Study Habits and Apologies

Thursday night my students turned in their outlines.  As per usual, every student had some sort of problem or another.  One student didn’t have his source page because they didn’t get cut and pasted, another student forgot to add a title, so on and so forth.  I always ask them to take out their outlines and the Checklist for Revising and Outline sheet that I provide to them and then give them about 5 minutes to make any corrections that they need to make.  So, for the student who forgot a title he was able to write one in and not lose those valuable points.

I had a super-duper professional outfit planned out because we had important people on campus reviewing us for our accreditation, but I went to get my oil changed and then had to do my 45,000 mile tune-up, and ran out of time to attend the (optional) meeting.  So, instead of wearing the super-duper professional outfit I wore something a little more casual instead.

I love pairing purple and gold together– the combination is so rich and regal!  Usually when I wear gold I tend to pair it with khaki or brown.  But, Thursday I went with gray.  These pants were one of the items that I pulled out of my closet earlier in the week and slated to wear.  I didn’t plan an outfit with these pants, but because they are a basic item I didn’t worry about it too much.  I really like the cut of these pants– they make my legs look super long.  Sadly, I bought them because they were cleareanced out!  But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have other pants with the same cut.  I will have to remember to look the next time that I am at Target.

Purple cardigan: gift. Gold earrings: J.C. Penney. Gold cowl neck shirt: J.C. Penney. Gray pants: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Purple peep toes: Payless.

I was a little unsure about what shoes I wanted to wear with this outfit.  I was torn between gray sling back pointy toes pumps, black pumps, or these purple heels.  Eventually I went with the purple shoes because I thought that they had the most personality.

After we went over the chapter on organizational strategies I gave a short presentation on effective study habits.  A few of my students have come to me and asked how they can do better on their quizzes.  It’s a little bit troubling because I have a handful of students who consistently score 9 or 10 out of 10.  But, I had a few tips for the students as a whole for how I go through the information and decide what is high level importance, medium level importance, and low-level importance.  I also reminded them about all the tools that they have available to help them study.  Hopefully this will help those few students who are not doing as well as they want.  Only time will tell!

I also got an apology from the student who took out his frustration out on me over missing a quiz. Luckily, he didn’t overstep the line too much, but it was nice that he recognized he acted out and to apologize to me. He missed class because of some family issues, so I knew that he was just stressed out.

What do you think? Would you have selected the purple shoes, or a more basic shoe? Do you tend to pair gold with khaki and brown and silver with gray and black, or are you open to other pairings?
-Carla

(Fall)

Although I have been tagging pictures and posts “Fall” for quite some time now, it’s not actually Fall!  According to the calendar Fall doesn’t begin for another two days.  But, nonetheless in my mind Fall is synonymous with back-to-school.  Plus, everyone is always pushing ahead and talking about what’s coming next and not focusing on the here and now.  Look at Fashion week– they are debuting clothing lines for the Spring!  We haven’t even had Fall and Winter yet.  And not to mention my Pinterest was flooded with pins of outfits comprised of leggings, boots, and comfy cozy sweaters captioned I LOVE Fall two months ago.  So, please don’t fault me for the erroneous tagging!

Printed cowl neck shirt: Target. Red earrings: unknown. Magenta skinny belt: Target. Khaki pencil skirt: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown heeled boots: unknown.

And, since we’re only two days away, I’ll go ahead and say this.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall.  This week we have had some near record lows.  The cool crisp air is very Fall-esque and therefore, I have started wearing some Fall-like layers.  First up, this shirt which with the mustard yellow and burgundy tones just screams “fall pile of leaves” to me.  And the khaki pencil skirt.  And the brown knee-high heeled boots.  I’m no mathmetician, but Boots=Fall.  I told you in my last post that my outfit consisted of different elements from my creative closet play session, and here it is.  First, the printed cowl neck shirt from all of the outfits.  Second, the skinny magenta belt which gives this top the illusion of being a peplum top– which are SO on-trend right now (but not in my closet.)  Third, the brown boots from another outfit.  Switch out the denim colored pencil skirt for a khaki one, add in thick nude colored tights, and a brown jacket and we’re good to go!

I really like the way that I created the peplum top illusion by tucking under some of the excess length on this top and adding the belt.  But, the one thing that I didn’t like is that my skirt was all wrinkly by the end of the night.  I think that a good coating of spray starch will take care of that.

