Aging Graycefully

I made a huge decision this summer: I, Holliday, at the age of 27, am going to stop dying my hair to cover up the grays.

I’m excited and nervous and have a lot of other emotions about it, but I’m doing it.

A hair over 3 years ago, I wrote a post about how much I hated dying my hair for root coverage purposes as I’ve been genetically gifted with early onset graying. Dying is expensive, time-consuming, unhealthy in many ways, and just overall a pain in the ass.

At the age of 15, a stylist at SuperCuts found my first full-blown gray/silver/white hair while giving me a cut. It was traumatizing and I had her pull it out because GET IT AWAY!!! I started dying my hair soon after and the frustrating cycle of frequent coloring began. I was hyper-aware of any shimmery non-brown hairs; I distinctly remember being alone in the bathroom at my community college a few times, close to the mirror, pulling out any visible gray hairs. I was, quite frankly, embarrassed and ashamed of them.

For the past few years, it’s gotten to the point of dying my roots every 4 weeks. I’ll usually visit a hair salon 2-3 times per year and use box dye during the weeks in between. As much as I love going to the salon (scalp massages are my ASMR, for real), a piece of me dies every time I give my credit card and hear the price of my color, wash, dry, and style. During the in-between, I get a box dye that is on sale, usually in medium brown, and spend an hour applying the dye, waiting for it to process, and washing it out.

Tom knows how annoyed I am at this process and has been telling me for awhile now that I should just let the gray grow. As a guy, he doesn’t care about gray hair as much as losing hair or finding that his hairline is receding.

I pushed the idea away until recently when I actually started researching going gray – I found a bunch of good blog posts, articles, videos, and super supportive social media accounts celebrating women going gray. Now, the majority of women within these groups and posts are at least 40, but there have been a few younger women like myself.

Two of the main things women have mentioned in their reasoning for waiting so long to let their natural color show are:

  1. I didn’t want to look old.
  2. I didn’t want to look haggard.

Why are both of these the first characteristics we think of when we are thinking of women with gray hair? When men have gray hair (George Clooney is the #1 example), we think of them as wise and powerful. We often call them “Silver Foxes” (go and Google “silver fox person”…notice what the top results are? men. no women). I don’t want to make this whole post about gender equality…I just had a whole discussion with Tom and our friend Tony about that, so that’s enough for me for one day, thanks.

So I’ve decided that I want to crush these stereotypes that we humans  (men and women alike) have given for graying females. I’m not going to fear looking old or haggard; I’m going to own looking different. I commented on a video I watched of a woman’s progression photos while growing her gray out (see list of resources below). She replied with a really sweet comment; I especially liked, “Today pretty young brunettes are two a penny…but beautiful girls with natural silver streaks in their hair are much more outstanding and rare!”

Youtube Comment

Besides that, young girls have started paying a fortune and ruining their hair to obtain a grayish silver color. That could be me for free AND with healthier hair! I’ve also found that most women who finally stop dying look younger than they did while they were dying! Maybe it’s the unnatural color, maybe they are generally happier and freer!

I’m only 4 weeks in which is when I would usually be putting on the gloves and applying dye to my hair. I catch myself thinking about how people will judge me and how weird my roots will look after a couple months and how easy it would be to go back to my “comfortable” zone of dying every month…but, instead, I’m going to take this one day at a time and continue to look to the positive people on the social media forums and groups for emotional support. I’ve bought a couple plain baseball caps as emergency cover-ups and I plan on getting some headbands to help when the roots are really bad.

These first few months will be the hardest (I’ve gathered from my research) but I’m excited when I think about the end result; I think I have some nice natural coloring underneath all the dye. Even just dying my hair one flat brown color has resulted in highlights, and I’m sure those are where the lightest whites are.

I hope to inspire other women to join in the “ditch the dye” movement like so many women have inspired me; if I’ve at least peaked your interest, check out these great resources that have eased my anxiety about diving in:

To conclude: I’m going to be a young, silver fox, dammit. Join me!

