This skirt makes me feel womanly – like I’m finally dressing for my age, which thankfully has not started with a 1 or a 2 for a little while. It feels good to be mature sometimes and out of colored skinny jeans (like yesterday). Today was a long day and very trying. I laughed, teased, lectured and lost it all in between 8am and 5pm. By the time I got home I wanted to glue myself onto the couch and never get off. I am a woman of few words today, with the new Daft Punk album to keep me company on the couch.
cardigan and tshirt: j.crew – belt: gap – skirt: anthropologie last seen here- shoes: sweedish hasbeens
Intensive week ended, and it’s bittersweet. Of the all the kids we taught to blog, two have been keeping up with it into the next week post-intensive. Yay Celeste and Cathy! The school year is winding down, only 16 days till my kiddos take their Living Environment (biology) regents exam. Regents exams are a double whammy: kids have to score a 65 or above to graduate, and my performance as a teacher is evaluated based on how many kids pass. So what happens? I stress out insanely about getting through all the material and the last few weeks are a mad dash to get through the standards. Also, I stress out about the kids who are failing the class, which
is attributed to a lack of motivation to complete assignments obviously is becasue my curriculum is not engaging enough nor is it rigorous enough. Since apparently good teachers know, there is a correlation between increased rigor and engagement/buy in. Seriously, I’d like to see the data for that. I have my own informal data from my classroom and it shows that the harder I make an assignment, the less the students are motivated to complete it. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. I just don’t know what the answer is.
I’m going off on a depressive tangent here, so I’ll stop and instead write about a shallower topic…clothes! I’ve love, loved this corduroy pea coat for the past 8 or so years and it’s about to get packed up for the summer. I love the cut and how the collar pops up when I button it – keeps my long neck shielded from the wind.
glasses: warby parker – coat: super old gap – sweater: old j.crew – jeans: old f21 – shoes: frye
One thing I’ve learned in the past 4 years of teaching (which is not very long) is that you can’t take much personally. It was a hard lesson to learn in my first year (when one of my students stole my laptop and sold it on the street within 15 minutes), and even into my second. Kids are more concerned with what’s going on in their own lives than with yours. This means, if they didn’t do HW, it’s not because they don’t like you. Instead, it’s because they were up late last night with their own real life soap opera. If they take your pencil, it’s not because they don’t respect you. Instead, it’s because kids can’t keep track of their own writing utensils and their back packs are like black holes. You as a person are not even on their radar, let alone significant enough for them to care about potentially hurting your feelings with their careless actions. The same thing kind of goes for teachers. So don’t take it personally, it’s not all about you. Instead, it’s all about the kids. That is all.
On a brighter note, I got NEW SUMMER SANDALS!!! They are taking some breaking in, especially at weird spots on my ankles with slight bony protrusions. I love them and they were a splurge (thanks, tax man for paying out my interest free loan!).
These are from last week, when we were all stressed over our School Quality review. It also happened to be one of the first beautiful spring days of 2013. Of course, now that the SQR is over and we can actually enjoy life again, it’s overcast and cold. On this day last week, my legs made an appearance for the fist time this year. Hello spring! I’m also a particular fan of this sweater, found in the clearance cave of Anthropologie. B hates it – he says it’s too granny hipster for him. Whateves, I LOVE IT.
glasses: bonlook – necklace: unicorn crafts – sweater: anthopologie – belt and skit: j.crew – shoes and white tank: target
It’s the first day back from spring break, so I woke up this morning feeling like I needed to take another week off to relax. Unfortunately (and fortunately), that’s not an option – so second best is a super lax get up for the day. I found this skirt hidden deep in the sale dungeon at Anthropologie while out walking with B yesterday. I felt the warm, thick stretchy material of the skirt and pictured myself in it: lounging at my desk with my feet up watching over a classroom full of kids as they work diligently on their final papers. One can dream, right? I can already tell that this skirt, even with its crazy ass print (for me) and weird length is going to be a classroom staple.
sweater: j.crew – white t: target – skirt: anthropologie – booties: bp – watch: fossil
So what’s the difference between ‘vintage’ and ‘thrift’? Can someone do a venn diagram comparison? Cuz IDK.