In class we finished up the lecture over outlining and then talked about organizational strategies for main points.  I have tried to stress to my students the importance of their outlines.  I have walked them through the process step by step.  In week 3 I required them to turn in their topic for approval, their general purpose and specific purpose.  A few of them were off course and had selected a topic that would work better for a process or persuasive speech.  Some of them had a good topic, but had written a specific purpose that treated the topic as a how-to or persuasive speech.  And some of them didn’t write the specific purpose according to the guidelines.

After they turned in their topics, I told them that they should be out there researching their topics and gathering support material for their outlines.  This coincided with the two chapters on finding resources and evaluating and using supporting material.  I constantly reminded them that they should be starting the process of piecing together their outlines.  Last week we began discussing outlining.  We finished that up on Tuesday and their outlines are due today.

I’m always a little worried for some of my students– especially the ones who don’t heed my warnings and get behind.  I had a student approach me at the end of class on Tuesday and ask me if she could change her topic.  I tried to conceal the look of horror on my face as I explained to her that she should be on the outlining stage and not at the selecting a topic stage.  Selecting a topic stage was so 3 weeks ago!  I asked her if she realized how behind she was, but I don’t think that she grasped the severity of the situation.  But, there is a silver lining to this situation.  She expressed concern to me about how to study for the quizzes.

I took a few minutes to sit down with her and show her a few tips and tricks for figuring out which information is most important in a textbook chapter and which information is least important.  I also explained to her about the cues that a teacher gives to the students.  For instance, if something is not covered in class that means that it is less important than other information.  Idea’s that a teacher repeats is something that they want you to write down in your notes and remember.  The same thing with PowerPoint slides.  The information written on a PowerPoint slide is usually written in short key word phrases with the intent that a student will copy that information down in their notes and then elaborate with the other information that an instructor provides orally.

I’m choosing to focus on the positive aspect of the student reaching out to me for help on study habits rather than focusing on the fact that she is so far behind where she needs to be on the first big assignment.

What do you think?  Are there any other basic study tips that you give to students to help them figure out what to study?  Do you reach out to students whose quiz scores are lower than the rest of the class or do you wait until they come to you?  Please let me know your tips and tricks– I love learning from others.

-Carla

Versatility

I’m just going to throw this out there and say that I shop too much.  I know that I will regret saying that at some point, but it is true.  Now, I am not as bad as some people out there in the world, but I can admit that I own more things than I really need.  But, it’s hard to resist that siren song of new clothes and trends.

So, I try very, very hard to be mindful of the items that I purchase.  And, I certainly make sure that I am not breaking the bank with my spending habits.  But, truth be told, I often buy new things and I am so excited to wear them as soon as I bring them home.  And then I look in my closet and I see all these other wonderful items of clothing that I haven’t even worn yet!  I’m not one of those people who looks in my closet and thinks, I have nothing to wear!  I look into my closet and I think, Ahhh, I have so many things to wear and so little time to wear them all!  Which, could explain why I often change so many times throughout the day.

I also really like the challenge of coming up with different ways to style a piece of clothing.  Sure, some items are easier than others, but that just makes it fun.  And not all of my styling idea’s come from my own mind– many of them are idea’s that I get from fashion magazines, television, Pinterest, other bloggers, etc.  Here are the recent additions from my closet on my last shopping trip.  (I can justify each and every one of these purchases, y’all!)

(Clockwise from Top) Printed Cowl Neck Top: Target on-sale $9, Denim Colored Pencil Skirt: Target clearance $12, Printed Ruffled Tank (magenta/black): Target on-sale $12, Purple and Black Dress: (thrifted) $4

As you can see, I went on a min-shopping trip to Target and the thrift store. The printed cowl neck top has been in stores for a few weeks now, but they just went on-sale for $9.  There were two color options and I chose the magenta, mustard yellow, and cream because I knew it would fit into my closet well.  I could think of a few different ways to wear this top for Fall and for Spring.  I could pair this with my mustard cardigan or a cream-colored cardigan and jeans or khaki pants for Fall.  For a more Spring time outfit, I could play off of the white/cream and wear it with white pants or a khaki skirt.  I could even see layering it under a sweater or a button-down for a Winter-y version.