Note to Self

Hi future self. It is currently July, 2016. I’ve enjoyed the first half of summer vacation and am currently wearing a face mask because, girl, it’s been supa dupa hot here in NYC! Like, mid-90s, no wind, high humidity! It’s been sweat central up in here so my face hasn’t been looking or feeling the greatest. Hence the face mask.

I’ve been thinking of a few things that I’d like you to remember a month, a year, or even a decade from now (unless internet and/or this blog doesn’t exist…one is more likely than the other). Some might be more inspirational than others…or there’s a chance that there is nothing inspirational at all, but nonetheless, let’s do this.

1. I want you to remember how good you’ve been feeling about yourself (physically, mentally, and emotionally!) for the past couple months. Of course, you had some days where one, two, or all three of those were not up to par, but, overall, I think this is the best you’ve felt about yourself in a long, long time. I believe this has to do with the fact that you’ve been making conscious decisions with what you are eating (you stopped eating meat [except fish, on occasion] about 3 months ago and have attempted to keep your animal byproduct [dairy, eggs, etc] consumption low), have more positive intentions when you go to the gym, and are being more open and honest with yourself rather than suppressing things you should be addressing.

You’ve also been more open to fighting for yourself; you’ve finally gotten to that point where you love yourself enough that you want better for yourself and think you deserve more than you’ve settled for in the past. You’ve realized that your perspective and opinion matters and that there are ways to vocalize these and be heard without coming across as arrogant (a pet peeve of yours; is it still? I bet it is) or rude. I’m seriously excited for you to continue to grow in this area and I’m happy you chose to put me as a priority!

2. Everyone and their dogs are having kids. Seriously, your Facebook is nothing but pregnancy announcements, updates, new babies, older babies…just all about the children (of course this is an exaggeration; there are also a lot of posts about politics with the Trump/Clinton election coming up, social justice posts/rants, engagement announcements/wedding pictures, vacation boasts, and funny memes/videos).

Your desire to have a baby is like a sine curve (amplitude varies from 0 to 1, 0 being “no kids right now please”, 1 being “let’s have one ASAP!”; the frequency is, like, 1 minute haha):

Ahh, no kids yet, feelin good. But then you want one. Then again, you don’t want one. But they’re so cute! But you want to enjoy just being married without kids a bit longer. But seriously, how amazing will it be to create a human being?! You’ll never sleep again. Look at that adorable child in the park! That kid on the train drove you crazy! etc and so forth

Moral of the story: you’re not ready yet and that’s totally okay!!!!!

You and Tom are happy right now, enjoying the time alone-alone, alone-together, and together-together. You’re loving your job (and the time off!) and Tom’s invested in his. You’re being financially conscious and responsible. You’ve got freedom to do what you want, when you want. When it’s your time, it’ll happen and you’ll love it and everything it entails. But, until then, enjoy your life now!

3. While on the baby front: when that time does come, DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR SHORT/CUT YOUR BANGS!!!!! This happens to so many, I know it does; I see it on Facebook. I get that babies like to pull on long hair and stuff can get stuck in it, yada yada…BUT. I’m telling you, do not do it. Just throw your hair up in a ponytail/messy bun/use the sticky stuff to keep it up but whatever you do, do not cut it. Please, trust me on this one. You’ll thank me later. Here’s a funny video on the matter from SNL:

3b. Also on the baby front (I have a lot of feelings about this already!): don’t post everything about your children on social media. Like, posting stuff about them peeing and pooping in the “potty” is unnecessary. Also, stay strong and only post a handful of pictures (hand-selected too, not just mass uploaded), like, once a week. Remember how I, your current non-mommified self, feel about these things. Update me on your feelings when you do finally become a mom; I hear it’s like a vortex that you get sucked into, never to return.

4. You’ve been doing better at going out of your comfort zone and doing things you’ve never done before. Instead of sitting inside avoiding potentially awkward situations with people around, you’ve gotten out and done things to make yourself feel happier! You have chosen to take walks and most times this leads you to parks where you sit and read or write. You started using free weights a at the gym instead of sticking to cardio and weight machines! It’s taken you a few years to get the courage to do this, so well done on that! Keep it up!

