Reflections on the School Year

The last day of school for teachers is finally here! It’s been a year of extremes – and I’m writing this up in my new classroom (at the same school)! After 3 years of photographing outfits in room B201, I am moving to a new science room that is properly set up with a fume hood. I’m teaching Chemistry next year, for the first time ever.  That’s right, every year is a new challenge, and every year is a different beast to slay! So goodbye, room B201, you’ve been good to me. Hello, room B241!

THLT last day

THLT last day2jpg

sunnies: freebie swag from b – cardigan: american apparel – top: f21 – jeans: mother denim – belt: jcrew – shoes: saltwater sandals

This year was like a split personality. On one end, I had the best year I’ve ever had with students. This was the first year I’ve ever had students actually thank me on a daily basis. More than one kid did this, every day.  It seems silly, and it seems small, but holy crap! After 6 years of investing mentally, emotionally, and introspectively into my classroom with (what felt like more often than not) zero thanks for my hard work, this year’s batch of amazing young humans breathed new life into me. The letters I got at the end of the year really made my efforts totally worth it. I had kids write me that they “will never look at the world the same way again”, and “thank you for making me enjoy science”, and “you’re a really good teacher who isn’t afraid to expose their students to the real world, it is important that you do that because it sticks”. Words can’t even express how good this feels.  I just can’t even. *tears*

On the other, I had a very challenging year with the educational system. At our closing meeting this morning, our principal talked about the importance of never giving up on our students, and advocating for them, no matter what it takes.  The word advocate really stuck in my mind, because I thought about all my kids and how I will always advocate for them, and of their letters thanking me for it. But then I thought, who is advocating for me? Am I my only advocate (professionally)? Do we teachers all have to fight our own individual battles, or is that just part of the culture here at my school? Here in Denver, we have an evaluation system tied to your pay, and tied to whether or not you get to keep your job. It is not meant (or maybe used?) to actually help you grow as an educator, because there’s too much at stake professionally. In addition, there is absolutely no incentive to go above and beyond, because to be better than just an “effective” teacher is to be a unicorn. I don’t want to go down a negative rabbit hole, because that’s not where my heart is. Instead, I’ll leave you with this picture of a pin, and a picture of how rewarding teaching can feel.

396269_229953693753210_146778346_nPhoto May 26, 7 43 58 AM

First Week

The first week of school is done! It was a rough week trying to get my body to physically adjust back to being in the classroom with students. I wasn’t hungry when I actually had time to eat, and I was starving during 5th period when I don’t have any breathing time till around 2:30. My restroom break schedule still needs tweaking around my teaching schedule. To help that, I’ve been forgetting to drink any “not coffee” type liquids. By the time next Friday rolls around, I will have whipped my body back into teaching shape with the bladder made of iron.

This year I’ve decided to document my entire “first week back” wardrobe. This is a fashion blog, after all, and there is no more important sartorial week in a teachers year than the first week back. Am I right? This week’s wardrobe is pretty typical for me – I start off with a few nice (read: dress or skirt) and casual it up for the rest of the days, ending with a bang of super dress-down on Fridays.

Monday: 9th grade only (I do not have classes, as I teach 10th and 12th graders this year). I forgot to take photos that day in the classroom, so B helped me snap a couple on my phone when I got home. Giant forehead alert!

first day of school2

first day of school

glasses: warby parker – cardigan: american apparel – dress: j.crew – shoes: saltwater sandals

Tuesday: My actual first day of school. I don’t know what I was thinking putting this outfit together the night before, because I hated it all day at school. I think the shoes have got to go to a friend who has a desk job, because they were not comfortable at all for making laps in the hallways. The skirt was too tight in the waist (summer pleasures brought on a fall squeeze) and kept climbing upwards when I walked. It’s a old skirt, and I used to love it, but I think it’s passed it’s peak. The shirt on the other hand, I love.

jcrew ruffle hem silk top

jcrew ruffle hem silk tank

glasses: warby parker – top: j.crew – skirt: dkny jeans – shoes: h&m

Wednesday: the short day. We have block schedule at my school on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This means I have prep periods all morning, teach only one 1.5 hr class, and then we have early release for grade team and all staff meetings. I love Wednesdays, obvi

3x1 channel jeans

anthropologie leather trim tank

shirt: anthropologie – belt: banana republic – jeans: 3×1 – shoes: mia

Thursday: OMG save me type of a day. Thursdays is the opposite of Wednesdays this year. I teach straight through for 5.5 hrs before I get a real break. By the end of Thursday I could barely remember my own name.

beastie boys shirt

beastie boys shirt2

glasses: warby parker – shirt: target – skirt: banana republic – shoes: mia

Friday: Thank god the weekend is here, I survived! This Friday, I busted out a slam dunk of a first week of school t-shirt, a real gem for this science teacher. B’s mum sent over a super stuffed birthday package for me this year, full of gummy candies, gorgeous smelling soaps, gardening gloves, and an awesome science shirt! It is seriously the best, and the kids definitely liked it. The shirt is from a small Perth based Etsy shop called ScienceStitch. I think mum found the shirt in Perth, so I’m sorry if you’re looking for the same shirt online.

i do science tshirt

science stitch

i do science

t-shirt: science stitch – belt: gap – jeans: 3×1 – shoes: nike (omg, like walking on clouds!)