The second item, a denim colored pencil skirt, has been on my wish list for some time now.  I love the pencil skirts from Target.  I have one in black and khaki and they fit very well and are staples of my closet.  I have a denim colored pair of trouser pants from Target that I get a lot of use out of, and I knew that a skirt in the same color/fabrication would work well in my closet.  Basically, any outfit that I’ve worn with those pants can be worn with this skirt.  Plus, this girl fueled my desire for a denim-colored pencil skirt.  And, it was on clearance. And my size.  That’s like a fashion rule that you have to buy it.

This third item won its way into my cart because it is the same cut and style as this tank top, albeit a different print.  Again, my brain immediately started counting the outfits that I could create with this top.  I could wear it with black dress pants/black skinny pants/black pencil skirt, jeans/denim shorts/denim skirt, or blue pants/gray pants/white pants.  And those are just the bottom choices.  There are a number of toppers that I could wear over the tank top: black cardigan, royal blue cardigan, mustard cardigan, white cardigan, black blazer, blue blazer, magenta button up, white button up, or a black button up.  And, not to mention that I could layer a black tissue turtleneck under it for a Fall option, and a cardigan or blazer over it with the turtleneck for a Winter option.  I mean, that’s worth $12, right?  I knew you’d agree.  This is why we’re friends.

The last new item may have the least amount of remix possibilities, but I have been on the search for dresses.  I mean, with a dress there is barely any thinking involved.  You just pull it over your head and you’re good to go.  I mean, you may want to put on some shoes, too.  I could see this dress as is, with a black cardigan or black blazer, and maybe a black or purple sweater over it, so just the print shows on the skirt.  I could also layer under it with a black v-neck t-shirt or turtleneck.  I can see this with black tights and booties for Fall, or black tights, over the knee socks, and knee-high boots for Winter, or with an open-toed sandal or black wedges for Spring.  I could even wear my purple peep toed pumps with this dress!  The only downfall of this dress is that I don’t currently have a cardigan or sweater that is the same shade of purple, but I don’t think that would necessarily stop me from wearing this purple cardigan with the dress.

In case you weren’t convinced, here are some outfits that I created with the printed cowl neck top.  These first two are casual outfits.  And, the one on the left I have actually already worn.

(L to R) Mustard cardigan: Target. Printed cowl neck top: Target. Skinny Khaki’s: J.C. Penney. Brown boots: Old Navy.
Printed cowl neck top: Target. White jeans: (thrifted.) Brown penny-loafers: Old Navy.

I originally purchased this top with my everyday wardrobe in mind, but after getting it home I felt that the cowl neck top took this t-shirt up a notch and I was curious to see if I could make this piece work for my professional wardrobe as well.  Here are the results: 3 professional outfits with this printed cowl neck top.

(L to R) Printed cowl neck top: Target. Light khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Magenta belt: Target. Brown pointy toed shoes: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Printed cowl neck top: Target. Cream colored cardigan: Old Navy. Brown dress pants: Bitten (Steve n’ Barry’s). Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Magenta button up: J.C. Penney. Printed cowl neck top: target. Denim colored skirt: Target. Brown heeled boots: unknown. Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.)

So there you have it!  Self-imposed challenge, complete.  Oh, and elements from these three dressy items made up my outfit that I wore to class on Tuesday night.  So, stay tuned for that– it’s coming up shortly.

What do you think?  Do you ever play this game when you are buying clothes?  Or do you just go all willy-nilly and buy whatever happens to strike your fancy at that particular moment whether it fits in your closet or not?  Do you make purchases based on how you actually dress, or how you wish you dressed?  Sound off below– I love reading your comments.  And, I wouldn’t mind if you pinned my outfits, either!

-Carla

 

Friday Fun Day

Friday morning I lectured over Listening and Outlining with my students.  These two chapters were a little easier to present because I have already covered them in my Tuesday/Thursday class.  We started out with Listening since they are usually a little more awake and ready to pay attention.  As the class starts to wear on, they start to get a little stir crazy.  We meet once a week for 2 hours and 40 minutes.  I usually try to give them (and myself) a ten minute break somewhere in the middle just to give everyone a chance to stand up, move around, and get the blood flowing again.  They are always able to step out if they need to use the restroom or take an emergency phone call, but some of them do smoke or won’t leave during lecture.

