Take a quick look at these images above ^ from my Instagram feed.
This is who I am. I love pretty things. I love creating an environment for students to imagine and learn all while having fun. I love creating engaging, research-based products for teachers around the world. I believe in putting my heart into everything I do in and outside of the classroom, and I believe in looking good and feeling good while doing it!
But wait, before I squeal about the life-changing decisions I made that transformed my life and teaching career, let’s back up a bit to a not so pretty time in my teaching career.
The Good. The Bad. The UGLY
It was 2012 and I was just completing my first year teaching.
I had spent countless hours of my first year teaching devouring blogs, Pinterest pins, professional books, and chatting with my mentor on how to ultimately be the most effective teacher, but I was d r a i n e d.
I remember the first morning of freedom- the first day of summer vacation. I sipped coffee and turned on Netflix, but my mind was racing. On one hand, I was excited that I was able to take the whole summer off and prepare for a clean slate next year. On the other hand, I couldn’t stop thinking about burning questions that I had throughout my first year (and little did I know these questions would run through my mind every year after that, too).
I asked, “What’s the point?” questions like:
What’s the point of having the most detailed lesson plans, if students are arguing and won’t listen long enough for me to teach? #beentherefailedthat #classroommanagementprobs
What’s the point of having beautiful classroom decor, if every cabinet and drawer is disorganized? #BEENTHERECLUTTEREDTHAT
What’s the point of staying up late planning an amazing lesson, if I oversleep and can’t arrive early enough to get the copies made and materials prepped to properly implement my lesson? #BeenthereSLEPTIN
What’s the point of spending most of my weekend pinning inspiring classroom ideas, only to fail to implement any of them? #beentherepinterestfailedthat
What’s the point of learning about a new best-practice at a PD workshop, if I never have the resources or support to fully implement it? #beenthere #bitoffmorethanicouldchew
Why do I begin dry heaving when I receive the email to schedule my next observation? (like when I pass a police car and instantly think “act normal” as if I wasn’t already.)
What’s the point of nailing my observation, if the next day I go home and binge-out on pizza and ice cream because my kids were full-moon cray cray? #beentheregainedover40pounds
What’s the point of hitting the ground running each new school year, only to burn out by Halloween and begin counting down my days to Thanksgiving break? Or coming back from winter break only to begin happy dancing all around my house for having MLK Jr day off? #BeenThereBurnedOut
As my first summer vacation waned and the dawn of a new school year approached, I had fallen even more in love with teaching. I launched Pinspired Teacher Resources, LLC. and created The Pinspired Teacher blog and Teachers pay Teachers store. The only problem was, I still had a ton of “what’s the point” kind of questions urking me.
At one point I thought I had some of the questions figured out, but a job in a new district at a new grade level sure knows how to throw a wrench in the “I’ve got it all figured out” category.
The Good. The Bad. The Hot Mess Me
By June 2015, I was in my 4th year of teaching and despite all the success I had, I couldn’t escape those questions.
They began to haunt me and frustrate me.
A piece of the puzzle was missing.
I stated when I began this post: this is who I am as I referred to my Instagram feed.
True, but there’s also been the hot mess part of me who has been known to rock a mean messy bun and yoga pants to school on several occasions. Who am I kidding I’ve had week-long sprees. #nojudging
That version of me was in control most days my first 4 years of teaching, even though I loved teaching! Like a mom who has put all of her love and energy into her children and forgot to treat herself to a new haircut or a new pair of flattering jeans, or heck a daily shower #thestrugglecanbereal.
I became fed up of settling for the 50lb heavier version of me who had amazing ideas for my students, but not enough energy to always implement the ideas. Part of me knew I was doing my students a disservice with the lack of energy I had throughout the day. My inner-Ron Clark was itching to come out and breathe energy back into my classroom like Clark does on a daily.