I picked this dress up the last time I went thrifting (is that even a word?) along with this one. It was $5, but it also had some horrible bell sleeves (that matched the hem) along with that old polyester smell that all vintage shops are perfumed with. I bought it anyway, because, hey, FIVE BUCKS! I knew right away that the sleeves had to come off, so I brought the dress down to DC where my super talented sewer mom took them straight off. I should have kept the sleeves to show you here, but I like to travel light and chucked them out promptly. This morning I checked the weather, which was above freezing so I made a beeline for this dress. har har.
glasses: warby parker – dress: vintage/thrifted – cardigan: j.crew – tights: uniqlo – boots: bp (super old)
Update: For those of you who are interested, I’ve had an improvement on grades this past week. After giving out progress reports, I added a few super easy low level assignments as classwork and I got a ton of late work turned in. I think the progress reports lit some fires under their butts in terms of completing work. Also, I now have standing tutoring appointments with a few kiddos, which helps with HW completion. I still plan on having a “make-up work day” near the end of the quarter though. I’m seeing progress – YAY!!
Today was progress report day. I gave each and every student a print out showing learning targets and their progress towards meeting them (aka did you do your assignments). It was a huge hubbub and I’m now officially the most unpopular teacher at school. The kids were in a tizzy and I even had 2 students storm outside for a break in the hall to collect themselves. It’s appalling to me how many students come to school every day and still manage to complete absolutely zero assignments – no classwork, no lab, no quizzes, and most definitely no homework. For some reason or another (I’m still mulling it over), this quarter has been an especially bad one. In one class out of 30 students, only 7 have a passing grade or higher. That means even if I “discount” students who never show up, I’m maintaining a 30% passing rate. I have an abysmal HW return rate – they just don’t do it. I also expect students to not only do their work, but to do it well and according to the guidelines of the assignment. I don’t give credit for “effort”, meaning if I ask about osmosis and they scratch something out about Osmosis Jones, I don’t take it.
So this begs to question, “What am I doing wrong!?” By the end of my third section of Living Environment class, I’d fallen into a pit of self-doubt. After all, if so many kids are failing, it MUST be me and NOT them. I’m doing something wrong, I need to change something. Is that true? Or have I been brainwashed by all the anti-teacher rhetoric floating around out there? These grades (or lack of grades, rather) has weighed heavily on me all day, so I went searching for answers. I gave my classes time to air grievances and make comments, I conferenced with my co-teacher and I even sought advice from my administrator (“let me think about that one…”). This is what I learned today:
Student #1: “You grade too hard miss! I struggle in all my classes, but yours way more than others!”
Student #2: “You’re too strict! I worked so hard on this and you still only gave be a 2.1 (we use standards based grading where 1=not meeting the learning target, 2=approaching the target, 3=meets the target and 4= excels at the learning target)!
Student #3: “You give too much work!”
Student #4: (to another student, right in front of me) “I can’t even listen to her talk right now, I’m too pissed. Ugh, she needs to just shut up!”
Student #5 “WHAT? This is mad f-ed up! I do all my work!”
-I should have other teachers grade my lab reports and compare scores. Maybe I am too strict with grading. I use a rubric, which the kids have a copy of. Maybe I need to ease up on sticking to it.
-I need to ease up on assigning homework, and/or I should not count all of them, just some.
-The kids thought I was laughing at them sinisterly when in fact I was trying to force a smile while they were all voicing their discontent. My uncomfortable smile apparently = evil I’m-out-to-get-you laugh. Crap.
-I just need to ease up in general.
In my defense, this is how I help support my kids academically with their work:
-I scaffold the shit out of every assignment I give by outlining reports for them, giving them graphic organizers, vocabulary instruction, etc. I practically hold their hands through every assignment. My co-teacher even created a “fill in the blank” lab report for my SPED (special-ed) and ELL (English language learners)!