I did announce to them at the beginning that we had a lot to do that day and there would not be a formal break.  This is how I bought myself some “extra” time to make sure that I could fit in the Pictionary activity with this class.  I started out by giving them a quiz on the material that we covered the last week.  My Friday students are doing slightly better on the quizzes than my T/TR students.  This is surprising to me.  Last Spring, my Friday students struggled a lot with the material and I attributed it to the meeting schedule.  I felt that the students didn’t have enough time to let some of the information sit and gel before we had to move on to the next topic.  Speech is kind of like math– it all builds on itself and if a student has trouble understanding addition that lack of understanding is only going to get worse when you try to teach them multiplication or division.

But, I think that since I had the predisposition that my Friday students would have a more difficult time, I stressed to them at the beginning how important it was for them to do their reading, study for their quizzes, and take an active role in class.  The other thing that I find interesting is that I gave my T/TR students a practice quiz to show them the types of questions that I would ask.  I did not collect it or even see their scores– so whether they did bad or good I will never know.  But, I did it as kind of a warning to show them that they would need to study.  I did not do that for my Friday class, and yet they are scoring higher (as a group) than my T/TR students.  There is the possibility that my practice quiz exercise actually backfired on me.  Anyway.  These are the types of things that I find interesting and turn over in my mind late at night when I am trying to sleep.

Mustard cardigan: Target. Gold earrings: J.C. Penney. Brown Tank top: Old Navy. Layered necklaces: Target. Plaid dress: Old Navy. Brown belt: (thrifted.) Brown boots: Old Navy.

I liked this outfit well enough.  It does seem very fitting for the Fall season with its color palette.  But, the dress is a linen material and has a strappy top.  This can make it difficult to wear it to school.  I always have to put something under it and/or over top of it to make it appropriate.  Plus, this sort of feels like I just put on random layers in a sense.  And, this is extremely similar to the last time that I wore this dress, just with a different colored cardigan, basically.  (I think I may have liked it better the first time around.)  And while there is nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit twice, I feel that it should be a good outfit and this one is just so-so.  And then there’s my hair.  I have noticed that when I don’t like the way my hair is in a picture I tend to dislike the outfit.  Weird, right?

There are so many girls who can make a casual ponytail look cute and really good.  I just don’t think that I am one of them.  Truth be told, I didn’t wash my hair this morning.  I washed it the night before for class and had planned on wearing it pulled back or up.  I don’t wash my hair everyday–I usually wash it everyday other day.  I think that  I would have felt better if I had washed my hair and styled it differently, but there wasn’t time for that on Friday morning.

But, I still feel like I am doing o.k. in the challenge to make my Friday outfits as good, if not better, than my T/TR outfits.  Just because it’s Friday I don’t want to feel like I am giving up or dressing too casual.  What are your thoughts?  Do you like this dress better the first time or second time that I styled it?  Does something like your hairstyle make you like an outfit more or less?  Please leave me a comment below!

-Carla

Everyday I’m Shufflin’

Hey there!  Sorry for the slight delay in posts– I mentioned last week that I had a tinge of the flu coming on, so over the weekend I tried to relax and get some extra sleep.  However, that is a little easier said than done!  I teach Thursday evenings and then have to get up an’ at ’em bright and early on Friday morning for my 9:oo a.m class.  Luckily, this past Friday I was off from my other job and my BF and I had a fun date night that evening.  (More about that in a minute.)  I did have to attend an early morning work meeting on Saturday, and then be back at 5 p.m. to work until 1:30 a.m.  And, that wasn’t the end of it– I worked Sunday morning from 9:30a.m.-5 p.m.  So it was a weekend of quick turnarounds I guess you could say.

But, don’t feel bad that I didn’t blog my Thursday and Friday outfits– I neglected other stuff too, like grocery shopping, getting an oil change, cleaning the house, and laundry.  Guess what I get to do today?!
Let’s get right to it!  On Thursday I wanted to wear something that made me a little more accessible to the students, so I toned down the overt professionalism and went with something a little more casual: a short-sleeved brown turtleneck sweater, khaki pants, and a brown plaid blazer.

Brown plaid blazer: (thrifted.) Gold earrings: Wal-Mart. Brown turtleneck sweater: unknown. Khaki trousers: J.C. Penney. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown oxford shoes: unknown.

There is something about a brown plaid blazer that just says Fall and Professorto me.  Do you have the same connotations towards this item of clothing?  And, long time readers will also remember that I am wearing this brown sweater backwards because I like the three-button accent.  It sort of feels like a necklace for my shirt.

