Jan 10, 2009

if i believed in new year's resolutions, i would resolve to dress like an adult every day. the picture is of jenny, the designer of wiksten. i heart her designs & how she puts things together. i would love to look a little more like the picture. i have relied on a uniform of jeans & a t-shirt for years, occasionally spicing it up with a hoodie or sweater if it is cold. with my baby face, this makes me look about 16 years old. this is possibly because this is how i dressed at 16. it is not unusual for someone to ask me if i'm old enough to drive, why i'm not in school in the middle of a weekday, or where my mother is. this is super-annoying, mostly because it's rude. i don't comment on how old people look, asking them if they're nearing retirement or considering botox, so i would like to be treated with the same respect.

usually i just brush that sort of thing off or maybe vent about it to a friend & then forget it. however, it is a little bit of a concern for me right now because i am embarking on a new career as a high school biology teacher. i definitely want to look older than my students so i look like i'm supposed to be in charge. high school kids are maybe not the easiest to deal with. they think they're so grown up, but most aren't really capable of functioning at an adult level with any consistency (though is anyone, really?). i lost weight over the summer & had to buy new clothes for my teaching gig at RC, so i have a lot of 'grown-up' clothes, but i don't really know how to wear them in ways that are cute & young & hip. i've been scouring blogs & magazines for ideas, & i even made an inspiration board. i also watch 'what not to wear' like it's a religion. this is probably not for the best, though i did catch the tail-end of an episode the other day in which they made over a young 8th grade teacher whose 'before' was a lot like my 'now.' full disclosure: i totally cried at the end. i have no idea about this woman's teaching style, but she was so happy & full of life that i felt like she's probably a great teacher which is sorely lacking in america. i was also really excited because she's on a personal mission to improve education, much like i am on a personal mission to improve education. i also like it when good things happen to good people. plus, she looked super-cute at the end, & super-grown-up. this is basically a recipe for happy tears.

hopefully the wardrobe issues won't be overly significant since i plan on being a kick-ass teacher. i've been reading about the public education crisis & other things like teaching philosophies & edupunk. (sidebar: the term 'edupunk' was coined by jim groom of the university of mary washington--my alma mater!) i'm really, really excited about it... granted i only have my former college teaching jobs to go on, but thinking about having my own classroom fills my little heart with joy. i had a crap time in high school & took a very uninspiring biology class there, so i'm very excited to make biology fun & hopefully make high school a little less painful for some (all!) of my students.

because of bad memories, i really hadn't considered teaching high school, but my decision to do so was what my friend N. termed a 'light-bulb moment.' in the february issue of glamour, the following quote from condoleeza rice was part of an article about last year's women of the year awards: 'the most important thing that you can do in life is to find a passion. when you find your passion, you'll realize that you didn't find it--it found you.' my bad feelings about the bush administration aside, rice's quote really resonates with me. this may be a bit premature to say, but that is how i feel about teaching. i feel like it snuck up on me, & it's given me a renewed sense of purpose. it was difficult to decide to leave academia & this decision has not been met with overwhelming support, but i feel like i am absolutely doing the right thing for me. the idea of spending my career cranking out research & pubs makes me almost physically ill, & the only reason to stay would be because it's the easier thing to do. the work itself isn't easy, but in academia your career trajectory is outlined for you: doctorate, post-doc, tenure-track faculty position. when you decide to leave, there's no blueprint. it's a little scary, but i'm really excited & i think i can make a difference. wish me luck!

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