Then one day I read a book totally unrelated to teaching called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
The book helped me decide to declutter and organize my apartment once and for all. It also indirectly changed the mindset I had on life and teaching. At some point that summer, I made the decision to choose the happiest, prettiest version of myself- personally and professionally, mentally and physically.
The first thing I did that summer was turn off my TV. In the book, Kondo recommends decluttering without any background distractions (no Beyonce or Bieber to help me fold laundry, I know, crazy right?). It took me about 5 days to go through the complete process that Marie Kondo laid out and for 5 days my TV remained black. It was liberating for me, I was shocked by my productivity! I decided to go cable-free (and only use Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube) and haven’t looked back since!
The Good. The Bad. The Transformation Begins
In August 2015, I watched a documentary on Netflix my best friend told me about called Fed Up by Katie Couric. This childhood obesity documentary was so compelling that I decided once and for all I was not going to eat foods with added sugar. The result? My weight effortlessly dropped, without a rigid diet or any exercise. Even though I spent the first month of summer vacation hiking for 1-2 hours everyday and barely saw any results, I gave up in July, then quit sugar in August (not to mention trying various diets and exercise with minimal success over the past 5 years).
This is one of my Instagram pics I posted in early December, but I have lost more weight since then. I will spare you the deets on my weight loss journey since I am eager to share how all this relates back to me becoming the best-teacher-me, but if you want to know more leave it in the comments or email me!
Since I Marie Kondo’d my entire closet earlier in the summer it was bare and I spent the rest of the summer in pj’s. As back to school neared, I made another decision: I decided once and for all that appearance matters. It reflects your mood and confidence. Ron Clark even dedicated an entire chapter on this in his book Move Your Bus.
I looked at my bare closet and decided that I would dress like the best-version-of-me would dress this school year. I also vowed to start wearing heels everyday. So with that, I went to the thrift store and found an entire new wardrobe of everything the better-version-of-me would wear. [By the way, this was my first time thrifting but I became obsessed! @Trendyteacher on Instagram is my ultimate thrifting inspo!] I am allowed to wear jeans everyday to work, but I paired them with blazers, accessories, and heels.
The Good. The Bad. The Transformation Continues
This pic from earlier is what I wore for meet the teacher. It was also the first day on the job with my new commitment to myself to be a prettier version of me professionally and personally.
Making the decisions to declutter and organize my home, quit sugar and cable, and begin wearing heels and a new confident wardrobe to school, was my first step living out the best-version-of-me on most days. My messy bun and yoga pants girl is still in there, but with those small decisions I have taken control over my mental, emotional, and physical destiny.
My decision to make over my personal life has given me the confidence and energy I need in order to BRING IT for my students each day.
I am now reminded of the burning questions that once haunted me.
My next step is to transform my professional life.
The passion has always been there. The education and resources have always been there, but ladies (and gents!) I am officially giving myself a…..
Pretty Teacher Makeover, what?!
Yep, call up your best glam squad [of teachers] because I am going to be doing an ongoing professional makeover on myself right here on The Pinspired Teacher blog.
I will be solidifying those burning questions that urked me for far too long and stole my teacher-joy at times. Not only will I be solidifying those and many other questions I had my first year (ahem, years, OK whole career) of teaching, but I hope that I can help anyone who reads this and resonates with the fact that you know you’re an All-Star teacher, but you are not maxing out your full potential.
With the Pretty Teacher Makeover, I will be taking my teaching to the next level.
I want to rock my literacy block like Jen Jones
I want to have a clutter-free classroom like Jodi
I want to bask in the beauty of my classroom like Maria from Kinder Craze
I want to engage my students like Ron Clark
Basically, I wanna get my ish together and help YOU all while doing it. Will it happen all at once? Of course not! But the decision has been made, and that is single most important thing.
This is my sneak-peek vision of what a Pretty Teacher looks like:
Maybe you want to come along with me?
(I mean who doesn’t want their own glam squad coming to their house to make them beautiful?) I will email you the latest blog posts so you can stay up-to-date.
Are you in?