5. SLATHER ON THE SPF!!! I know you’ve been pretty careless in the past with sunscreen because you’ve always longed for a tan. At this point in my life, I can honestly say that I don’t think you’ll ever attain that without self tanner. You’ve done well to apply an SPF daily face moisturizer, but be careful with the rest of your body.

You got a pretty awful sunburn on the back of your body 2 weeks ago [I honestly think it’s the worst one of your life so far] and you’ve been paying for it ever since. A careless application of a spray-on SPF 50 and then galavanting in the ocean without reapplying afterwards was a big mistake. You got the chills and your skin went through the painful, the itchy, the bubbly, and the peeling phases and it’s all been unglamorous and downright gross. And guess what…you’re still super pale, but now you just have weird blotches of skin that are pinker than the rest! Sad truth.

Alrighty, I think that’s enough stuff right now. This face mask needs to be washed off like 10 minutes ago. Maybe in the future you can respond to these, make additions, updates, etc. Make sure to include the date!

Our new apartment and house warming party!

We’ve had our new apartment for a couple months now and Tom and I couldn’t be happier with our new place (except if it was less expensive, a little bigger, allowed pets, didn’t have a leaky bathroom ceiling [we’re in the process of getting that fixed], had roof access, and came with a personal chef, trainer, and maid…but we’re not picky).

Our old place was a good starter apartment – it was cheap, a little bit farther into Brooklyn than desired, and not in the best area, but also not in the worst. The landlady was nice but didn’t speak or understand English very well. For example, one time when I was telling her we were having trouble with electricity and a ‘light bulb’ in the bathroom, she said she would send a plumber to look at the ‘toilet bowl’. She was pleasant to us though from day 1 until we turned our keys in, giving me a hug and telling me how sad a day it was that we were leaving.

Our new place, although technically smaller (old place = 2 bedrooms, new place = 1 bedroom), the layout is much more conducive to having company over. Plus, we don’t live so far away from everything desirable, so I feel comfortable inviting people into our neighborhood and don’t feel bad about them traveling so far, only able to get to us via one train. We’re so much more central to everything and our new place is more accessible to friends that live in Brooklyn than our place in Brooklyn was.

Plus, both Tom’s and my commute to work have changed for the better. I went from 8 subway stops to 4; yes, commuting from Manhattan to Brooklyn is quicker than commuting from Brooklyn to Brooklyn. Tom’s commute went from 16 subway stops to 2, so he just walks to work now; I don’t think he’s ever taken the train to work since we moved. And that is great because I think he’s gotten more fresh air, sunshine, and exercise in the past month than he did the entire 2 years we lived in Brooklyn. I’m not even kidding.

So last night, we had our housewarming party with a bunch of my work friends. I have to be honest and say I was super stressed and nervous that A) no one would come and B) whoever did come wouldn’t have a good time. I’ve never hosted a party before and I was thinking the worst.

“We have way too much food; what if no one eats and then everyone thinks, ‘Wow, there’s so much food and no one’s eating it…'”

“What if everyone cancels last minute or only a couple people show up and then it’s awkward because they think maybe they should have canceled because this party is lame?”

Tom kept reminding me that I was supposed to have fun, not be so stressed and pessimistic.

Plus, I know my friends are my friends for a reason, so of course we would have a good time. I can clearly and rationally see it all now that I’m not in that stressful situation. I tend to overthink things a lot sometimes and I’m grateful for Tom’s reassurance and pep talks and help cleaning and grocery shopping.

And, of course, my friends showed up and we all ate and had a good time. I didn’t want it to end and I’m excited to have people over more during the summer. We’ll definitely have other groups of friends as well, we just couldn’t invite everyone due to space confines.

We have so much food leftover (I just had pizza for breakfast and will probably have it for lunch and maybe dinner!) and gained some cookies, booze, and our first house plant. But the best gain was the time spent with good company, laughing, playing geeky games, and sharing our new space because we can.

