Monday, August 30, 2010

Not So Hot for Teacher

(Kristen C., one of my seniors, told me that she HATES this shirt and that I should warn her the next time I plan to wear it so she can cover her eyes...)




     After 12 hours at school on Thursday of last week, I found myself at a dinner with an acquaintance who has a knack for making any average dinner conversation suddenly inappropriate.  I'm just minding my business cross-legged on the carpet in a dress (at least the 2-inch rule saved me from any embarrassing crotch shots), simultaneously shoveling down curry and guzzling my bottle of white wine in a desperate, albeit transparent, attempt to avoid eye contact with my stupid former boyfriend who is looming on the couch just across the coffee table and BAM!  Just when I don't think I can feel any more desperately uncomfortable in my own skin, the acquaintance hits me with the winner, "So, slept with any students this year?"  Its one of those silly comments that a young female teacher gets used to hearing at bars when the inevitable chatter of careers comes up, but becoming used to something doesn't always mean you have become comfortable with it.  It offends me.  I don't know why that particular jab gets so deep into my gut.  There is so much of my job that is pure comedy, so much that I will be the first to laugh about, so much to share to make others laugh, but jokes about sleeping with students is a lot like making racist jokes--its acceptable with those who are part of the group, but not when an outsider chimes in.  So, there it is, mid spicy-curry bite, no witty comeback.  "No, I have not."  I could wear stripper heels and pasties to work, and I still don't think that sex would be anywhere near my mind while in the school building (but I wouldn't wear that because its out of dress code...and tacky).  This diatribe has no real purpose other than to say that I hate getting rolled into some juvenile male fantasy.  The ability to reduce educators to a sexual fetish might explain more than I'd like about the state of American education.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One, One! Get Some!

I love having a senior Crew! Looping students with their teachers is probably the best idea that all those progressive education advocates have going for them.  My kids are so genuinely excited to see me and be back in school, its impossible not to be excited with them!  Besides, I get to spend all year making up cheers that rhyme "eleven" with single syllable words.

Tuesday: It was move in day... I had to move out of my garage into a real classroom this year.  No more four-square during class time :(
Wednesday: First day with students! First day wearing heels to work!  
Thursday:  My intro to classroom norms involved some yoga, so I had to rock some pants that allowed me to move. 
Friday: "You could be a farmer in those clothes", and I was. Check out all my kiddos getting their farm on!


Monday, August 16, 2010


Our union made sure to navigate the district away from another year of salary freezes, but you can bet we will be feeling those budget cuts elsewhere this year.  Our staff retreat, for example, is a clear reflection of how our funds have steadily diminished since I started 4 years ago.  In that first year, we loaded up cars and caravanned up to Estes Park to spend 48 hours bonding in shared bunks over cafeteria food while taking in the Rockies, but this year it was a mere 7 hours at Montclair Park in Denver.  While the location and duration have shifted, its refreshing to be part of a community that has not allowed the financial crunch to change our traditions. I value our time together outside the building.  Taking the serious conversations into a not so serious environment shapes the culture of our staff each August--it reminds me how lucky I am to work in such impressive and enjoyable company.  It also helps that we can wear whatever we want...

I went through a phase in my mid-twenties where I thought I had to start wearing long-ish shorts to be "proper", but now that I've hit late-twenties,  I say fuck it.  When you're pushing oh-so close to 30, might as well flaunt what you've got, and I've got me some skinny little legs that are tanned and toned from miles of running and hours of yoga this summer.  So, inspired by my new appreciation for my physique, I sought a trend to match (you will NOT catch me sporting any half-shirts no matter how much of a comeback they may be making),  and I was totally getting excited about rocking my short shorts with tights to roll my summer essentials into fall faves!  I am all for a trend that increases my wardrobe without cracking the wallet.  However, today all my opaque-Hue hopes and patterned-DKNY dreams were shattered as I learned  that we have instituted a new dress code in which our skirts/shorts can be no more than 2 inches above the knee.  Damn you, professionalism!  So, this might be the last you'll see of my shorts after all...sad sad day.

Those private school bitches win this round:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one".

      Oscar Wilde mustn't have taken the summers off in his job or he'd know that this should really read "the best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without a paycheck".  I'd happily take another few weeks of "summering" in Tuscany like a fancy heiress, but my bank statements have interrupted with all their matter of fact about mortgage payments, HOA fees, health insurance, and gas prices.  After a big  vacation to Lucca, Italy and various domestic adventures to Chicago, Philadelphia, Park City, and Los Angeles, I am acutely aware that the Hilton sisters clearly don't jet set on a teacher's salary.  I do love me some shopping while traveling, but my tight budget really restricted my spending to the essentials--food and wine.  So, sadly, Teacher Sweaters will not abound with new duds from fancy foreign up-and-coming designers.  My daily outfit challenge will remain limited to the duds currently housed in my closet, good finds from my mom's vintage keepsakes, and sale steals at the mall.
    Perhaps Wilde was searching for a job in the midst of a massive economic crisis in which hundreds of overly-qualified applicants find themselves competing for the same two openings posted and reposted on dozens of different online job boards.  Sending cover letters and resumes into the internet void for a few months sure kills morale.  I was lucky enough to make it through 4 rounds of interviews with the Hillel at Stanford University, only to lose out to the other finalist, but the process taught me a few things about my life and goals: I am not ready to leave Boulder, I still love teenagers, I want to lead another Girls Outside hut trip, and if I'm not a teacher I won't have anything to blog about.
   As a newly tenured staff member, you can expect to see lots of flip flops and pants that are dangerously similar to jeans.  Suck it dress code, I've got tenure, Betch!

Its hard to see how rad my belt is.
Apparently no one in my district has heard this one lately, "What did the 5 fingers say to the face?"  SLAP. 

These are the socks that I win in.