A Mild December

One week ’till Winter break!  It’s been surreal though – we’re quickly approaching fall final exams, and it’s still 63˚F outside. It’s been a mild December. I’m still fall dressing, and my winter boots are still stored away. Except for that one freak weekend near the end of November, Denver has been darn pleasant! It’s still “no-socks” weather, so I’ve been wearing the crap out of these leopard print slides and cropped jeans. To winter-ize, I painted my nails last night with a holiday theme using nail art pens that B bought me years ago for Christmas. Also, I’ve been digging my new coffee thermos B bought me for a recent Sinterklaas party our Dutch/American friends hosted. It’s kind of the best coffee thermos ever, and if there is ever a stereotype about teachers, it’s that they drink a lot of coffee. I am one of those people.

These jeans are a new purchase from black friday when Urban Outfitters was having a buy one get one half off promotion. They are worth every penny though, because I’ve been wearing them over and over. I usually wear my denim about 3-4 times in between washes, and these are thick without stretch. So they hold up really well wear after wear without getting too baggy in the knees or the bum. Also, I’ve been digging looser fitting jeans with straight leg cuts lately. Maybe it’s getting older, or maybe it’s the changing denim trend, but I’m slowly getting off the skinny jeans train. Maybe this cut isn’t the most flattering or curve hugging, but I love the high waist (long torso/short leg strategy) and the little flare at the hem. My only complaint about these jeans is that they can cause a bit of cowboy crotch, and that they are just a tad bit too cropped. Either way, I’ve decided I’m over being weird about the crotch region with my pants. It’s just how my body is built, and its ridiculous to expect anything else.

THLT kent cardigan

THLT madewell kent cardigan

THLT Zojirushi coffee mug

THLT BDG kick flare jeans

THLT madewell cardigan

THLT HEMA soft matt lip balm

THLT urban outfitters kick flare jeans

cardigan: madewell – jeans – bdg – tshirt: f21 – belt: gap – shoes: banana republic – lipstick: hema (purchased in paris) – thermos: zojirushi

Questions for Teachers

I have foot-in-mouth disease, and it’s been getting me into trouble for as long as I can remember. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person anymore. Sometimes the more extreme of these moments can haunt me for years (not an exaggeration), and I spiral into a death pit of shame, regret, and embarrassment, every time something triggers the memory of what I had said. A bit dramatic? Yes. But it’s #truths. Occasionally I have to remind myself that it’s better to just have awkward silence than to say the wrong thing. I’m pretty bad at small talk and socializing in general with strangers – combine that with my RBF, and I’m doomed.

Today I had one of those foot-in-mouth moments AT WORK. Oh god. I need to remind myself just to shut up more often during staff/department/grade team meetings. Today I basically told an admin that it was “irresponsible” to give a teacher multiple preps (multiple courses to prep for), when one of those preps is an AP course that has never been taught before by that teacher or even at the school (especially when a teacher is new to teaching). When I left the meeting and re-played things in my head, a flush of “oh my god what if that was taken the wrong way, I should have chosen better words!” came over me. #deathpitspiral

So here I am with a lot of questions for the teachers out there. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I spend my time as a teacher, specifically how I can optimize time in terms of planning/grading/etc to stave off burn-out. I would also like to get a pulse on what is considered fair game in terms of the work expectations placed on teachers.

First, how much time does it take you on average to plan a lesson for one course? I find that if I’m planning a lesson from scratch it takes me on average 2 hours to complete, from finding resources, creating the PowerPoint slides, and creating the handouts/worksheets.  I have never worked out of a book, and I’ve never heard of a science teacher teaching from pre-built lessons/curriculum. If I get to reuse materials from previous years that work time gets cut down, but I still have to lesson plan and create new slides every year.  Am I doing something wrong? How long does it take you to plan a lesson?

Secondly, how many preps do you think is reasonable for a teacher to have? Two preps? Three preps? Four preps? This year, I have 3 preps – AP Bio, Honors Bio, and Regular Bio. At our school, we teach 5 classes and have 8 hour school days, which means I teach for 5.5 hours and have 1-2 hours a day to prep (on average, with block schedules and meetings).

Lastly, what types of additional tasks are you asked to do regularly on top of teaching, planning, grading, meetings, etc?  At our school, we have stacks on stacks of data tracking spread sheets, surveys, analysis, and plans that we have to submit. Do you consider these documentation tasks to be fair game as a part of the job description?

I have a very real fear of being the ever present negative complainer, which leads to even more foot-in-mouth moments. Please, teacher friends and readers, give me some fresh perspective!

In the mean time, here is my throwback to the 90s outfit from today. I picked this dress up at Urban Outfitters a little while ago, and decided to go all out Sassy Magazine in the mid 90’s style with my Docs and my granny-chic new glasses from Warby Parker x Leith Clark. It was fun getting dressed this morning.

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thlt-knot-sisters-teacher-outfit

thlt-knot-sisters-nashville-dress

thlt-the-90s-are-back

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glasses: warby parker –  cardigan: uniqlo – dress: urban outfitters – tights and tank: h&m – boots: dr. martins

Break Time

I’m on day three of Winter Break today, and it feels so glorious to be able to sleep in, drink coffee in bed, and take leisurely strolls around the neighborhood. These first few days of break are always filled with hard core lounging, so here’s a quick wrap up of the key chill action that took place last night and today.

