I went shopping this past weekend at the mall here in Denver, and actually hid from a student. By hide, I mean I turned around and faced a wall/ATM. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for an awkward, weird exchange, and it seemed like I hadn’t been spotted yet. So I hid. That’s normal, right? B didn’t really think so.
Anyways, at said mall where I hid from a kid, I picked up this sack dress from Anthropologie (on super sale). It’s so soft (cotton/rayon) the dress feels like it should be worn to bed instead of worn to work. So I wore pyjamas to school on Monday and it felt glorious.
dress: anthropologie – boots: madewell
I just finished up sexual health week in my bio class, where we talked about STIs, contraceptives, and I answered a hundred burning questions from teenagers about sex (both as a noun and as a verb). We ended the week with consent as the discussion topic of the day, and it spilled out into a whole new can of worms that I’ve been mulling over for the past few days — rape culture in high school.
A few disclaimers to start with: I’m not an expert on anything. I’m not an expert in teaching, not an expert in science, not an expert in rape culture, not an expert in sexual health, not an expert in psychology, not even an expert in fashion (which is what this blog is all about). I’m also not intending to make blanket statements about any groups of people. I may inadvertently do so in this post, but please know that it is not my intent to create nor perpetuate stereotypes about any groups or communities. So, take this for what it is – a teacher who is struggling with how to approach a sensitive topic with her teenage students.
I started the lesson with a warm-up, asking kids to respond to this comic I found from an old Huffington Post article. Responses in my first period class (non-honors Bio) ranged from “some of the things being said aren’t bad at all” and “she’s getting complimented”, to “she looks angry”. Responses in 3rd and 5th (Honors Bio) were more what I expected to hear, such as “she’s being cat-called and it’s gross”. Following the warm-up, we watched this video about a woman walking the streets of NYC for 10 hours and getting cat-called a ridiculous number of times. The conversations exploded the moment the video finished in every class, but the difference in the tone of the classes was striking.
In first period, the conversation was dominated by the boys (and one girl) with comments such as “well, she was walking down by the clubs, so what would you expect?” and “that’s rude! she should say thank you when people say good morning!”. Girls are already out numbered in this class, and most of them pretty much kept quiet unless I called on them. A couple girls tried to argue back with the boys, but they ended up getting drowned out. One kid said something along the lines of “well, you know, she’s got curves and she’s wearing tight pants, you know, how can people ignore that?” The most vocal girl was agreeing with the boys – even going so far as to say the guy in the video who followed the woman for 5 minutes was “just going in the same direction, what’s wrong with that?” My jaw just hit the floor at that point.
This was when it really hit me (at 8 in the morning) how grossly ill-prepared I was for this conversation that was happening around me. These are teenage boys (and a girl), earnestly and innocently having a conversation that essentially perpetuates rape culture in our society – victim blaming, mansplaining, and #notallmen. The saddest thing of all was when I moved the conversation on to Brock Turner, a couple girls said, “it’s sad, but that’s what we expect now”. *tears*
My 3rd and 5th periods were so different from this – girls spoke up, the boys agreed with the girls, and even expressed solidarity with the woman in the video. *tears* One kid mentioned that a girl from 1st period had warned her that she “was going to get so mad about class today”.
In the end, I failed my kids big time on this. I hadn’t created enough of a safe space for my girls to speak up. I assumed the kids were mature enough to tackle these sensitive subjects and I assumed they’d all agree that cat-calling was a negative thing to do. I failed to recognize and anticipate past experiences of my students (one kid told a story about when he had paid a genuine compliment to a stranger who misunderstood and cussed him out and how he’s still upset about it). I was woefully unprepared for what happened. I should have paid closer attention and structured the lesson to give girls opportunities to share in smaller groups. I should have designed a pre-lesson that focused on empathy. I should have done a lot of things, and next year, there will be changes.
Or…maybe I should just leave it up to the experts? Who are these experts in high school? I know some of my colleagues also struggle with this. When I asked around, I heard that one year an English teacher taught A Streetcar Named Desire, and some kids said that Blanche deserved what she got (rape). Who’s taking this on and is it even our place? Is this one of those things were I’m stepping out of line as a biology/science teacher? I really don’t have an answer to this. Reader, do you?
In the meantime, here’s an outfit from this past week. Moving through my Australian COS haul slowly. A lovely kid in 6th period (AP Bio) said that my “outfit is on point today, Miss.” *tears*
top: cos – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: cole hahn
A couple of things from today: I wore a weird dress, and it’s been a weird (but cool) week. This week has been my sexual health week in bio class. During this week, we talk about HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and consent. This also means that sexual health week is when I will answer any and all questions students have (submitted anonymously) regardless of how graphic or silly. Some questions are super science-y, some earnest, and some questions require a quick Urban Dictionary search.As to be expected, teenagers are very curious about “all of the sex”. I get questions about everything, and every year I try to be as scientifically open and honest with these kids as I can. It has been an interesting, but awesome start of the week!