House warming party

Moving with Gorilla Bins: A Review

As mentioned in this post, we’ve moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

We had about 2 weeks of buffer time between signing the new lease and actually having time to pack and move. During these two weeks, I was dreading the idea of buying a bunch of cardboard boxes and packing tape to pack all of our belongings only to unpack them and have a ton of cardboard to recycle. It just seemed like such a waste of money, plus cardboard doesn’t always provide the most stable and reliable mode of packing and transporting items, especially more fragile ones.

I did a little research and found two companies, one being Gorilla Bins, that rented out heavy duty plastic bins to use instead of said cardboard boxes. Both companies rented their bins out for two weeks and provided free delivery and pick-up. The other one was a little less expensive, so obviously that was the appealing choice since we had just dropped a bunch of money on a new apartment and we’d be hiring movers.

However, their ratings on Yelp were less than stellar:

Poor Rating 1

and…

Poor Rating 2

and…

Poor Rating 3

Yikes, not good. You can read the rest here if you want to.

Anyways, the majority of the reviews for Gorilla Bins were very positive, so I took the plunge and ordered a 1-bedroom set of bins (12 Large [red], 18 Medium [black]) plus a roll of plastic wrap, a pack of packing paper, and a mattress bag. Although our apartment was technically a 2 bedroom, a lot of the stuff was too big to fit in bins or was already in an easy to move state, e.g., comic books already in boxes.

I had delivery set for the next day after work. The next evening, I got a text from an unfamiliar number – it was the guy delivering the bins.  He told me he was about 20 minutes away – how convenient! He was very respectful, efficient in bringing the bins in, and thorough in going over the materials we ordered and how the returning process worked before leaving. It took all but 5 minutes.

Gorilla Bins 1

I immediately started packing stuff like books and candles, i.e., stuff we didn’t need anytime soon. Over the next 4 days, Tom and I packed, saving the majority of the work for the day before movers would be coming. The bins worked like a charm; everything seemed safe and snug in the bins as we stacked them all up in our living room the night before the move.

We fit most of our stuff in them with the exception of a few things that we packed in boxes we had from recent deliveries. Remember, I ordered a 1-bedroom set when we technically had a 2-bedroom, so their estimate was pretty good on how much stuff fits in a 1-bedroom apartment. We were also moving into a 1-bedroom, so it gave us a good idea of how well we would fit into our new place.

Gorilla Bins apartment comparison

Moving day came and the bins made everything SO MUCH EASIER for us and the movers we hired. Because the bins were stacked neatly, our movers were able to take them out easily and stack them in the truck first. They were then the last things to get moved into our new place.

AND nothing was broken. Sure, a competent packer (thank you very much) and careful movers are also key players in this, but the bins definitely helped. Over the next few days, we unpacked and, as the bins became empty, created two stacks of each size bin in our new living room.
We were done unpacking a few days before the 2-week mark, so I emailed GB on a Friday evening inquiring about getting the bins picked up the following day. They don’t make deliveries on Sundays, so I was hoping to get the bins out of our apartment Saturday to free up space. Within an hour, I received a response saying that they would come by the following day at the time I specified and pick the bins up.

The next evening, I got a text giving me the 20 minute alert and a GB employee came by to pick the bins up. Quick, painless, and definitely worth the money.

If you are moving in the NYC area, I could not recommend Gorilla Bins more. Their employees were all helpful and professional, the bins were all clean, and it all made our move so much easier.

My Invisalign Tips

It’s been over 2 years since I started wearing Invisalign, and now that I’m in the retainer phase (which I will be at from here on out), I figured I should share my top tips. Some are pretty obvious, but others I learned the hard way.

