education

School Attire 2020-2021

Does My Mask Match?

I love shopping the sales for my look of the new school year. It has changed over the years but my staple has been a comfortable preppy mix. In higher financial years. I wore cashmere cardigans with my loafers and khakis. Now, as I am in the prepping stages for retirement, I have learned to dress up but down on a budget.

This year, teachers will be wearing everything from hazmat suits to scrubs and everything in between as we trudge back to our unknown CDC guidelines. If that is your look, fine but it not for me. First of all, I would sweat to a size not seen since my own youth, perhaps not a terrible idea, but not healthy. Nor, did I get a degree in medicine. So probably sticking to my usual school friendly attire. It works, it is comfy, and no dry-cleaning needed. In the old days (before teaching and parenthood) I was fancy, living in my prior chic retail management attire. To afford luxury in San Francisco, I hid clothes in cubbies, drawers and back rooms, waiting for the ultimate sale. Looking like one of our patrons, was a must in our handbook, but not on my manager salary with so many other winery and foodie needs to be met along with the mundane bills.

Oscar de la Renta. Always a fave.
Um. No. Just joking.
Might be popular? Ugh.

My days of fancy suits, heels, and chic black dresses are out of the picture as I wore them to their magnificent death, and mourned their passing to a new state of pinterest musings. So where did I turn to look teacher stylish and machine washer friendly in the sanitizing year(s) ahead? My look will no longer be cocktail party ready or even business happy hour ready, for that matter, but I it want to be a step above the “let me cut your meat or tie your shoes fashion.”  I no longer teach primary and have given up the the many pocket apron for the multitude of passes, stickers, stamps, pencils, erasers, whistles, keys, and of course kleenex. No, my kids are in the 8th grade and while their maturity is debatable, this year all of their materials must be in a plastic baggie, for only their use. None of us can share anything. I can’t give to them or them to me, odd but true. Nonetheless, no extra pockets needed. Good-bye apron. Good-bye. It was never me.

My journey, this year, begins with face masks and chains, of course. The face mask will be a staple in my district. I have two. Both fit like crap, so I am still searching for the perfect fit, breathability, and ones to coordinate or at least not look to surgical for the school setting and my 8th graders standards. One has to try to be cool. It helps with the building of relationships and the establishment of community.

Wild Days aka new unit of study.
Basic Beige aka as testing.
Sparkle Central aka Friday.

Mask making is not my thing so I will go to etsy. I will buy seven and launder weekly. While there I plan on buying a couple of mask chains as I will need to remove my protective shield, often, when no one is looking so that kids can actually hear clearly. Other than that you sound like a bad order on a drive-thru microphone. Education, unlike your favorite fast food establishment, can’t afford to get the order wrong nor can it be returned. This is (insert grade) your students only shot at this year. We must get it right even with some oddities.

Fresh and friendly and covers all the colors of the masks you own and want to show off this school year.
Simple, classic, and up my alley.

Next up, define your current style and remember your sanitizing routine. I live a preppy comfy life-style but I like to have a little flair to my outfits. Think Paris on a budget and an easy washing instructions. My go-to items this year are:

1. Cigarette pants. www.chicos.com

2. Colored denim, as blue denim is a district no-no. So, I will hunt Chico’s denim all year and stock up, especially on black denim. I buy all year long as the sales hit the stores or online.

3. Blazers and cardigans www.nordstrom.com (last chance) or www.target.com

4. Button down solid shirts, especially white. www.chicos.com They never wrinkle. My lifelong goal is one in every color. But they also never go on sale. Ever.

5. My favorite tee’s are from Old Navy as they are soft, forgiving and long. I also hit this big box store for below the knee summer dresses for our 110 degree starting days. Since our weather and room temperature is high they only make it a season but they are cheap and establish a little more on trend feeling for the beginning of the year which makes me feel pretty in 110 degrees, which is not an easy task. www.oldnavy.com

6. Tennis shoes, or loafers daily. Sandals are forbidden in our district and frankly not a fan. Everything from adidas to cole hahn, puma to sketchers. I don’t have time to run around afterschool so I buy everything on Amazon and shop the sales. I recently updated my closet and stored my heels, so I will be shopping throughout the year for a couple more looks, colors, and fashion statements. My kids love my kicks. Again, it is an odd bonding moment which I treasure. www.amazon.com

7. I try to accessorize daily with scarves collected from travels, which this year can double in my mask forgetting days. a couple simple pieces of jewelry and a multitude of Oprah and Dorinda approved reading glasses (shoutout to RHONY). www.peepers.com. I like to standout just enough but be able to get as dirty as needed because teaching, at any grade level, is not a clean business.

