Thursday, October 12, 2017

When Fall is Not so Fall-ish

Image result for horrible glassesI can't believe another week has already flown by. This week was more than a bit unusual. On Monday, we had professional development which I missed for an eye doctor's appointment. They dilated my eyes, and I didn't think to ask to pick out my new glasses before I lost my ability to properly I think I like my new glasses...they looked nice from a distance. It'll be a bit of a fun surprise when I see them without pupils the size of saucers. But I may end up looking like this.

We'll see...pun unintended, but I'm taking the credit for it.

Tuesday was a really muggy October day, and I wasn't so worried about it until I realized that the inside of my school was like the rain forest exhibit at the aquarium. Evidently a part of the AC broke and was being fixed. There's nothing quite like sweating in front of your students and knowing there's nothing you can do to stop it. You just try to keep your distance and pray for the best. Luckily, I wore this dark colored, short sleeve dress, so there weren't obvious signs (other than the look of distress on my face) that I was melting. But I knew, and it was gross. Luckily it was fixed pretty quickly and the next day things were chilly!

I bought this dress in June, but as we've established before, I don't really get dressed up in the last month of school, so this made its debut on Tuesday. I was a bit afraid that I would look like a Smurf when I went to change at the gym due to the dark wash jean material, and somehow I did not. Happy day! Also--this sucker is so stretchy and awesome that it somehow both conceals unfortunate features and feels like they made a dress out of yoga pants. The best of all worlds! I might have messaged my roomie to tell her that I would wear this dress every day if that was socially acceptable and I wasn't such a lazy laundress. And, it will not surprise you to know that this is denim. Later in the day I was thinking about my life and realized that I've probably own some form of a denim dress at all stages of my life. It's really only the shade and cut that change. 

I took another picture so you could see the shoes too. Unfortunately you can also tell that I am so pasty that my shoes and the wall are the same color as my legs. It's clearly time for tights, leggings, jeans and anything else that covers up my legs. 

I found a few options that I think might have similar benefits. This one has the word stretch in the description and looks super cute in the video. I will note that it has a slit in the back and one thing I love about my dress is that it does not. 
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Denim Ruffle-Front Dress

 On Wednesday we had an SAT testing day, and I must say that it went REALLY well. The woman in charge did an amazing job organizing it and her team of retired teachers that come in to organize things made it incredibly easy to proctor the test. There were post-it notes in the manual to tell me where to read, and they even highlighted the boxes we need to read. It was a thing of beauty. I feel like proctoring is like roulette. You might get a group of really sweet and awesome students or you might get kiddos that REALLY don't want to be there. We had some really nice kiddos, and my fellow proctors were awesome, so it was a great day. I think the smartest thing our school district did was declare it a half day. It's pretty miserable to try to teach kids who just took a 3 hour test. So it was nice to be able to send them home after lunch and have the afternoon to do things like write recommendation letters.

I'm currently sitting in an airport waiting to board my flight home for my mom's birthday!

I have lots of thoughts about being out, substitutes, and telling your students you're going to be out. I thought since I didn't really have many outfits worth talking about, I'd give some thoughts on being gone. 

When I was a new teacher, I was convinced that the world would fall apart if I was gone. And, I'll be honest, those first few years were pretty rough, and being gone was often more trouble than it was worth. It stunk to know I was going to come back and have to punish my students for being terrible while I was gone. But I also had a bit of a self-importance problem. 

As I've gotten older and more settled in my classroom, it's become easier, most of the time, to be gone. And I've also become aware that my students can indeed survive without me for a day or two. 
And I've also become more and more fearful of becoming Mr. Holland from Mr. Holland's Opus

Just today in the work room we were discussing what a terrible message that movie sends. Here's a guy who neglects his family and his own dreams to be a teacher and we're led to believe that it's okay that he gave up these MAJOR things because he helped his students. Don't get me wrong--I love my students and I love my job, but I don't believe teachers should be expected to give up their own families and dreams in order to teach. 

So--I've gotten better about taking a personal day here and there to go home for my mom's birthday or for a friend's Friday night wedding. I just realized that I wanted to be a good teacher AND a caring daughter and friend. And as teachers, it's easy to think you are doing the noble thing by never being gone, but let that pressure go. As long as you leave good sub plans and make sure the class period isn't wasted, it's okay to leave the children for a day in order to take care of yourself or others in your life. 

There is also the question about telling the kids. I would say that you have to decide what will work for you. I am super lucky and have really, really sweet kids this year, so I told them I was going to be out because I wanted to give them a heads up about what they would be doing. And while I keep much of my personal life to myself, I did tell them that it was my mom's birthday. They were adorable and kept telling me to have a good time and to tell my mom they said, "Happy Birthday!" For me, these little things are ways I can share my life with my students without oversharing. It builds a bit of community. I think you have to know your students though. There have been years when I kept my distance and really just stuck to the subject. I still took an interest in their lives and cared deeply about them, but I didn't share much of my life because any deviation from the lesson threw them off and made it hard for them to focus. 