  1. Seriously, wear your aligners. Like, whenever you’re not consuming things other than water, wear them. They recommend 22 hours per day, so try to stick as close to that as possible. You’re already paying a ton for this treatment, so why not get the best and quickest results instead of farting around and complaining about having this amazing opportunity to improve your smile? Snarky? Sure. Truthful? You’re darn tootin’.Duh Napolean Dynamite
  2. Brush and floss your teeth [and brush your aligners!] at least twice per day. I mean, this is just what the American Dental Association recommends, but many people still don’t follow these suggestions. I never flossed (except the day of dental appointments) until I had Invisalign. And even then, I honestly couldn’t floss with the ribbon floss; my fingers just don’t work that way and I can’t unhinge my jaw like a snake in order to reach my molars. So I tried floss picks and my life has been changed. Seriously, try them out.
    • Note: Now, I may have been a bit excessive in brushing and flossing literally after every meal before putting my aligners back in. But you know what? I came out of this experience with only one teeny tiny cavity that was caused by my tooth having a little crevice in it. It wasn’t between my teeth because I let food and gunk build up while my aligners encapsulated said gunk and bacteria harvested and rotted my teeth. If brushing your teeth is not a plausible option in a certain setting or situation, eat an apple or chew some sugar free gum before putting your aligners in. Don’t just not put them back in because you can’t brush and/or floss [see tip #1].happy tooth smile
  3. Following step #2, bring a small baggie with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and your aligner case with you everywhere. This way you’re ready post-meal to at least try to keep your mouth healthy and clean. I kept a kit in my bag during grad school, then in my drawer at work so I was always prepared.toothbrush kit
  4. Only drink water with your aligners in. For real. And, whatever you do, DO NOT try to chew or even just have gum in your mouth with your aligners in. Seriously, this will not be good when (not if, when) the gum gets adhered to your aligners and gets stuck everywhere. Trust me. Not worth it.No drink, food, gum
  5. When inserting your aligners, make sure to really push them on your teeth. It’s not enough to just get them on, make sure they are on as snuggly as possible. I think this is part of the reason my aligners became so ill-fitting [see picture below] as my wedding approached; I was putting them on, but never really pushed them as securely as I should’ve. Luckily, they just rescanned my teeth after my wedding and got me a new set of aligners, but this is not a quick process and will set your treatment time back.Ill fitting aligners
  6. Just hang in there for the first day or so of new aligners. They used to give me headaches because of the pressure they put on my teeth. And yes, it may feel like you’re about to rip your teeth out when you take a fairly new set out before eating and whatnot. Your teeth aren’t going anywhere. Trust me, it’ll hurt for a bit, but the benefits will be greater than the pain. So just pop a Tylenol and focus on something else. Maybe have a dance party to take your mind off of the discomfort.You can do it waterboy gif
  7. Glass attachments (for your aligners to grip) and metal buttons (for rubber bands) pop off. You will probably swallow them. It’s okay. They initially put on more glass attachments than necessary because the chance of them falling off is high. It’s an easy process for them to put on a new metal button. It won’t ruin your treatment, just call your orthodontist, let them know this happened, and they’ll schedule you to come in within a day or so to pop a new one on. Which brings me to tip #7…Invisalign metal button glass attachment Toronto Braces
  8. Choose an orthodontist that you like and trust, but also one that is nearby. You don’t want to have to travel so far just for a small metal button to be put on in under 3 minutes. Trust me. When I moved from the Upper West Side to Long Island to Brooklyn, my orthodontist’s office remained in Midtown. Luckily, when I was in LI, I still worked in Brooklyn, so I would schedule appointments right after work or over long breaks because 2 hours is just not worth the trip.

Alright, I think those are my top tips when wearing Invisalign. If I think of any more, I’ll definitely chuck them in here. And if you have any, please leave a comment to share!

2014-15 Reflections, 2016 Ambitions

I realized, with only a few days of 2015 left, that I did not make an “official” list of “resolutions” for this past year. I did, however, make one two years ago and I’m actually really happy with how much I’ve accomplished from that list (which are in red below)! Along with my achievements, I’ll follow the same format by including my regrets from the past two years and ambitions for the coming year.