Peek a Boo

Summer is winding down and we’re just starting to get some autumn like weather here in Denver.  I figured the time was right to take out this summer dress I picked up at Madewell (on super sale as always) while in New York.  It’s a bit risque for work, with cut outs on the sides.  So I kept my cardigan on all day while at school to cover up all the torso bits.  I even kept it on through the “I’m now sweating profusely because all of a sudden my admin/evaluator just walked in to hang out” moments of the day.  Bonus: the dress has huge pockets!

peek a boo5

peek a boo

peek a boo2

peek a boo3

peek a boo4

glasses: warby parker – cardigan: uniqlo – dress: madewell – shoes: saltwater sandals

The Second First Day

I wore just about this same outfit just about a year ago.  It’s a pretty reliable go to outfit – pencil skirts solve all sorts of morning wardrobe emergencies.  On Tuesday morning, I wasted about 10 minutes in the morning staring at my closet with a blank head.  I was stuck in one of those “I have nothing to wear!” panics.  I did not have those 10 minutes to waste.  If I’m not in the building at least 30 minutes before first period starts, the whole day will feel off.

About these sandals:  I’ve had them for about 5 years now.  I have a black pair and a tan pair, so they go with everything imaginable.  I wear the crap out of them every summer and they’ve been with me every time I travel.  It’s almost time to retire them, but they’re still holding up.  Maybe next sumer I’ll switch it up a bit and try out something else.  If you don’t already own a pair of Saltwater Sandals, I highly recommend you check them out.  The best summer sandal ever.

Day two3

Day two2

Day two

top: madewell – skirt: jcrew – shoes: saltwater sandals


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!

backpackin4 backpackin2 backpackin3

glasses: warby parker – cardigan: uniqlo – dress and belt: f21 – shoes: saltwater sandals – backpack: jansport – charm: ugly dolls


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.Performance1



sunnies: valentino – shirt: madewell – skirt: super old dkny – shoes: saltwater sandals – tracker: fitbit

end of summer

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can say that I am ready for school to start — at least my classroom is.  All my learning targets are up, my lessons planned for monday, my planning documents submitted to administration, and my walls are covered with marked areas for my three different classes.  This year I’m teaching Living Environment, Urban Agriculture (farms and cooking) and then I have my Crew.  That’s a total of 138 on my roster, an improvement over my 170 my first year teaching.

Today’s shirt is a new one from Anthro that is a little bit beachy, a little bit greek-ish and a tad bit french-ish.  I like that it has pockets.




top: anthropologie (on sale now) – jeans: f21 – shoes: saltwater sandals

Joyful Learning

Some sociology PhD candidate should do a study on working in education and the use of buzz words.  I swear there must be a correlation between the use (or over use) of buzz words and the administration ladder.  The kicker is that every district has their own set of buzz words.  I’m imagining with every new chancellor/superintendent, the buzz words change.  In SF, the buzz words were data, accountability, informed instruction, and joyful learners.  Today’s theme was joy.  As in my joy Division shirt, joy in iced coffee, and joy in getting my classroom set up and ready for the first day of school.  Also, joyful in the fact that my jeans were still white at the end of the day.

joy division

joy division2

joy division3

My two favorite things lately:  A birthday lipstick from B’s mum, sent all the way from Perth & a mini-Darwin figurine from my co-teacher Pam.  He’s the shit and the lipstick is bright and joyful.

joy division4

glasses: warby parker – tshirt: a present from my bud grace, but can be found here – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: saltwater sandals – lipstick: australis

The last hurrah Part 2: the road trip

On the way down and back from Savannah, Grace and I took our time on the ole I-95 and…

1) ate at Cracker Barrel 3 times.  That place is so yummy and cheap — we gorged on mac n’ cheese and their biscuits.  This is my excited face for good ‘ole country food.

down south1

down south 2

down south3

sunnies: knockaround – tank: f21 – shorts: uniqlo – shoes: saltwater sandals – bag: h&m

2) stopped at the Wormsloe Plantation on the outskirts of Savannah, mainly to check out the long oak lined driveway and for a quick history lesson from the park ranger.

savannah 12

savannah 13

3) we went to Medieval Times!!   A SF friend of mine, Sunny, is from Myrtle Beach, SC.  So naturally I had to check it out on the way home.  I emailed her for recomendations and she hooked us up with her friend who is a beer wench at Medieval Times.  There was no way I could pass up an opportunity to be called m’lady.  I freaking loved it, but I don’t think Grace shared my dorky excitement for knights and jousting.  WE GOT CROWNS!!  Sadly, our blue night “died” near the end after a battle with the black and white night.  *tear*

up north 3

up north 2

up north 1

up north 4

up north 5

up north 6

up north 7

4) we stopped at so many gas stations I lost count.  The best one by far had a Dunkin Doughnuts and a lion statue outside.  Naturally, I just had to climb on it and strike a pose.  I ended up with a slight burn from the hot steel.  Oops!

up north 8

up north 9


There’s my favorite horsie shirt again.

B and I live in Brooklyn now, about 3 (Avenue) blocks from Prospect park, which I would say is roughly the size half the size of Golden Gate park in SF.  We’ve been in and out of this park already, checking out the farmer’s market and riding around the loop on our new bikes.  B snapped these photos the last time we strolled over to the Farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza.  The park is such a nice reprieve from the noises of the city (even with the 200 family BBQs that happen all the time there, and the crazy screaming little kids on their razors).  I’m thankful to have an apartment close to park.  I plan on getting a lot of use out of my new super awesome park ready timbuk2 bag.

By the way, Saltwater Sandals are seriously the best summer sandal ever.  Super comfy, never rubs, never pinches, lasts forever and super affordable.  Same can be said for these new Native shoes that B and I bought.  They’re like crocs, but way cooler looking.  And, they’re beast free, which I know would please a few of my friends.  They’re squishy (absorbs impact), waterproof (perfect for the NY summer rains), breathable (lots of holes for ventilation) and grippy (great for bike riding).

sunnies and tote: f21 – horsie shirt: urban outfitters (hella old) – shorts: j.crew – my shoes: saltwater sandals – b’s shoes: native