Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All in Navy on a Snowy Day

I took a picture in the snow as a show of my rededication to Learning Style.  It has been absolutely crazy at work, and I will be sharing some stories soon.  For now here's an outfit that I really enjoyed on a snowy day in Brooklyn.

I'm wearing a lot of my favorite neutral color: navy! 
Bow Sweater & Polka Dot skirt from J.Crew Factory; super-warm, navy, knit tights from Uniqlo; Frye pumps.
I love pairing navy with deep brown.  Love love!

Of course I did not travel in my pumps, but my trusty snow boots that I ordered from Zappos my first winter in New York.
Spiga down coat, Uniqlo navy hat, Coach Madison bag

Until next time,
Miss M

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pink and Blue

What a busy past few weeks!  Graduate school and work are crazy right now, but holiday break is one week away.  This year, NYC public school teachers have 12 days off.  Yes!  On that note, here's an outfit I wore last week.


half and half (nude) lipstick by MAC
pink Tippi sweater, denim pencil skirt, and polka dot tights from J.Crew, Frye pumps, floral watch by Betsy Johnson, and Forever 21 necklace.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Flannel + Cotton + Tweed + Leather

If I had to define my teacher look right now, I'd call it a button-down shirt, perhaps with a sweater over it.

With that said, here is an outfit I had a lot of fun with.  The mix of textures and prints is akin to the chocolate and peanut butter, Ben & Jerry's ice cream I just had.  So satisfying, and a bit longer-lasting.  I digress.

J.Crew Factory butterfly sweater, Old Navy flannel, J.Crew metallic tweed skirt and polka dot tights, Frye pumps
flannel + cotton + tweed + leather

arm candy! J.Crew pave link bracelet and Guess watch

can you tell that I heart hearts?

Miss M

Always a Lady

Here's a quick outfit from a few weeks ago that I had forgotten about.  Here's an example of when not planning an outfit the night before goes very right.  I needed something decent since it was Thursday, I would be going from work to grad classes all night.  I enjoyed the mix of colors-- navy cardigan with navy and black tights, the swing skirt and hint of pink.  Plus, my little booties were actually comfortable enough to make it through the day.

ASOS skirt and blouse, J.Crew cardigan and tights

hints of gold detailing from top to botom

Steven by Steve Madden booties from several winters ago

I am loving collars these days.
As for the title, I've been getting that a lot late.  I'm good with it.
Miss M

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Student-Led, Parent-Teacher Conferences

This is my first year doing exclusively student-led teacher conferences.  99% of students were forthright.  Parents are more receptive to hearing the truth when their child is the one saying it.  Some of the admissions I heard were: "I insult people," "I talk too much" and "I'm doing well because I've been a star scholar three times."  It was awesome.  Below are the steps I used during these student-led conferences.

Step one:  Greet the parent and student warmly; welcome them into your classroom. Step two: So-and-so, talk to us about how you're doing in ELA class. Or if scaffolding is necessary, how are you doing in ELA academically and in terms of your conduct, how you behave in class?  If student says one or two words, I ask for evidence, or a detail to support their claim (perfect way to once again practice using evidence). Step three: affirm in most cases what student said and connect to the grade received. Step four: if it hasn't been covered,  mention how student has improved, what she needs to improve upon and steps to take to get there. Step five: elicit from student, what she will do to improve or maintain grade. Final step: thank parent and student for coming.  

Now that I teach general education students and special education students in an inclusion setting, I have excellent parent turnout for conferences. In my past experiences teaching self-contained classes, I often got maybe six parents total during both afternoon and evening conferences.  This year, I got about sixty parents, or just over two-thirds of the students I teach.  As you can imagine, the time goes very fast because everyone comes to speak to the ELA teacher and to see how their newly-minted middle schooler is doing. 

