Sunset jog in the arboretum!! #ilovefall #running
I always do a back to school post on here, hi lighting the joys of teaching.
This year, though, I am running a little late with my post; I’ve been working fro almost three weeks now, teaching for almost one. I’m behind schedule, though, because I’ve been actually enjoying teaching,
I started working at a charter school in Boston a few weeks ago, and it’s been an adjustment, to say the least. If there’s one thing that charter school’s AREN’T, it’s vague. Charter schools are perpetually clear and concise; well, at least the one I work at is. We’ve got a clear vision, and that vision is clearly communicated to new teachers through an intense orientation program. My past employers have always given me a few hours of new-staff training, then left on my own to slowly- and agonizingly- pick up the rest of the information. So while sitting and listening isn’t my best activity (says the teacher,) I really loved feeling like I understood the ins and outs of my workplace when the students arrived this week.
And, as usual, I am SO thrilled with this year’s crop of middle school kiddos. So far, my new students have been welcoming and grateful- two sentiments few adults are great at expressing, never mind children. The days are long (9 hours, to be specific) but so far they’re full of the kind of joy and structure that makes me want to work ever harder.
I know this year will be full of highs and lows, like every year, and especially like every year I spend in the classroom. But I hope I can hold on to the feeling of these first few charming days through all the bouts of sniffles, soaking-rainy commutes, and teacher-shoe blisters that are sure to come my way in the near, near future.
I’m well into week two of orientation for my new job in Boston, and I’d be lying if I said I’d fully adjusted to being back in the swing of teaching already. I’m thankful that Taylor Swift dropped this little ray of awkward sunshine on us this week. It’s just what I need to pull through until next week, when the middle schoolers arrive! The song is super catchy, and honestly, I love the silly dancing.
RIP Robin Williams ( July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014)
Such a talent we lost today!
Last week, I went to school supply shopping. As I have said many, many times before, I love to shop for school supplies. This year, it cost us $343.00 for school supplies and uniforms for both of our boys. Most people complain about the cost of school supplies, and the fact that you need to buy school supplies.
I heard a similar conversation in the school supplies at Target yesterday — two parents (who I think were friends) complaining about having to buy binders for their girls, how they don’t last, how would probably end up buying 6 of them through the year, how they would rather buy several three-subject notebooks.
I am fortunate to be in a school where we receive a lot of generous donations and extra help to provide supplies to our students whose families cannot provide them. At our school, we are asked to cap our supply list at a maximum of $15, and I know that the supplies we asked our students to provide this year will not last them through the year. There are many things that our classroom needs that I didn’t feel comfortable asking the students to provide — things like cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, highlighters, special handwriting paper, and more. I am fortunate that our school will purchase reasonable supplies for teachers when we need them; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t spend hundreds out of my own pocket every year (beyond the $250 I receive from the state for such supplies) to make my classroom welcoming and a rich learning environment.
Just remember at this time of year that teachers only have their students’ success and best interests at heart. We’re not out to nickel and dime parents or anyone else.
I actually had a parent ask me if school administrators and teachers get a kickback from the stores for the supplies bought. HA!
If you read the comments on here, you’ll know why tissues are still on my wishlist and why I am hoping someone buys them for me in the next week.
This is very true.
I have spent hundreds of dollars each fall outfitting my inner city classrooms with just the basics. Where I worked, the supplies my school was able to provide for teachers were very, very minimal. And because I work in a high need areas, plenty of my students struggle to fulfill their supply lists each September, and so I try to keep things like pencils, pens, folders, and notebook in stock as well. I know that school supplies are really important for my student’s development, not only so they can complete their work, but so that they can begin practicing the kind of organizational efforts that they’ll need for college and career. But I also know that when a family is in a financial pinch, a trip to staples isn’t a priority.
Hearing about $250 teacher funds sounds like a dream to me; in NYC, I was only provided a $47 refund for a year’s worth of supplies. I’m thankful every day for my own parent’s ongoing generosity, as well as helpful co-workers.
They say you can’t go home again… But actually, you sometimes do move back in with your parents temporarily since the rental market is insane at this time of year and you’re living on a teacher’s salary and you hate craigslist surfing and have had less than a week in your new city to figure things out….
So, here are a few shots of my newly re-done bedroom at my parent’s house! My dad put in a lot of hard work prepping this room, which will be a really sweet guest room once I head out. Gone is the pink and white patterned wallpaper and picket-fence headboard and butterfly-printed twin bedspread and the milk-crate book storage system. I chose a light green for the walls, and my book collection is now tucked into a beautifully coordinated bookshelf, custom made by dad.