Last night, B and I joind our friends Bear and Mallory at a cute little speakeasy style bar in Golden, Colorado callled Golden Moon Speakeasy. This place is so awesome, any feeble attemps to describe it just won’t do it justice. The drinks are named after Lord of the Rings phrases, such as What Has It Got in It’s Pocketses, and they distil their own spirits at a separate locationn nearby. B got a flight of their spirits, and my favorite was the Violette, which is a beautiful lilac colored liquor that is sweet and florally but with a healthy kick (a bottle of it will be in my stocking tomorrow morning, becuase B is a nice guy). I ended up trying out a couple of their cocktails, the “An Unexpected Party” and the “Cloud City”.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning, B and I lounged till late morning, then took a stroll with Bambi over to the Denver Central Market which is a warehouse type market with high end food stalls – similar to the Ferry Building in SF and th Chelsea Markets in NY.  Every major city has at least one of these now. I obviously love them, and I love that this one is within walking distance from our house. Also, the bakery in the market has pudding crossants. I sat outside admireing the street art with the dog while B went in and got our treats.

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I made B play photographer on the way over. He was not happy and moaned/groaned the whole time. He does not make a good Instagram Husband at all. Nothing new with the outfit, just a recycle from this day. The bag on the otherhand, is a recent present to myself.  I’m not a bag lady by any means, and most of the time I just put what I need in my coat pockets. Having a little purse like this can be handy though, when the coats can be left at home. It’s the middle of December today (Xmas Eve), and it is 52˚F out right now! Happy holidays everyone!

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sunnies: rayban – cardigan and jeans: uniqlo – t shirt and belt: urban outfitters – shoes: adidas – bag: minor history – bracelets: madewell

No Voice

I’ve been sick with some cold/flu/who knows for the past 2 weeks. It started over the TG break with a super sore throat. I battled it out the full following week and by Friday, my students said I sounded like a frog. Over the weekend, my voice gave out. I knew I was in trouble on Sunday, when I tried to call Bambi (my dog) in from outside, and no sound came out. I sucked it up and went in to work anyways on Monday and regretted it it almost immediately.  I should know better by now. Working while sick sucks, but teaching while sick sucks the life out of you. I was dead woman walking come 3pm, and I left early with sub plans on my desk. Advice to myself – take sick days when you need to, even when Final Exams are fast approaching!

There has been a lot running through my mind lately since my last post – the election – self care – teenage hope – the constant ask/expectations of more and more of teachers.  All being saved for another day, if ever I get my voice back.

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madewell-fringe-cardigan

cardigan: madewell – shirt: urban outfitters – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: mia – lipstick: bite beauty multistick in almond

Rollin into Winter

Just a quick little post – WINTER BREAK.  Coming soon!

I picked up a few shirts from Urban Outfitters this past weekened in their sale, and wore one of them the very next day.  I liked the kind of graphic, cartoony vibe it created when paired with black jeans, so I tried to make my hair match the look by twisting it into highest bun ever. I gave myself a horn, narwhal style.  Success!

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shirt and belt: urban outfitters – jeans: uniqlo – boots: madewell

Easy Days

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

easy-days

lace-up-flats-banana-republic

lace-up-flats

tank: madewell – cardigan: uniqlo – pants: urban outfitters – shoes: banana republic

Penny for Thoughts

As a teacher with friends who are also teachers on Facebook, I come across heaps of articles about teaching or about teachers.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Atlantic – I Lie About My Teaching  Oh lord yes.  Some days I’m in the middle of class and I actually think to myself “I really hope no one comes in and witnesses this hot mess” as more than half of the kids are totally disengaged and I’m floundering from table to table trying to get them back on track.  Then other days I wish I had video evidence of how “lit” my classroom is with learning.

nprED – Making Science Teaching More Than A ‘Backup Plan’  Teaching Science was definitely not my backup plan, it was my first plan.  I think (and I do not have the stats to back this up at all, it’s pure conjecture) a lot of people who go into teaching as a back up plan end up leaving teaching within a few years because, teaching. is. really. hard. work.

The New Yorker – Stop Humiliating Teachers  I hear a lot of “I would never be able to be a teacher, I don’t know how you do it” from the same people who say “schools these days don’t properly prepare students for the real world”.

Huffpost Education – Listen To the Teachers Who Stay (written by a respected colleague!)  The flip side and an inspiring call to keep fighting the good fight.  I need to read this every spring, when I start to flip flop on possibly leaving teaching and figuring out a ‘backup plan’.

 

Lots of compliments on my outfit today.  “Miss, you look really nice today” and “those are some bad ass designer shoes Miss!”  They’re not designer, they are fast-fashion, and everything here is old.  The skirt was 50¢ from a thrift store and the sweater is from about 4 years ago.  Yay for ‘shopping’ the closet!

urban outfitters back zip sweater2

urban outfitters back zip sweater

Zara Studded Cowboy Ankle Booties2

Zara Studded Cowboy Ankle Booties

glasses: warby parker – sweater: urban outfitters – belt: gap – skirt: thrifted (no tag and I suspect it was a server’s uniform skirt at one time) – boots: zara