To prepare for parent-teacher conferences, I do the following: One, make sure portfolios are in order and accessible for parents. Two, tidy up the classroom and make sure student work inside and out is current. Three, prepare for each student a positive comment, an area of growth, and how to improve their grade. Of course this was a lot easier with 24 student instead of 90, but just as necessary. It's important for a teacher to be and feel prepared; this is something that helps me feel prepared.  Four, have a notebook or paper ready to take notes quickly, as well as a print out of your grades. Five, make sure you're dressed well. Half of the battle preparation is presentation. Look ready, be ready. 

On that note, time for work. I'm heading in early to work on some of the things I said I would do for parents-- from compiling list of book suggestions for a Christmas Kindle gift, to sharing the list of upcoming class novels for the year as well as supplementary reading on the same topics, and updating our online grade book/parent communication tool with additional emails and phone numbers. Yup, a teacher's work seems never-ending. 

Until next time,
Miss M

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leather-Trimmed Skirt and Pink Boots

Here are some quick photos from earlier this month. I am loving my leather-trimmed skirt from J.Crew Factory! I had a lot of fun with this outfit. I've always loved houndstooth, but I just discovered I also love leather. Next up (hopefully): a well-fitting leather pencil skirt. I have my eye a few at ASOS. 

With this outfit I kept my colors simple and added two pops of color. 

Old Navy sweater, skirt and tights from J.Crew Factory, Swedish Hasbeens boots, H&M necklace

My favorite heart ring-- purchased for a dollar from Not Just Vintage pop-up sale-- and a clear and gold bubble ring. Love!

I look forward to styling this skirt again soon. 
Miss M

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creating Balance

It is so important for a teacher to maintain a life out of work.  Those of you who know me well, know that this is something I am usually good at.  Ever since I reclaimed my life from teaching, balance is something I prioritize.  I usually maintain my social calendar, exercise several times a week, get eight hours of sleep and work on side projects.

However, lately between my second semester of graduate school for my administration degree and my second year working at my current school with a new co-teacher, I have been neglecting balance.  I did manage to see a good friend for happy hour in the middle of last week, but to only work and drink would be regressive and a little too much like my first few years of teaching.  I digress.

This is all to say, today I made it to the gym!  And yes, that deserves an exclamation point.  Despite running a 10K last month, without much training I should add, I have not been exercising during the week at all.  Today, I lifted before cardio, and during my sprinting portion of my 20 minute session of intervals, I found myself repeating the following mantra: I will teach <insert class section> and <repeat class section> will learn.  That came to mind as I ran hard, when I really wanted to be done with the day and at home already.  It felt good, and uplifting.  This particular section is challenging in ways, but they are learning and today was a good day. 

Something teaching has taught me is: take each day as it comes and count even the smallest successes.  The day a teacher gives up and stops trying, no learning happens and she, herself, is miserable.

On that note, time to write a paper as I watch Greys Anatomy on Netflix.

Miss M

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Leather at Work

What a long day at work!  Good thing I had an awesome outfit to get me through periods 1-8, extended day and afterwork work.  Yes!

When I first got this dress I was disappointed with its length.  I had intended for it to be a short, flirty dress for nights out.  I got over it, and now have an even greater appreciation for its versatility.  I added a structured, buttoned-all-the-way-up denim top to balance the leather, dark tights and flats to make it work appropriate.  

Here are some quick photos before I hurried off to work.  I will work on my facial expressions, promise!

faux leather dress from Express

hot pink Old Navy flats

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yellow and Sequins in Fall

Whoops!  I've been super busy with work and graduate school, so here are some photos from earlier this month.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of colors and textures.  When I play with colors and neutrals, I like to balance by bringing warm and cold tones into the top and bottom parts of my outfit.  In other words, the gold chain plays off of the brown pumps and the grey tank is balanced by the gray stockings.  The opposite would be, the gray top with brown stockings against the tan skirt and brown pumps.  Not good!

I digress.  This outfit made me happy! 

Express sequins tank, J.Crew skirt and cardigan, Hue tights, Frye pumps

J.Crew bangles, Factory link bracelet, Guess watch


Such a School Teacher!

 This was my extra teacherly outfit from earlier this month.  It's been a while since I've worn this cut, but I look forward to acquiring more skirts like this.