Thursday was a fun day in class.  Although we had to finish up the lecture from the previous day, I knew that I was going to give the quiz as a take home assignment.  I had the student on Tuesday tell me that he was going to miss class, then I also had a student e-mail me and say that something came up and he wanted to know if we were taking the quiz first because he was going to try to come for the quiz, and then another student told me that she was going to have to leave early to attend to a family member.  Now, I could just say, la di da, so is life, but one of the goals that I am working on as an educator is being more accepting and helpful towards my students.
And I think that one way that I can do that is with the clothes that I wear, but I also need to complete that cycle with my words and actions.  I mean, this semester alone, I was looking at potentially missing 3 instructional days of class, myself.  (One for regional bartender championship flair contest and two for a family vacation.)  I think in light of all that, I can bend my policies a little sometimes.

Not to mention that I have been trying to get to the Pictionary activity for at least two weeks and we kept running out of time.  Something had to give– and I chose the in-class quiz.  The Pictionary activity is one that I whole heartedly champion.  It is such a simple activity– it requires minimal set-up and about 20 minutes of class time (depending on the number of students).  But, what it yields in return is almost immeasurable!

  1. The students are broken up into two or three groups and asked to learn the names of each group member.  This allows them to being making those strangers into friends– and certainly helps them overcome beginning speech anxiety.
  2. Each person goes up in front of the entire classroom when it is their turn to draw, but because they are focused on playing a game and winning points for their team, they forget all about their nervousness and that everyone is “staring” at them.
  3. It allows them to see that I have a fun side and that I don’t want everything to be serious, serious, serious all the time.

So, after we finished up the lecture over supporting materials and evaluating resources, we played Pictionary, and then I started the lecture over outlining.  We didn’t get very far, but that’s okay because it ties in nicely with the chapter that we will be discussing on Tuesday.  Before, I would get all out of sorts if we didn’t get through the material on the day that I had planned, but now I am getting a little more comfortable and I try to remind myself that it is o.k.– we can just cover it the next class period.  There is no sense in rushing through the material or leaving gaps or holes in the information because the students are not going to understand it that way.  And then I acted surprised that we ran out of time and handed out the quiz and told them to do it for homework.

Here are a few shots of the outfit without the blazer. I always have to make sure that I have a layering or topper piece for my freezing cold office, but the classroom is usually a normal temperature and I don’t need the topper.
Overall, I felt good about the choices that I made: giving the quiz as a homework assignment and making time for Pictionary. Would you have done the same, or would you have chosen a different route? Please leave me a comment below, I love hearing your take on things.
-Carla

Clothing, False Perceptions, and Talking

Last night was not everything that I hoped it would be. It started out o.k., but ended on a slightly sour note. Let me explain.  I woke up feeling like a touch of the flu was coming on.  So, I made myself an Emergen-C cocktail (no booze!), and spent most of the day on the couch trying to get over that general feeling of lethargy.  I read the newest edition of Cosmopolitan, caught up on an episode of Rookie Blue, and petted my adorable orange cat, Cosmo.

Eventually, it was time to shower and get ready for school.  After I showered I did take a few minutes to compose some outfits for the coming week– expect lots of Fall-ish colors.  Then, I got ready for class, packed my lunch, and took my outfit photo’s for the day before I headed off to campus.

Once on campus, I went into the adjunct faculty room where I hold my “office hours.”  The problem with this is that this room is absolutely freezing.  Not exactly what I needed when I wasn’t already feeling too hot.  I made a quiz for next week and reviewed my notes for the evening and then I decided that it was just too uncomfortable in there.  I took my lunch bag and ate my dinner outside.  It was much more comfortable out there.  After a while I packed up all my stuff and headed down to my classroom.  There was a class in there before me, so I didn’t get the chance to go in and set up as much as I would have liked.

In the ten minutes before class began, a few of my students were already in the room.  I usually announce to them that “we are having a quiz, and even though class hasn’t started now is a great time to ask any questions that you may have about the quiz, the syllabus, or class in general.”  But, they usually never ask any questions.  They don’t even usually talk to each other.  It’s very quiet and awkward at times.  One student, whom I will call, Eric asked me “if I like quiet before class began?”  I shook my head “no.  I don’t care if you talk.  It’s a public speaking class.”  And still, no one talked.

