thrive with structure and routine. Luckily, all of these still hold true; however, there’s this heavy feeling hanging over me now. That feeling you get after the honeymoon comes to an end, and the bills start coming for the mortgage, utilities, groceries, and you spend your weekends keeping up with laundry and cleaning… it’s a never-ending list of work. You daydream about the recently made memories that fueled your desire to live and to love in the moment of that treasured honeymoon vacation and forever. That heavy feeling though, it sticks with you, making your mind spin with thoughts and anxiety of what needs to be done before you can have a quiet, relaxing time, living and loving in the moment. Those thoughts keep you from falling asleep on a night that precedes an early morning, and you are lucky if your dreams are pleasant and a full restful night heals your body and mind from the stress of life.

It’s Monday morning, and I am tired before even starting my workday. For the first time in a long time, I am ready for my day to end, only so that I can go to bed early. To be continued until later…

There were 13 tabs open in my internet browser in order for me to be prepared for both in-person and online in the morning. They took me until lunch, and then another round of tabs opened for the afternoon.

Every time I have this one online artist during class time, I check in with this artist and the others from the class, give the directions, and send them off to create after answering any questions. It never fails that every time I have this one online artist during class time, I am later greeted by an email notification that this artist invited me to a Google Meet.

I overestimated the ELA abilities in one of my older groups this morning when I incorporated adjectives, adverbs, actions, and some other categories into an ideation game. It took more than double the time I had planned for the activity.

Early afternoon nearly brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t cry because I had to walk into a kindergarten classroom in less than 15 minutes. That was not the first time today that I wanted to cry, and could not. I can’t relay to you how much it is took for me to hold myself together in that moment. What was it exactly? Everything. Everything all at once and building up. The stress of teaching during a pandemic is to blame for my extreme lows and highs that I experience during the day. Certain expectations that would occur during a normal school year are still expected; however, the normal schedule to complete the tasks no longer exists. In fact, there’s so much more on teachers’ plates of responsibilities during this pandemic; thinly spread isn’t even touching the status held. I controlled my emotions during my school day, but once I was in solitude on the beautiful drive home, I let it out.

Today I consumed more sugar from chocolate than I have since Thanksgiving last year when I all but stopped eating it.

I have to be careful not to stress eat chocolate, or my pants will no longer fit.

Recess has slowly progressed to a plethora of tattling, bathroom breaks, bumps, falls, and discipline issues, on top of the constant reminders of mask wearing, how to wear a mask, keeping a safe distance from friends, and not touching others.

I feel like I unloaded a lot of negativity in this entry today. I needed to do that; otherwise it stews in my thoughts and creates havoc. The one positive thing that happened today, something that I clung to all day – I arrived to school and a note sat on top of my portable teaching studio. It was from my beloved custodian, you know, the one who has been so kind to me for years. It was the most pleasant way to begin my day, and I am thankful for her thoughtfulness. She is like my personal cheerleader. I hope that you have a personal cheerleader, too.