8. Makeup. I am one of those simple freckle faced gals but I love lashes, lips and nails. My new fascination is Dashing Diva nail wraps. If coordinated ten minutes and out the door, I swear. Since I am not. Fourty-five minutes for at home salon experience at a fraction of a fraction of the cost and they look great. www.dashingdiva.com

Never have enough!
Nope not cashmere but perfect.
Colored denim and fun kicks puts all teachers in the cool category.

So, wherever your journey for prepping your look for the year begins. Perhaps, it is hair, nails etc. Or perhaps you are teaching from home. Or just revising last years staples, remember this is the first year the kids will see you, so make it special and wear lip gloss under your mask and a new lengthening mascara or just do your nails. Confinement and our beauty goals have not always connected. If anything this little touches to new outfits will make you feel loads better as you brave the unknown.

On rotation.
Dashing Diva Nails under those gloves will make you smile.
education

Summer Countdown

July 19th. There is no true answer for our state (Arizona) in sight but many options that boggle the mind and put constraints on the families we serve.

The dawn of a new era of education is around the corner. Teachers wait, parents wait, kids wait. In the beginning, long, long ago (March) I did feel the lockdown and online education was about safety with a mix of true panic. The schools, to their own admission, did not handle true valid education well, we were more like the Titanic, just trying to survive with few getting to shore. While teachers spent hours a day attempting to teach, it was utter chaos on many levels due to the newness of the word lockdown, fear, frustration, no internet for many families coupled with language barriers. My Spanish improved, but not by much.

I still miss my kids I stopped seeing in March. They lost out on their 8th grade year but as they march onto 9th grade their memories of 8th grade losses will fade as their new lives begin. As a teacher, these losses are engrained in my soul with the only bright spot on my horizon my next classroom and my new beginnings. To me, every year is a fresh start, from decor to lessons. I love change and frankly, no class has ever been the same in eighteen years. The art of lesson creation and relationships with my students are my strengths. Both may be lost, as we still wait for our final orders from the talking heads that truly run education with money and politics at the forefront. Kids seem to be lost in the shuffle and this is more apparent this year.

In Arizona, many districts have pushed back real in-person learning until October. What will they gain, what will they lose? That is the question? We are now prepared with fancy platforms and bitmojis, but we are forgetting the parents needs and the social aspect of learning. For what? Safety, money, fear? Other districts, depending on your view, are either brave or crazy, will go forward with in-person learning with choices. My school falls into that category. Frankly, I feel the choice is empowering for all involved, as just forcing parents into another three months of homeschool light sentence is one that teachers are beating the drum for but parents have not seemed to weigh in yet, we will see their reaction come fall, through the registration numbers. Parents will march or stay put based on the obvious economic constraints, the difficulty of online education and true grasping of the material and the social nature of the classroom. Or they will stay due to loyalty to the school and fear of the disease. We do not know.

So, this blog has found a purpose. My writing will take you on my 2020-2021 journey filled with the realities of the continued saga of Covid-19 and the educational disaster we are facing in the coming years if we continue to be hold kids and parents hostage

Eventually, my musings will morph into an ebook based on true stories that share a glimpse into the real world of public education in a time where flexibility will be key.

Yes, it”s me.
Uncategorized

The Journey Of Self

Recently, education has a new buzz word, self-care. This obviously named term is different to each teacher. Most, I fear just sleep. The profession is tough. I take two days into each holiday break and hide from all humans. This sounds insane and cause for a nice padded room vacation, unless you are a teacher. It is the daily movements or lessons that cause me to become a shrinking violet, it is the mental stress that never leaves my side along with the constant pressures of data, testing, and the reality that our kids live in this crazy world. One that no amount of data can guide. Our kids love or hate us, with no bearing on who we are, but who they are in their lives on that particular time of the day. It makes days challenging and I love that factor but it is also exhausting, bring on the buzz word.

So another weekend begins. I start with true momentum. I get dressed. Then I take a nap. I look at Facebook and get true FOMO when I hit Instagram. With my senses completely overstimulated I launch into the realities of the weekly mindless chores, that I hide behind just to gather enough strength for the week. It is not the physical or the creative demands that brings me to my knees. It is the issues the kids bring into the room and how we need to whisk all their baggage away so learning can happen. The impossibility of this notion brings me back to self-care. On Saturday, I do not move. I am too exhausted. If I tell you I did something exciting over the weekend, even a movie outside of my home. I am probably spinning a tale. My FOMO is always high with no jealousy at my friends adventures, but always wondering what it would be like to have enough strength to have a weekend where home necessities and events could intertwine.

So instead of self-care that revolves around outside enjoyment, spa days, or other intellectual moments, mine will always be about sleep. On Monday I always hit the ground with vim and vigor as long as coffee is by my side or my true addiction Diet Coke. In the midst of writers workshop on Friday I thought I lost my soda, as I roamed the room and scanned countless essays. I teared up. That is not a good sign my friends, but it will have to be as the week is long, my kids are needy, and I will always love being the exhausted teacher that I was meant to be in this world.