Forever 21 blouse, thrift belt, Asos midi skirt, Frye pumps

Betsy Johnson floral watch

Forever 21 flower studs


Friday, October 18, 2013

Acessorized in a Sweatshirt Dress

I wore my third sweatshirt dress of this four-day week today.  I wore a pleated version on Tuesday and a pencil cut dress sans sweater yesterday (there is room for hips in middle school after all!). Perfect Friday dress.  So easy, roomy but still appropriate for work.  A dress is only way to wear sweats at work! After my late night at graduate school yesterday, I was tempted to wear a tunic and leggings, but then I remembered this find from several seasons ago.  I added some accessories, and voila!  An outfit to take me from work to my nail appointment, and easy to ride my bike in.  Win-win.

J.Crew sweatshirt dress, H&M necklace, J.Crew knit tights, Steven lace-up booties, Coach bag.

I've belted this dress in the past, but I am realizing that I can wear more shapeless clothing.

 I love the zipper detailing in the back.  Perfect detail for such a chill dress.

I am loving my curly locs.  My students told me, others have likened my locs to curly fries, and of course, Medusa.  I always get that one when I curl my hair and middle schools are around.

Happy Friday!
Miss M

"I Need You to Problem Solve"

Student, as he clumsily attempts to put up his chair and it gets tangled in the next chair: "Miss M, I need help!"

Me: "______, I need you to problem solve."

Student is clumsy for another 15 seconds before successfully untangling chair legs and putting up his chair. 

Me: "Now straighten out that desk."

No coddling here. We need to get these sixth graders ready for seventh grade and beyond!

Just another teaching moment after the last bell on a Friday.  Sometimes the only thing I can manage to say is: I so teach sixth grade!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Miss, Is it Your Birthday?"

What a day! It's always hard coming back to work after a three-day weekend; while teachers need the extra day, having a second Sunday sometimes throws us off as well.  As I write this, I am multi-tasking:  juggling some of the tasks I left until the last minute, thinking I'd have time to complete them on Monday, but never did. I'm scanning three chapters of a grad school book (book shares are awesome!), watching the clock until I have to return to the laundromat to pick up my dry clothes, and writing this post. Earlier, I was scanning (slow scanner) as I waited on my clothes in the washer and reviewed tomorrow's lesson. Sigh. So much to do!  After this, I will do some homework and eventually pick up and fold my clothes. After about four weeks of not doing major laundry, and having to dig into the depths of my closet, it feels nice to have many options again.

On a brighter note, students kept asking me if it's my birthday today. I thought I dress like this everyday, but perhaps it's the curly locs (pipe cleaners on wet hair over night!) or the dangly earrings. I actually have a large earring collection, as well as many bangles and rings, but lately I've been wearing studs and the same few bracelets. Digging into the depths of my closet inspired me to change things up. 

Here I am in a new purchase. I love a good sweatshirt dress. This one, from the Gap, has structure and a versatile gray color.  Paired with burgandy J.Crew tights and my Swedish hasbeens, I guess I looked like I was dressed for a party. 

This dress has zipper-detailing in the back and pleats. 

Assorted bracelets: spiked bracelet from H&M, silver bangles from Kenyan market, ring from Forever 21.  

Other ring from from H&M. I enjoyed delving into my jewelry collection and will challenge myself to wear interesting earrings and bangles and rings this week. After all, everyday is my birthday! 

On that note, time for the rest of my night. Happy Tuesday to all!

Miss M

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Orange Dress

Here's a quick post of what I wore on a recent warm day. 

I am loving this bright orange J.Crew Factory dress. It has pockets!

I belted it and added gold accessories to accentuate the color. 

I wasn't sure how my blue nails would look against this vibrant co,or, but it worked! 

I'll be wearing this dress through the fall with deep colored types, likely burgandy or brown, and boots or flats. 

Until next time,
Miss M

Monday, October 7, 2013

Deep Fall Colors

The best thing about the weather changing is deep lipsticks and colored tights.  A good outfit keeps me going on long days.  Here's what I wore on my from-work-to-grad-school day:

MAC's Cyber with pink gloss, J.Crew Factory neck candy
 I had a lot of fun with this outfit. Lots of different colors, arm candy and dark lipstick? I think I will!