2014-15 Achievements:

√  Survived 2 months of a 4-hour round-trip commute to and from work. It wasn’t easy by any means.

√  Moved into an apartment with Tom in Brooklyn, cutting commute time to less than an hour round-trip. We pay too much money for too little space, but for now it works.

√  Graduated from Teachers College, CU with my Masters in Mathematics Education.

Columbia grad

√  Made it through the remainder of my aide job and booked my first real teaching job at the school I was already working at.

√  Got married and it was the most perfect day. Everything was as we wanted, except for my mom not being there.

Wedding collage

√  Had an amazingly wonderful honeymoon in Montauk.

√  Had our second reception to include my mom and upstate family and friends in our celebration.

Reception #2 Family shot

√  Kept up with student loans and actually paid the higher interest one off! We also refinanced the rest so the payments and interest rate is lower.

√  Survived my first year of teaching and re-booked a job at the same school as a full-time Math teacher.

√  Started working out regularly after school and even got one of my coworkers to join me – we still work out 2-3 times per week together!

√  Endured foot surgery to finally remove my bunions.

√  Celebrated our one-year anniversary by going to Montauk; we stayed in the same B&B as our honeymoon. It was tough with my feet all wrapped and swollen, but we had a good time regardless.

√  Became close friends with my coworkers because I work with so many amazing people.

I have amazing coworkers

√  Became more confident in myself and my abilities AND feel a little more confident when it comes to debating. I’m by no means perfect or a know-it-all so I’m still working on this; it’s a daily struggle.

√  Finished my Invisalign!

2014-15 Regrets:

  • Not getting any pets. This is a regret that couldn’t be helped since our landlady is anti-anything-that-might-cause-bugs-of-any-kind-to-invade. I have a small Christmas-tree-esque plant…shhh, don’t tell her!
  • Not becoming friends with people sooner; this has been happening with me for years, and I hate that I miss out on so much potential time with awesome people because I doubt myself or feel too overwhelmed with life/work/what they think of me/etc. to make the effort.
  • Not reading enough due to lack of time and energy.
  • Not actively finding a church to attend regularly.
  • Not visiting friends and family more.
  • Not traveling more, in general. This includes exploring NYC.
  • Not working out more and having more self-control when it comes to delicious treats and all other foods that I like.

2016 Goals:

  • Continue to grow my self-confidence, especially when it comes to how well I do my job.
  • Read more of everything, especially current events and other important historical stuff.
  • Write more – on this blog, in my journal, letters to people, etc.
  • Find a church to attend consistently and become an active member in; this has been a work in progress for quite awhile now and has become one of my biggest struggles.
  • Get a frame for my Masters degree; it’s the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own, so why not  try to keep it safe?
  • Travel more – we already have one trip set for spring break, but I’d love to go anywhere and everywhere.
  • Become more disciplined when working out and choosing to eat healthier. I’m starting by trying to replace one meal with a homemade juice/smoothie/protein drink 3 days per week. If this works, I’ll do my best to increase the frequency.

I’d be interested to hear your greatest (or smallest) achievements in the past year as well as what you hope to accomplish in 2016 and beyond. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve as well as an amazing 2016!

How to become a great teacher!

I remember when I decided to become a teacher and I was so nervous that I was going to mess up or screw up my future if I didn’t do everything perfectly. I wanted to share my top 13 tips to becoming a great teacher since I’ll be starting my second year soon and feel like I have it all down and can share my wisdom. I wish I had a list like this going in to guide me, so I hope this helps anyone pursuing a career in education!