Tye Dying with the campers today… And I’m pretty sure more dye is on my body than on the shirts. #summer #art #tyedye
Roadtripping Day 7: On the last day of our trip, we explored San Francisco! We started of my treating ourselves to a blowout at Drybar, and then we headed down to fisherman’s pier for lunch. We took a walk through north beach and Chinatown after lunch, and ended up going shopping downtown at the end of the day. Surprisingly, after all that trail hiking over the course of the trip, navigating San Francisco proved to be a huge challenge. We had already returned our rental car, and the transit system was really complicated-and this is coming from former-New York MTA riders! There was a lot to do and see, though, so hopefully I can make a trip out there again soon!
Roadtripping Day 6: Hiking in Big Sur
If you’re someone who craves beautiful landscapes, Big Sur better be on your bucket list. I read about this rugged stretch of California shoreline as a kid, and have wanted to visit ever since. My friends were awesome and athletic enough to indulge my desire to hike in Andrew Molera state park, which is at the northern edge of the preserve area. We chose to take a very challenging trail that was 9 miles long and interspersed with challenging uphill sections that made my calves ache and my entire body want to take a serious nap. But the views from the top were truly awesome- like, seriously, stupidly beautiful. The trail even took us through a grove of redwoods- the first big trees of many I would see over the coming days.
Also, side note: As you can see from my pictures, the majority of my trip had me wearing workout clothes and running sneakers… And I am so glad I planned it out that way! I firmly believe that as a woman, you cannot feel fully relaxed when made-up and wired-in. I got to a point of giddy relaxation over the course of this trip that I am really thankful for.
Roadtripping Day 5: Monterey
My friend and I took a pause in Monterey on our way up the coast of California. I was excited to take a nice long jog along the water, and even more excited when I learned that Monterey Bay has an awesome path that runs right along the edge of the ocean. I ran just a few miles north, up through Pacific Grove and to the edge of Carmel. I spotted my first sea lions along the way!
Roadtripping Day 4: Hearst Castle and driving the California 1 through Big Sur
On day 4, Sara and I set out early from Santa Barbara to head up the coast on the famed California Highway 1.
We took a stop at Hearst Castle in San Simeon around mid-day. It was pretty foggy out on the particular day, which put a damper on touring the mountaintop mansion of Mr. William Hearst, but the architecture and art was still pretty incredible.
After getting back on the road, we crossed into the most challenging portion of driving in the whole trip, as highway 1 snakes along the edge of a cliff going through Big Sur. Sara did most of the driving, and I did most of the calming. The views were truly spectacular, though, and worth every terrifying twist and turn. We stopped to take some victory photos with our trusty rental car, which we nicknamed ‘Lil Blue.
Roadtripping Day 3: Santa Barbara
After two days in the smog of LA, Sara and I were excited to get on the road. Our first stop was Santa Barbara! Santa Barbara was a really cute city with some really beautiful scenery. Sara and I hiked up to Inspiration Point in the rugged Santa Ynez mountains just east of the city. The views at the top were amazing, and the food at the bottom wasn’t too shabby either.
We were only in Santa Barbara for a day, but it was a relaxing day for sure!
Roadtripping Day 1: Los Angeles
As I might have mentioned in previous posts, I was lucky enough to travel up the coast of California over the course of the last 10 days. I took some great pictures and made tons of great memories.
My friend Sara and I flew into LAX, and promptly rented a car. Before the trip we had thought we could use LA’s public transit system to get around. This is not so. If you ever decide to visit Los Angeles, make sure you have access to a car. LA is not a walkable city.
That said, we attempted to walk it the first afternoon. We visited some boutiques along the sunset strip and caught a glimpse of the Chateau Marmont. We felt like the last humans on earth as we wandered up the empty sidewalks as cars sped past. I had a ball later on driving the loopy roads of the Hollywood hills, then starmapping the mansions of Beverly Hills. I love that kind of driving, but all the steep hills and blind curves made me wonder how anyone could even go out for a jog or to walk their pets in LA, never-mind surviving on public transit alone.
The next day, feeling disheartened by the epic and terrifying traffic my nav system kept slamming us into on the LA freeways, Sara and I made our way to Santa Monica. This was perhaps our favorite part of our LA stop. The beach at Santa Monica was clean, the boardwalk was cute, the water was warm and the sunblock was abundant. We spent the morning on the beach and the afternoon shopping and eating at the abundance of vegan/gluten free-friendly spots along the way.
Later, we attempted to find the Hollywood sign and to visit the walk of fame. After sitting in stopped traffic for over an hour, we gave up and sought out a Panera Bread in Glendale for sustenance.
Overall we had a great time in LA, but the traffic and the limitations it puts on your day was definitely a downfall for the city.