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Mar 27, 2010

spending hiatus

image from jengold48

"the less you have, the more you enjoy."
carine roitfeld


march 2010 the last five years have left me with a bit of a spending hangover, so i have decided to do a spending hiatus. i am, of course, missing the boat on everyone else's february through march spending hiatuses, but whatever. i'm just going to do a month to "reset" my spending habits. my credit card statement this month wasn't actually that painful, but the fact that i was afraid to open it for a few days still suggests that maybe a break from indiscriminate spending would be wise. plus, i just have so much stuff already that it would be a good idea to spend more time enjoying what i have than simply accumulating more things.

perhaps what i should really say is that i'm doing a baby spending hiatus--less time and fewer restrictions. my goal is simply to stop buying useless stuff and duplicates of things i already have. eating out is still okay, as is going to shows. spending on experiences is not the drain on my expenses, and i think it's okay to eat out a few times a week and go see a band or speaker every so often. also, i'm not going to force myself to eat everything in my (tiny) pantry and freezer before i can buy more groceries. if i can stay out of target, bookstores, and craft stores for a month, i will consider the spending hiatus a success.

most of my spending takes place over the weekend, so i'm going to measure my spending hiatus in weekends instead of weeks. i still can't spend on things that are not completely essential to my life during the week, but the toughest times will definitely be saturday and sunday, so i will focus on those. this weekend is weekend #1. so far so good--i bought brunch for E and i, but that's it. since it's already 5:12, i think i'm going to make it through the day without shopping. i have to go in to school to get a lot of work done tomorrow, so that should make sunday easy, too, but i often bribe myself with shopping when i work on the weekend (as in 'if i work for 2 hours, i can go to kohl's'). next weekend will be even more of a challenge: we have friday off. three day weekends usually mean much shopping. i think i will instead spend the time on crafts, etsy, books, and springtime in ATX.

Mar 21, 2010

things i learned about teaching by teaching

1. when giving instructions, be as specific as humanly possible.

if you tell your kids to write a paragraph about why we did yesterday's lab, they will probably stare at you unless you give them more direction than that (for example: saying that this paragraph should include the goal of the lab, the conclusions of the lab, and how this is connected to the material we've covered in class, or what you've uncovered about the unit we're about to start). if you've done this activity 17 times before, yeah, you can just tell them to do it, but good luck giving them a new, vague assignment and then going to sit at your desk. unless, of course, you want to read 150 paragraphs that start "um.... idk."

also, be super-specific when giving the daily kinds of reminders that you say 50 times a class period. for example, "sit down" or "take a seat." if you teach the darling 14- and 15-year-olds that i teach, you will probably get many interpretations of the words "sit down." they know you mean "sit down in your assigned seat," but they will probably try to impress you with how witty they are by sitting on the floor, on a table, on a counter, on top of their desk, on top of someone else's desk, in someone else's chair, or in someone else's chair with someone else. just say "please sit down in your assigned seat," and you save yourself some headaches. another variation: "keep your hands/feet/backpacks/lanyards/books/notes/entire person to yourself."