Once class actually began, I again announced that if anyone had any questions about last week’s material that I would be happy to answer them before the quiz.

No one talked.

Eric asked a general question, “Are we doing well on the quizzes as a group?”  It was a good question.  To which I responded, “Some people do very well, 9’s and 10’s.  Some people do not: 3’s and 4’s.  But, everyone seems to be consistent with themselves.  The students getting 5’s and 6’s get the same score nearly every time.”  I went on to explain to the students that the quizzes are not meant to be a torture device, but a way to measure whether they are grasping the material, or not.  And they can use them as a barometer.  If they are not getting the scores that they want they need to ask themselves, why not?

Are they reading the chapters, carefully?  Are they coming to class and taking good notes?  Are they asking for clarification on terms and concepts that they may not understand?  Are they reviewing the material and studying for the quiz?  Are they focusing on the right material from the chapter– can they identify the most important material or do they focus on the lesser important content?  And lastly, is there something that they need me to do differently?

No one talked.

And then I handed out their quiz.  After I collected the quiz I lectured over chapter 3: finding resource material.  After chapter 3, I started on chapter 4: identifying and evaluating supporting material but we didn’t get to finish the chapter.  We got about 3/4 of the way through.  I always seem to be running out of time in the class.  Truth be told, I would like to forgo the quizzes because they take up valuable class time!  There is so much more that I would like to give to them in the classroom, rather than taking time away for quizzes.  Perhaps I will make their next quiz a “take-home” quiz.

Back to my story.  After class was over, one of my students informed me that he would have to miss Thursday’s class due to a family matter.  He asked if he could take the quiz early.  I explained to him that there is no make-up work, that you have to take the quiz at the time that it is given.  He made some good points, that he wanted to put himself at a disadvantage and take the quiz early, not late.  He also stated that he didn’t think that he should be punished for having to miss class for a family issue.

I tried to explain to him that regardless of whether he wanted to take the quiz early or late it would be at a different time than the rest of the group, and I would have to make that an option for all students and it just gets too difficult to do that and be fair.  I also tried to explain to him that it’s not meant to punish him, that it isn’t a policy that is just for him, but that it is for everyone.  And, I can not play judge and jury on whether one student has to miss class for a good reason or someone else has to miss class for a bad reason.  So, we have the blanket policy that will cover all events.  But, I do appreciate that he genuinely cares about his grade and having to miss class.  But, I think that he is putting too much emphasis on one 10 point quiz, when there are over 1,000 points for the whole course.  One missed quiz will not cause him to fail the class.

He kept going on, even trying to jokingly offer me money, and he finally gave up.  At that point, Eric said to me, “I want to talk, but I feel like you will be mad at me.  You seem very strict.”

I assured him that I would not be mad at him, that I want the students to talk and participate.  I also added that I am strict, but I am also a pretty easy-going person.  To which the other student replied, “So you should let me take the quiz!”

“I said I was easy-going, I didn’t say that I was a push over.”  And then we had to part ways.

This whole exchange makes me feel a little deflated.  First of all, I want my students to take me and the class seriously– I want them to put in the time and effort that this class requires and not try to cut corners.  The quizzes are designed to make sure that they are reading the material and coming to class prepared.  And, if they don’t there is the consequence of doing poorly on the quiz.  But, I do want them to feel comfortable talking and answering questions and letting their personalities come through.  I have to find more ways to engage them in the classroom.

I always just feel this pressure to stand up in the classroom and lecture over the material using Powerpoint.  I do hope that playing Pictionary with them on Thursday will help break the stigma.  I have been wanting to incorporate this for a few classes now, but we keep running out of time.  Pictionary is one way that I help them meet and interact with some of their classmates, and a way that I get them up to the front of the room without focusing on being up there in front of everyone.  It is a very helpful tool in beginning to eliminate speech anxiety.

I also feel that I can help achieve this goal with my clothing choices.  Maybe instead of focusing on being professional and all business-like, I need to focus a little more on outfits that make me seem more accessible.  For me, I think that translates into wearing pants and flats.  And, adding in accessories with more personality.  I think that if I start to show them more of my personality they will start to show me more of their personality.  At least it’s worth a try, right?

Sorry for the long story, but that comes from the writer in me!  But, without further ado, here is the outfit that I wore last night:

Black and grey dress: J.C. Penney. Black belt: borrowed from blazer. Pandora bracelet and charms: gifts. Silver watch: Fossil. Black tights: Target. Black booties: Dillard’s. Black blazer: not shown here (thrifted.)

