The days have been long and hard lately. I’ve taught 12th graders before, but the batch I have this year for Physics are just too cool for school. I started the year off thinking I could give them a lot of freedom and personal responsibility, only to realize that they just can’t handle the truth – they need some hand holding. Cell phones out left and right just to “check the time” and independent practice time spent chatting it up about homecoming (yup, it’s a thing here and I’m really weirded out by this new-to-me Americana type tradition). I’m working on it – slowly but surely. I gave a stern behavioral expectations lecture today about how “you’re young adults now, that means I shouldn’t have to mother you”. sigh. I’m not the motherly type.
I bought a backpack to lug my papers and laptop back and forth to school. My back feels better (though I have a car now – my back never gets a chance to complain anymore!), I like the organization, and I like the color. Also, I was really tired of the plastic tarp smell that never really goes away with the Freitag bags and a purse just wasn’t cutting it – too small.
I just realized how many times I typed “I” in such a short post. Feeling very self centered and narcissistic now. On to the photos!
glasses: warby parker – cardigan: uniqlo – dress and belt: f21 – shoes: saltwater sandals – backpack: jansport – charm: ugly dolls
I did it this year – I brought poop into my classroom today. I did my “alive/dead/not-living” lesson today, as I do in the beginning of every school year. The lesson includes an activity where students circulate through about 14 items, where they have to determine if the item is alive, dead, or not-living. It helps to prime the kids on what it really means to be alive (biologically speaking). It’s a brilliant lesson borrowed from my mentor/coach from my first few years of teaching, Eric. It’s a hit every time, and really gets the kids thinking about common characteristics/processes that all living things share. Today, the lesson was a smash – because now I’m the teacher who brings dog shit to class (in a sealed baggie).
glasses: warby parker beckett – shirt: anthropologie pintucked buttondown – jeans: f21 – shoes: birkenstock arizona – tracker: fitbit flex – watch: fossil
First day of school with students was this past Monday and Tuesday. Both days – 9th graders only on Monday and all the rest on Tuesday. So I had in effect 2 first days of school. This is what I wore on day one and day two of the first day(s) of school. For me teaching is like childbirth (or so I hear). It’s agony sometimes, but then your mind seems to block all that stuff away after a break from the agony. The summer must have given my brain time to block a lot of the agony away, because I. Am. Exhausted. It’s been 11-13 hour days all this week and lots of mental strain trying to get organized and learn 110 names and faces. Much of it has to do with the fact that I’m starting a new school and teaching one (physics) and a half new courses. The half is because 2 of my 4 sections are Honors Biology, and I’ve only ever taught at non-tracking schools in the past. I’m generally not a fan of tracking students, but I’ll admit it’s going to challenge me more as I now have to up the bio game.
day one – dress: thrift store find – belt: h&m – shoes: madewell – glasses: warby parker – day two – tshirt and belt: jcrew – skirt: anthropologie – sweater: uniqlo – shoes: sweedish hasbeens
I chopped my hair for my birthday this past month – more than 6 inches off. It felt great, though I still just tie it up in a bun most days. This day though, I wore it down. It felt weird. Also, it was back to school night, so that meant I was at school actively teaching/planning/talking to parents from 7am to 8pm. In addition, my outfit turned out really matchy-matchy. fun.
shirt: anthropologie – belt: urban outfitters (old) – jeans: uniqlo – boots: madewell (old)
It’s funny how much translates from one district to another. So far, NYCDOE’s “rigor” is just about the same as DPS’s “rigor”. Today I spent the bulk of my day working on year long “Student Learning Objectives” and creating a “performance based task” for the end of the first unit (no more expeditions). It’s been a long day. I am lucky this year though – I am working closely with a super thoughtful teacher who is also teaching bio. The catch is, my schedule is still not set yet and the first day of school with students is this Monday. At first I was told I would be teaching Physics (2 sections), Bio, and a credit recovery course. Now I may be teaching one Physics, Honors Bio, Bio and the credit recovery. My eyes went buggy a first, but I’m determined not to stress over having 4 different preps (courses to teach) till everything is set with the master schedule.