-I give written feedback on every assignment I hand back.
-I’m available at any hour of the day for tutoring or help in person, over email or even by phone. The kids have all my info, for real.
-I allow practically unlimited time for turning in assignments. I accept any and all late work up until the day before grades are due.
-I allow for revisions: If a kid is not happy with his/her grade, they can revise their work (based on my feedback) and re-submit it.
-I assign work that is within their reach with realistic timelines (I think), such as “write a paragraph on whether or not the BRCA gene should be patented, using my given topic sentence”.
So, what do you guys think? What do I need to change? How can I up my passing rates without compromising my ethics and just pushing kids through? My grade team had a discussion around broken grading practices and how to fix them last monday. I need to continue the discussion. Please help.
In the meantime, here’s what I wore today, pencil in hair, sinister smile and all.
shirt: madewell – belt: j.crew – jeans: bdg – socks: juicy couture (gift from my sister years ago) – boots: steve madden – necklace: my popo via mommy
Thinking-aloud: a strategy used by teachers to teach reading comprehension or problem solving.
I’ve never tried the “think-aloud” strategy in my class. I saw a teacher model it once and it felt awkward, silly and uncomfortable. Then again, that teacher was generally awkward, weird and uncomfortable socially anyways. Go figure.
Like a good teacher should, I thought that maybe I should at least try this strategy at least once before throwing it off as gimmicky. So here goes: Think-aloud – the teacher outfit version.
Damn – hit the snooze 2 too many times. panic! brush teeth, wash face, pee and Hmm..it’s overcast outside, and my app claims it will be 48°F out today – warm!! Oh crap it’s late – panic! what do I wear, stare at closet, WHAT DO I WEAR? panic! coffee. I’m going to need 11 cups today. cooooooffffeeeeee. load the thermos. what do I wear? oh eff it, same old black jeans on! oh yeah…I like that t-shirt and it’s dressier than just a t-shirt, it has “leather”! edge! k. k. k. k. k. now what else do I need…belt, shoes. I’m tired of boots and it’s “warm” out – yay favorite oxfords! I’ve missed you. crap, they dont match all the black….uhhh…sweater! solved. warm, soft, brown, present from an ex-boyfriend. slap concealer on spots brought on by burrito and beer binging in SF last week, where’s my grape soda flavored lip balm? coooooffffeeeeee. shit, if i dont leave now, I wont have time to organize before classes start. grab puffy coat, throw bobby pins in hair, keys! bag! cooooooffffeeeee. hustle.
glasses: warby parker – sweater: j.crew – t-shirt: zara – belt: gap – jeans: bdg – shoes: gh bass – watch: fossil
Every lesson needs an assessment, so here’s the exit ticket: Using evidence to support your answer, predict which item from friday’s outfit will most likely be incorporated into the look for Ms. Schenck on monday.
Yup, think-aloud still feels silly, awkward and uncomfortable.
This dress hasn’t been worn since this post, last year, and my has time flown by. It’s still winter around here, so tights alone were not enough. Thus the socks over – just enough added warmth, and a way to wear thigh-highs without feeling like Cher Horowitz.
dress: anthropologie (old) – cardigan and tights: uniqlo – high socks: asos – boots: steve madden
I was happy to be back in SF last week, but I’m also happy to be home. It was a week filled with friends and also included a three day snowboarding side trip in Tahoe (the kids picked up on the irony of heading to Cali to find snow – I got a lot of comments on that today). There really is nothing like San Francisco air (except maybe the water!). Spring break is already around the corner, and I’ll be getting another breath of fresh air when Aimee comes to visit!
This wrinkly top is an old one from Madewell. I have a slight obsession with the color (burnt sienna?), but the material seems to harbor smells. TMI?
glasses: warby parker – sweater: uniqlo – blouse: madewell – tank (underneath) & jeans: f21 – boots: steve madden – belt: j.crew – necklace: my mom’s hand-me-down