So, to wrap up, here are my best sub tips:
1. Get to know the subs in your building and have a list of your favorites so you can request someone you feel comfortable leaving in charge of your class.
2. Leave a detailed note for the sub with a period-by-period break down of what each class will be doing. 
3. Post-it note all of the copies. Label which class the copies are for and whether the students need to hand them in or keep them.
4. Write a note for the students that tells them step-by-step what they need to do and what they can do if they finish early. I've found this to be a lifesaver because you never really know how well the substitute will explain your instructions to your students. (Sometimes you have class lingo that the students understand but doesn't really translate to someone who has never met you...). If the substitute passes out your letter, then you can hold the students accountable for the work even if the substitute was confused. 
5. Be free! Remind yourself that your students will be fine without you for a day. I hate to say it, but they might be excited about having a day to just put in their headphones and do their work. 

Okay--I'm off to go find a snack before my late night flight on a tiny plane. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Few More Fall Ideas and Hamlet the Pig

As I keep waiting for full-on fall to hit, and keep remembering that I live in the DMV, so that's not a thing, I keep trying to balance comfort with seasonally appropriate outfits. I've also been working to balance my work life, personal life, and course work. I've come to discover that I'm not sure you can balance them. It might be more of enjoying each and catching up on the others later. A few weeks ago, my favorite night of the year happened--Opera in the Outfield
It combines all the lovely things about DC:
1. Free things
2. Professional sports
3. Amazing artists
4. Interesting people

Basically, the Nats let people come sit on their field and watch the opera for free. Oh--and Mars sponsors it so they also give you free candy. It's like Halloween for adults. And it really is like Halloween because now they even let you try on costumes and take pictures:

Image result for michael a taylor nationalsI mean, what's not to love? The only thing I really dislike about the idea of going to the opera is having to stay in my seat and be quiet for so long. This solves that problem, includes tater tots, and gives me a chance to run around in the same place where Michael A. Taylor stands before he robs people of home runs.

But on to what I've been wearing to work. As I mentioned in the last post, I've been rather committed to the sleeveless dress/cardigan look. And I realized last Friday that I've worn the same thing, basically, every Friday since school started. Here are a few of my favorite looks from the weeks:

I loved both of these because they let me mix neutrals and color. And I liked throwing a belt on with the second dress to break things up. 

Primary Image of Pocket Sheath Dress

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And if you're lazy like me and simply stock up on colored cardigans so you can just grab things in your closet and go to work, this is a great time of year. Here are a few cute cardigan options:
Merino wool Caryn cardigan sweater

Cotton Caryn cardigan sweater

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Since it's been SOOO long since I posted, I have about a million pictures, so here are a few more dress options for fall. The first one I wore in the spring with Birks, but I think it worked better with these shoes. 

The other dress is one I got SUPER on sale and with a gift card from J Crew in the spring.  I can't find anything similar, and it was probably too spring-y to be worn in the fall, but whatever. 

And I end this incredibly long post with a boring picture that confirms that I do indeed wear the same uniform each Friday: flow-y shirt, cardigan and jeans. Okay--I'll try not to get so far behind and to be full of more wit and humor on the next post, but I'm signing off for the night. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite videos:

A Quick Catch Up and Some Dresses I Love

Hello! I started off the year feeling so organized and proud. I was somehow managing teaching, planning, grading, grad school, the gym, and Nats tickets. And then a few weeks ago, I felt like this:

I'm still trying to find a balance, but it's getting better...I think...

Anyway, the last few weeks have been full of all kinds of fun things--Nats games, Opera in the Outfield, learning how to make infographics and videos and visiting local librarians. But as for outfits, there's definitely been a common theme:

Yep--all the dresses--all the time. And yes, all of them are from J. Crew Factory. And I think two of them are the same cut, just a different fabric. 

This time of year, I live in the sleeveless dress with a cardigan look. I've mentioned approximately 20 times on this blog that the AC in our building is unreliable, so being able to switch from sleeveless to cardigan is a life saver. I also like the cardigan/dress option because I can put a bit of color or pattern with a solid colored dress to add a bit of variety without being locked into the same combination every time. 

I also love these types of dresses because they are fitted enough to look flattering, but not so fitted that I can't function. 

Here are a few similar options: 
  Short-sleeve flounce ponte dress

Pleated shift dress in wool flannel

And I love this green!
Wool dress

I also think I wore my t-strap shoes with every one of these. I feel like t-straps work well this time of year because they aren't open-toe shoes, but they also aren't full-on winter heels.

So what was I wearing the last three weeks when I wasn't a walking billboard for J. Crew's dress selection? Strangely enough--lots of pants. I never really thought I would go back to wearing dress pants, but I've been won over by the trick pants I went on and on about in my Back to School Night post. I am now somewhat in love with dress pants. Here are a few of the outfits I've put together with my new best friends:

The first outfit is built around these pants. I paired the pants with two pieces that are always hanging out in my closet--an off-white flow-y shirt and an off-white cardigan.

An option for the cardigan
Primary Image of Patch Pocket Cardigan

Another option
Primary Image of 3/4 Sleeve Signature Cotton Cardigan

I'm also wearing the Dak Prescott shoes.

The second outfit is actually a pair of older pants that I love. They're cut like dress pants but made of denim. I adore them.

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These might be similar.

An option for the shirt
Printed ruffle-front tank

An adorable option
Primary Image of Floral Clean Tee

I know this is a bit of a photo/link dump, but I wanted to post some options for fall outfits. It's always hard to dress this time of year, but here are my big tips:
1. Have a couple pairs of shoes that work well without tights but are not open toe. The Dak Prescott wedges and the T-Straps serve that purpose for me. And both styles are generic enough that I'll be able to get multiple years out of them.
2. Dress in layers and be ready for temperature changes. Sleeveless shirts and dresses work really well.