  1. Go to an education school.
    • Duh! After 13 years of elementary, middle, and high school, put in the extra 4 years of undergrad, and another 1-5 years if you’re going Masters level. To be really safe, you might as well go for a Doctorate. You’re spending the rest of your life in a school setting, so why ever leave? Hopefully you’ve known since before graduating high school that this is what you wanted to do because otherwise it’s really hard to get into it.
  2. Student teach and do everything perfectly the first time.
    • You don’t want your cooperating teacher, supervisor, or students to think you’ve never done this before or that you make mistakes. That would be super embarrassing.
  3. Pass certification exams.
    • If you can’t pass these tests, what are you thinking being a teacher? Tests are the epitome of your intellectual abilities, just like they are the epitome of your future students’.
  4. Apply and interview.
    • Only after you have those pieces of paper (degree(s) and certification(s)) are you ready to apply to schools! Where do you want to end up? Do you want to teach at a public or private school? Urban, suburban, or rural? Once you fill out the applications, rock those interviews. Make sure you mention how much better and progressive your new-age philosophy is in comparison to those tenured or “veteran” folks. Also, don’t pay attention to what the school represents or how the people interviewing you make you feel. This is all about you impressing them, it’s not a two-way street.
  5. Accept the job of your dreams!
    • You’re obviously going to get hired at the perfect school on your very first shot, love everyone you work with, and love all the students you teach. You’ll most likely stay at that school for the rest of your teaching career until you retire with a healthy 401K at the age of 65.
  6. Enjoy all of the free time.
    • Teachers teach. Super easy, right? Some other minor time commitments include lesson-planning, leading clubs, coaching, covering after school study halls, lunch duty, parent-teacher conferences, department meetings, division meetings, while also keeping a very normal life and healthy relationships outside of school. Oh, and all of this results in a massively growing bank account. Don’t worry, you’ll find time to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and shower. It’s called summer vacation. Which reminds me…
  7. Never take a sick or personal day.
    • School cannot go on without your presence. What will the kids do without you there to teach them? No. It’s just not acceptable. You have winter break, spring break, summer vacation, and all other holidays off. Don’t be greedy.
  8. You also shouldn’t be leaving school before 8pm most nights.
    • If you are, you obviously don’t care enough and are not putting enough time into making yourself the best teacher.
  9. Set up your room perfectly and completely ready for the first day of school.
    • Martha Stewart won’t have nothing on you and your perfectly squared and hung posters, your immaculately clean and organized desk, and every desk and chair neatly arranged. No eraser or holepunch out of place, no clutter whatsoever. Make sure everything is set so that everyone knows you have your life together.
  10. Plan all of your lessons for the entire school year before school starts, if you can.
    • And make sure they’re fool-proof and perfect so you don’t ever have to go in and edit; that would be such a waste of time! Make sure every single one is dynamic and exciting because otherwise none of the students will learn a thing. They won’t even realize you’re in the room unless you teach with pizzazz.
  11. Always be happy and smile.
    • Never show any emotion other than happy because you don’t want your students to think you’re a human being. You need to be their role model and show them how to be happy all the time. That’s how you deal with absolutely everything: happiness. No crying, no complaining, no nothing. Don’t even talk about feelings or emotions.
  12. Do everything yourself.
    • Don’t ask for help or ideas or advice because you don’t want your co-workers, supervisors, and students to think you’re incapable of…anything. Troy and Gabriella and the gang sang that “we’re all in this together,” and while that might be fun and catchy, this is real life, not a Disney musical movie.
  13. Take this list and laugh at it because it’s a complete and utter bunch of ridiculous, flippant nonsense.

I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t thought about all of these at one point or another in my pursuit of teaching. I know the majority of them are totally ridiculous, like showing no emotion or the one about sick or personal days. But sometimes we as teachers feel a duty to stick it out even when we feel like we got hit by a bus. And free time? HA.

I also know that some people do try to plan their lessons way in advance and it works for them; BUT they are also aware that they will be going back in to edit those at some point to accommodate something that could be done better next time. And then there are people like me who plan pretty much a day or two in advance because that’s just how I work and I’m better at last minute ideas than trying to think of something for next week or next month.

Some of the tips are somewhat a tiny-bit helpful, like 1 and 2. Going to school to learn how to teach and gaining experience during student teaching is important, but don’t think you have to get a Masters or Doctorate and that you can’t screw up while learning how to teach. That’s what it’s there for. Heck, you might realize through those experiences that teaching isn’t for you, and that’s awesome! Plus, you might end up wanting to be a teacher after years of working in a different field, and that’s awesome too!