J.Crew tweed skirt & Jackie cardigan, thrift sweater top
The colors here truly make me happy.  Warm mustard, deep purples and pinks, gold accessories and some bling...

J.Crew Factory tights, Frye pumps

Denim, tweed, suede and leather? yes!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From Day to Night

My outfit on Friday that took me from day to night.  This form-fitting, sweatshirt-material, pencil dress is a bit much for my work, but was toned down with a long cardigan.  After work I shed a layer and enjoyed my figure-flattering dress.  I love the mix of neutrals-- gray, black and brown-- and the idea of a comfortable yet structured-looking dress.  And of course, the lace socks and pumps made my day!
ASOS dress, H&M crdigan, lace socks from ASOS, Frye pumps, Coach bag

I was feeling pretty neutral so I kept my makeup light with powder, touch of blush and nude, Sephora-brand gloss.

black lace and brown leather.  yes!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

13th Grade

How to deal with challenging co-workers.

I often joke that teaching is like being in the 13th grade. Things you thought you left behind in high school continue in the workplace.  And sometimes it's like we never left middle school.


The gossip: do you best not to partake. The same way you are including in the session, is just as easily you'll be the topic of discussion.  I never forgot when during my first week of my first year teaching, I was involved in a large gossip session at lunch. No one knew me and I didn't know them, but it didn't matter.

The competition: know that there is room for all of us to be successful. Address undercover negative comments with a question such as, "What do you mean by that?"  Or if you prefer to speak through actions, ignore attempts by others to engage you in unnecessary competition, and know it really isn't about you.  I have experienced competition dealing with whose class a group children like best to my teacher wardrobe. People will compete with you even when you are simply being yourself.

The sabotage: it's not all about stealing brooms, teacher books and even furniture, sometimes things get ugly. Learn from these experiences-- for starters, write your name on everything!-- but remain open though wiser. Most people won't go to the level some will. My second year teaching, also the year I begrudgingly taught science, a colleague gave me high school textbooks to use with my self-contained students. Months later, in my struggles, I showed it to someone else and we realized it was not a 10th grade textbook, and most certainly not what the general education 8th graders were using.  I've also had, in addition to the previously mentioned items, a projector stolen (and recovered) as well as personal bangles lent to a cultural exhibit for Black History Month (read about that lesson here).

The attitude: each day is a new day. It helps to be cordial with all but know that some colleagues will not return a greeting, and it is not personal.  My first few years, I greeted each adult I crossed paths with. Eventually I realized some were not responding to me, but actually giving me looks.  Fact is: there are many grumpy, unhappy-with-life people in the workplace; do your best not to become one of them.

And when it comes to middle school antics, like you're sitting in my seat when there are no assigned seats during department meetings or it's not my fault that I was invited on the trip when you're really discussing self-contained students being including on a grade-wide trip and not a party invitation, stay on the higher ground.  Keep it professional as you address what you must, and then let it go.  At the end of the day, you are the one who is putting your best foot forward at all times. Don't succumb to mean person or petty antics. And when it's time to leave the school building for the day, leave it all behind. You have a full life to live, so go forth and enjoy the second part of your day.

Miss M

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All About the Acessories!

Here are some quick photos before I biked off to work in my attempt to get there earlier to take care of a few things before first period.  I thoroughly enjoyed my necklaces and I will say my, outfit got me though my incredibly busy day.  Teaching sixth grade is draining! 

 Old Navy blouse, Target skirt, Forever 21 & J.Crew Factory necklaces, Uniqlo jacket

I like the mix of casual jacket with my outfit.  It helps to tone things down a bit, and since the jacket is long, its perfect to bike with when in a fitted skirt.

J.Crew Factory tights, Seychelles heels, also worn here
 The navy (and black) tights helped further break-up an otherwise black and white outfit.  I prefer to stay away from typical color combinations.