Today on the clothing front I went a bit nicer than the usual t-shirt and jeans of summer. I’ve also been sporting these amazingly sassy sunglasses all summer. My friends Sara and Pedro gave them to me before I left Brooklyn and they are seriously the best ever. They’re Valentino and probably the nicest thing I own.
sunnies: valentino – shirt: madewell – skirt: super old dkny – shoes: saltwater sandals – tracker: fitbit
*jazz hands* New classroom!! *jazz hands*
Today was day three of seven “school launch” days for staff at my new high school here in Denver. It’s been meeting after meeting, training, team building activities and orientation. I barely had time to snap some photos in my new classroom. I still have to find the optimal place with the best non-yellow lighting in the classroom, but as you can see, my new room is really stinkin nice. Talk about an awesome science classroom – there is a dedicated instruction section and separate lab benches in the back. It’s the nicest classroom I’ve ever seen AND, the students get ROCKING CHAIRS. That’s right, rocking chairs. Today’s training was on classroom management, aka 100% engagement (buzz word alert). It was actually a nice refresher on methods I’d forgotten about such as various non-verbal cues, anonymous whole class corrections and private corrections. It made me think about my classroom management style, which has evolved into a very stern, strict, I’m-not-playing-around-so-you-better-check-yourself type of management that some students find a bit rough around the edges and if I’m honest with myself, a bit jerky. I don’t usually loosen up until second semester when the kids know the routine and know not to test me anymore (for the most part). So my focus this year in terms of classroom management is, don’t be a jerk. I need to breathe more, control my frustrations, stay calm, and utilize private corrections more. One of the first things I taped up on my wall by my desk is my post card of a Barbara Kruger piece, “Don’t be a jerk”. I love that little postcard – I picked it up at the Hirshhorn in Washington DC in 2012 and it’s been a classroom staple of mine. This year, it has new meaning. I used to point to it occasionally when kids were mean to each other, but this year, it’s for me.
On the clothing end, it’s really nothing exciting. I’m still on a basics kick and I’m in love with my summer sandals: the oh so trendy right now Birkenstocks. B calls them “Jesus Sandals” or “big black boats” and I can’t really disagree with him. I just got so obsessed with how cute I found then all of a sudden (just last summer I called them the ugliest things ever) when they started popping up all over my Feedly feed of fashion bloggers. I’ve also retired my trusty Freitag bag for a while. The plastic smell never really dissipates, and I was getting pretty tired of it. So I dug out the old J.Crew purse from my SF teaching days. Still holding up ok for now. I do have my eye on the also uber trendy Fjallraven Kanken backpack though. I’m such a sucker for hipster trends. Sigh.
glasses: warby parker beckett – cardigan and bag: super old j.crew – t-shirt: madewell – jeans: j brand via nordstrom rack – shoes: birkenstock
Or, since I’ve been gone.
I’ve let this blog drop for the past 8 months for a few reasons:
- I fell into a sartorial rut
- I ran out of things to say (or so I thought)
- B and I decided to make (yet another) life change by moving to Denver, CO
- I got busy (but not really, it was more laziness than anything)
I’m still struggling with #1 and #2, but slightly less so now. My climate has changed and more significantly, my mode of transportation has changed. We bought a car, so I no longer have to schlep it through snow/sleet and for that matter walk very much at all to/from school. My Fitbit has had depressingly low numbers since we moved. I no longer have to worry about new shoes giving me blisters after walking miles or how hot/cold I will be on the walk to the subway. I can wear whatever I want now, thanks to the fancy A/C and heated seats in the new ride. It’s borderline bougie. In addition, I’m starting at a new school here in Denver. That means new all of the things: classes, students, standards, curriculum (the district curriculum tells you to teach from a textbook – that’s practically a dirty word where I come from), BBC (blackboard configuration), buzz words, rules, etc. I will have heaps to talk about. I’m entering my 6th year of teaching high school science in public schools. I’m just going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for making it past the legendary “50% gone by 5 years” mark. Do I feel like an experienced teacher? Nope. Not even close.
So what has happened since I’ve been gone? If you follow me on Instagram, none of this is news to you.
I went to the Dominican Republic over winter break with a couple of awesome friends.
I went to Puerto Rico over spring break with yet another awesome friend. Most amazing tropical beach vacation ever.
Hung out with my niece and went with my sister to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner pre-parties again.
B and I packed up, said goodbye (with a bit of tears) to my crew kids at Leaders, bid farewell to Brooklyn and moved to Denver. We’ve been here for a month so far, more on Denver to come.