Obviously, most states nowadays require certain degrees and certifications in order for you to teach, but those don’t make great teachers. It’s experience in the classroom that makes great teachers. And an innate desire to teach. And there’s some innate talent that goes into it too. Point being: tests and schooling don’t solely make great teachers.

I’m hoping there was enough ridiculous sarcasm throughout all of the other steps that you realize this whole post is a silly guide to becoming the most unhappy and stressed out person on planet Earth. Teaching requires flexibility and collaboration and mental/emotional/physical strength. And a happy hour or twenty with co-workers…which could also be considered collaboration. Without those, you’re going to get burned out so quick.

I’ve learned so much from my prior long-term sub positions and first year of teaching (last year) and I am still preparing to learn for the next 30+ years in this field. If you try to do everything right the first time without preparing and being okay with making some mistakes or incurring hiccups or complete derailments, you will hate teaching. Obviously we all want to do a good job, but learning from mistakes is sometimes the best medicine for our egos. And that’s true for all walks of life and professions, not just teachers.

Let me know if you have any other ridiculous ideas that you may have actually had about the teaching life, or just some facetious teacher thoughts, and if you can relate to any or all of these!

One Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!!! It feels like forever ago that I was dealing with the stresses of planning a wedding and all that it entails (showers, rehearsal dinner, dress, etc). And man oh man I do not miss that stress! But marriage comes with it’s own stresses, obviously. I know this is still considered the honeymoon stage and it only gets harder (and, therefore, more wonderful?) from here, but I accepted that challenge August 16 of last year. Heck, I accepted that when he proposed!

I’ve learned a lot about Tom over the last year, and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about me too. Heck, I’ve learned a lot about me! I guess that happens when you share your life with someone else. I mean, I lived with my friend Becky in college, but we were so much alike that there were rarely issues about cleanliness, organization, sleep schedules, etc. I did learn that we are very weird people and sometimes the dumbest things entertain us. I miss you Becky!

I won’t get into gory details of what I’ve learned, because I’m sure they’re typical things that two people who come from different backgrounds encounter. And also this would quickly become the longest blog post ever. No thank you!

Anyways, as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re going to celebrate by going out to Montauk next weekend. We’re staying in the same B&B we had for our honeymoon because we really enjoyed our stay there. I can’t wait to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being so far away from the city before school starts and all the hecticness it brings. As it is, I’m coaching volleyball this fall and I have to be there the day after we come back. I also have a doctor’s appointment that morning. Okay, stress is returning.

Also as previously mentioned, I’m hoping my feet can handle some walking and some sand. Good news: I changed my own dressings! My mother-in-law offered to do it again after I showered and got them all wet on Saturday, but I decided to do it myself with her nearby in case I needed back-up. It wasn’t bad at all! I hit my right big toe (of course!) and it was weird but I was fine. See? It’s all in my head, and I know that! But I’m glad I was able to do it by myself because I know I’ll need to a lot more in the future until I no longer need bandages. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m hoping the doctor takes x-rays to see if any bones have started to fuse together.

But for today, Tom is traveling out to Long Island from Brooklyn to spend our actual anniversary together, which is sweet of him. It’s a long train ride and I know he’s had a lot on his plate at work, so it’s nice to be put above that for the day. I’m not 100% sure what the plan is, but I’m thinking Schafer’s in Port Jefferson (where we ate dinner before he proposed) and then maybe watch the sunset at West Meadow Beach (where he proposed…after watching the sunset). Maybe we’ll reenact the proposal, just for fun!

We have some engagement “photo shoot” pictures; if you’re looking for a good laugh, you can look through the outtakes – there were more of these than “good” pictures that day. Although we took these almost 2 years ago, they still make me crack up. Here’s a preview:

love

That’s true love right there! We also have our wedding photos if you’re interested to see those.

So yeah, we’ll see what the day brings and hopefully my feet can withstand a little fun!