Now this dress, is just weird, but I really like it! I have to be careful though, since there are no actual sleeves on this dress, just holes for your arms to stick out of. So the higher I raise my arms, the higher the hemline climbs. I kept my arms practically glued to my sides all day. I picked this dress up from COS while I was in Melbourne this past summer. We have COS here in the states, but not anywhere near Denver. COS is weird – I think of it as the Swedish minimalist-but-architecturally-interesting-older-sister of H&M. Naturally, I looove this stuff. Lately, I find myself weaning off of the young-Brooklyn-hipster-Madewell aesthetic and moving on to the more mature-but-interesting-natural look that I often see on (also very hipster) places like Kinfolk. It’s all very shallow, I know. But this is my shallow little hobby, and I’m ok with that.
glasses: warby parker – cardigan and dress: cos – shoes: steve madden – watch: pebble
Last week I finally lost my patience with a class, and had a rough day at school. The week ended with a weekend filled with a new project at home: a complete overhaul and redesign of our front yard.
I don’t have much to say this week, so I’ll leave you all with a silly, one minute haiku:
winter is coming
leaves fall continuously
time to start a new
tank: madewell – cardigan: uniqlo – pants: urban outfitters – shoes: banana republic
This school year has been pretty awesome so far. The honeymoon period is definitely over, and these kids are still just absolutely amazing. This year I’m teaching Biology, Honors Biology, and AP Biology. With three classes to prep for I’m definitely not short on work, but it feels doable still. AP Bio is a new class for me, and it hasn’t been taught at my school for a long time (if ever? who knows with the level of teacher turnover at my school). That means I’m basically getting the course off the ground from scratch. Thankfully it’s a tiny class (14 brave kiddos!) and there are great resources to pull from online (Bozeman Science, I love you!). So there’s that.
I have awesome kids this year. Seriously I feel like Im in an alternate universe sometimes. I have kids who actually thank me daily for a good lesson. Today we examined case studies of homeostasis gone wrong (disease), and my students had to diagnose patients and design a treatment plan to get homeostasis back on track. One kid hung back and told me, “thanks, miss! That was really fun today, I think I want to be a doctor because that was so interesting!” Seriously. Like, Srsly.
B was out of town this past weekend, so I went shopping as usual. I found this sweater/tank/turtleneck/side-boob top at Nordstrom Rack and decided it was a good lazy morning top. It was a big hit. Teachers and students complemented me on it all day, and some people even asked to touch it. You know it’s got cool texture when people want to touch it. I’m pretty happy with this purchase. Also, I’ve been obsessed with this woman named Sophia Chang on Instagram lately, and I’m trying to steal some of her style points.
sweater: free people – tank and shoes: target – jeans: current elliot – lips: glossier in fig
B and I hiked another two 14ers last weekend. After our first one, we got the itch, so we squeezed a double whammy in before the weather turns for Fall. Gray’s Peak and Torrey’s Peak are right next to each other and are usually climbed as a two-for deal. I’m not going to lie though, this one was tough. It was only a little more mileage and elevation climb than Mt. Bierstadt, but for some reason this one felt harder. I started to feel pretty loopy in the head (lack of oxygen) about 3/4 of the way up the first peak, Gray’s. I pushed through though, and boy, was it worth it. The view at the top was breathtaking, literally and figuratively. It feels amazing to be on top of the Rocky Mountains. The second peak on the other hand, became a trudge-fest. I made it though, and felt pretty darn proud of myself. I’m not the fittest person ever, but darn it I can climb a mountain!
I started this week with a new top from Anthropologie. I think I have a pretty good pirate costume piece here, all I will have to do is engineer myself a peg-leg and find an eyepatch! It’s a darn comfy and cute top, but I paid a relatively hefty price for it, even on sale. I just have to remind myself “cost-per-wear”.
glasses: warby parker – top: anthropologie – jeans: mother denim – shoes: mia
Last Wednesday was back to school night. While I’m a firm believer in wearing “wear what ever you want” as a teacher, I broke out my most professional and conservative dress for Back to School night. I ended up meeting about 10 parents that night, and managed (for once) not to stick my foot in my mouth this year. Success!
I first saw this dress on my sister Kris, last spring. I went to visit her at work at the Pentagon where she gave me a tour of the place – pregnant with twins and wearing this dress with heels. It looked smashing on her, so I promptly ordered the same thing for my not-pregnant-nor wearing-heels self, in the same size. J.Crew Dresses that are fitted like this usually don’t work with my long-torso-short-legs shape. The butt area on the dress usually just ends up bagging up around my lower back. Kris shared with me a secret though – the “tall” sized dresses are a bit longer in the torso, and therefore work for us without being too short, too tight in the hips, and too baggy in the low back. Huzzah!
cardigan: american apparel – dress: j.crew – shoes: banana republic – goggles: picked up while tidying up the lab