This is the big blog debut of my booties!  I purchased them about a month ago, and after breaking them in by wearing them around the house, I wore them to a meeting on campus.  The first time that I wore them, it was only for a few hours but my feet were very sore.  I was very upset.  These booties are by Antonio Melani and cost $100.  This is the most that I have ever spent on a pair of shoes, but I was looking at them as an investment piece.  They are made from leather– which is a big plus in my book.  After wearing them to teach in last night, I have to say that they were more comfortable than the first time that I wore them, but I am still not convinced that they were worth the major investment.  Only time will tell, I guess.

I wasn’t as comfortable in this outfit as I would have liked to be.  First, without some sort of cinching around the middle, this dress is waaaaay too 70’s mod/ maternity looking.  I thought that just the blazer would be enough, but I was a little too warm in it, so I knew that at one point I would want to take it off.  I took the fabric belt from the blazer and tied it around my waist so that the dress would look o.k. with or without the blazer.  The other reason why I was a little uncomfortable was because of the length of the dress.  It is longer than fingertips, but it still feels so short!  Even paired with the dark tights I felt like I was showing a lot of leg.  And it just made me feel a little self-conscious. I think that this dress is better with an opaque tight or even leggings.

What do you think? Are there outfits that are “appropriate” by all the standards and rules, but just leave you feeling uncomfortable? Do you have better days when you feel completely comfortable in what you are wearing? Maybe it was because of the impending sickness, the outfit, or a combination of the two that came across to my student that I would be mad if he talked. Whatever the reason for that perception, I want to figure it out and change it, fast!
-Carla

Friday 2: Keeping Polished

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but so far I think that I am doing pretty good at not slacking off on outfits for Friday.  I have been really trying to plan outfits ahead of time to help combat ending up with outfits that don’t make me feel great.  And, even though it’s only week 2, it’s working.  Now let’s just see if I can keep it up!

My Friday class is going well (so far) and that makes me happy.  Spring semester I had a lot of difficulty with my Friday class.  Since it only meets once a week we have to cover a week’s worth of material in a little over 2 hours.  That means 2 or 3 chapters.  Because it is a Friday morning class it is very easy for the students to walk out the doors and forget all about school.  I mean, it’s the kick-off the the weekend!  There’s all sorts of weekend diversions, and then by the time Monday rolls around it’s time to get back to work.  Whether that is a job, or just school.  And we all know how that goes– it takes us a day or two to get in the swing of things and by then it is Wednesday and we’re thinking about the weekend again.  Oh yeah, and that little thing called class.  This sort of thinking happens to me sometimes, too.

Black t-shirt: Old Navy. Bronze hoop earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Nude pumps: Target.

Even though it is the end of week 2, I still had a handful of students who were frantically trying to track me down between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon for my signature to allow them to enter my courses.  Some of them understand more than others that they are facing an uphill battle.  One of the things that my college really tries to stress is student success.  If it is going to mean that the student is not going to be successful because they joined the class later in the semester then we are encouraged to say “No.”  However, the students don’t always understand why you won’t just sign their paper.

So, I have adopted a policy.  Before signing their paper to allow them to enter the course, I sit down with them and take 5-10 minutes to give them some background about the course.  I give them a copy of the syllabus and explain to them how much material that they have missed.  Then, I tell them to think about their options and to show up for the next scheduled class.  If they show up with the homework in hand, I know that they are serious.  If they don’t, or they have all sorts of excuses about why they couldn’t get it done, then I don’t sign the paper.  But, the buck doesn’t stop with me.  Even if I sign, my department chair OR dean can still veto the addition.  It’s a good system that really does keep in mind the ability for the student to succeed–even if it does cause some distress for some students who are told “No.”

I was very comfortable in this outfit. It seems very simple and basic, but it is the small details that make it interesting. For example, the d-ring “belts” on the skirt and the fact that I am wearing nude fishnet hosiery. I’m pushing the envelope but not too much. I hate to admit it, but this outfit idea also came from Pinterest. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it makes me feel kind of fraudulent that these idea’s are coming from somewhere/someone else.

What do you think?  How would you have worn this outfit?  Would you have added more bling to dress it up a little, or do you go for the minimalist look?

-Carla