What I’m Loving

This $5 stick-on pen loop: pretty much the best invention ever if you have a planner/notebook/bullet journal you carry around with you and enjoy having something to write with, too.

In that vein, the Plum Paper large teacher planner: so much heftier than the dinky little Lakeshore ones, but so much more durable and satisfying! I’m getting ready to order mine for next school year (already) and am nearly drooling with anticipation. Yes, really.

These yoga balls: the 55cm size is perfect for most of my fifth graders to use instead of a chair in class. I’ll post about this more later, but in the meantime, check out the balls. They have lasted me all year so far without popping or deflating!

Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 running shoes and this website that tells me what else I should try. I have both the 10’s and 11’s in my rotation right now, and though there are 12’s out now too, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to expand my running shoe repertoire. (I’m also thinking about trail shoes, after running Mt. Diablo 10k yesterday. Thoughts on these or other suggestions I should look into?)


(my first) Friday faves

Since this blog a) never gets updated and b) is still confused about whether it’s a teaching, running, or “help my room is a mess” blog, I figured it had nothing to lose by trying a Friday favorites post. So, without further ado, here we go.

  • Lululemon “Run Times” short. They’re like the Speed shorts, so my hips/butt/quads still fit the way I like, but a little longer (read: more appropriate for kids to see me in!). Heyyyy, fifth grade run club in California.
  • Raqpak microfiber towel. It’s like a chamois for my body. (Fun fact: I didn’t know how to pronounce that word until I was 15.) Seriously though, it’s super absorbent which makes it great for post-swim-practice-or-OTF showers, the microfiber means my hair doesn’t get as frizzy when it air dries, and the towel itself dries really quickly so I don’t worry about my car getting all musty and stinky while I leave it in there all day. Tip: don’t get the smallest size.
  • !T Cosmetics “Je Ne Sais Quoi” lipstick. It’s a clear lipstick that turns the perfect everyday, teacher-friendly, I-just-want-to-look-alive-but-not-like-I-tried shade of pink when you put it on. It’s not sticky and it doesn’t dry my lips out. Sold.
  • A shirt I got during an 8-minute trip to TJ Maxx with my boyfriend the other day. I needed something more heat-friendly (105F) to wear while assisting on a photo shoot. I ended up with a gray tank that says “Running Stinks.” I will post a photo when I get to it, which is probably never. Oh, and I ended up wearing a dress for the shoot. Oh well.
  • On the running note, I promise it doesn’t really stink because I got selected to be a Walnut Creek Half Marathon ambassador! I get to spread the word about a super fun little race, go on group training runs, and give people discount codes along the way. I love this kind of stuff. #WCHM
  • The free “Envelopes” app. I’m trying to budget (like, actually) so that I can buy a house next summer and pay for a Master’s degree without any student loans. This is a really easy way to track what I spend, and it’s already made me much more aware of spending habits I didn’t realize I had. It’s kind of like the MyFitnessPal of budgeting, and I like that I have to put in info myself rather than it just pulling from my accounts.
  • Sleep.

when passion meets purpose

You know, I’ve started realizing something lately. Tasks feel less like items on a to-do list and more like normal parts of your day when you enjoy them. “Duh, Jacqueline!” Well, like I told a student today… sometimes you have to do things you don’t really like in order to be successful. Or, as my old roommate’s boyfriend always said, “Do the sh*t you gotta do, to do the sh*t you wanna do.”

Case in point (well, two, actually)–

1. Fitness.

The other day I was reading Run, Eat, Repeat (highly recommend, that redheaded runner is hilarious and super relatable!) and she mentioned how she legitimately loves running. She went on to say how, in order to get into the habit of exercising, you need to find something you enjoy. I knew this already on a factual level, but something about hearing (well, reading) someone straight-up say “I LOVE TO RUN” struck a chord with me. Do I love my workout routine? Apparently not, since it’s so hard to stick to. (Re-reading this, I am internally groaning. What routine?)

Another comment that has stuck with me for years is from a former coworker. He’s a much more experienced runner than I am (like, competed-in-the-Olympic-trials more experienced) and I asked for advice: how do you go from hundreds of five- to eleven-year-olds all day, through Bay Area traffic, to go home and pound out 3-10 miles every day? His answer was striking in its simplicity: “It’s the highlight of my day.”

I’ve been making changes to make exercising more enjoyable for me, and therefore it happens more often! For example, I joined OrangeTheory in August and have gone at least 4 times a month since then. Without fail. And it’s SO FUN! Same with the casual running club I joined– well, actually it’s so casual you don’t even have to join. You just show up on Tuesdays and wear neon and get your butt kicked by the hills of the East Bay. But this run club makes me want to challenge myself in my running. (Two side notes that apply to both OTF and the run club– one, sweating and panting is a lot easier when someone else is telling you what to do every few minutes, and two, having a workout accountability buddy helps a lot. But that’s another topic for another day.)

Long story short: When you enjoy exercising, you will look forward to it, and therefore actually do it. Do the sh*t you gotta do to do the sh*t you wanna do.

2. Teaching.

I love being a teacher. I love having my own classroom, and the huge responsibility of 31 children’s education for a year, and getting to know them and their quirks and their friends and families, and getting involved in the school community, and all that. I hate lesson planning. I get discouraged pretty quickly when things don’t come easily to me, and often, that includes the organization and forethought required of lesson planning. I’d much rather improvise a day full of lessons, but then I wouldn’t be doing my job as well as I could or be honoring the direction of my supervisors, so… I lesson plan.

How does this relate to passion and purpose and all the fitness stuff above? I have a decently long commute home from work each day (after I tutor). When I get home, I want to eat dinner, watch an episode of House or OITNB on Netflix, and go to bed. I always have intentions of preparing reading and writing lessons when I get home! I’m also super afraid of burning out, so that’s worth taking into consideration, but I am willing to admit that all the “stuff” I drag back and forth from work to my car and home and back again could really just stay at work and be used just as much.

But today, I started preparing the first lesson of our new reading unit while my students were taking the pre-assessment. I got excited about the curriculum and what we would be discussing tomorrow. And when I got home after tutoring, I grabbed some dinner and went to my room and typed up a full-on lesson plan. You guys, this is huge. This almost never happens unless I am going to be observed. But my excitement and optimism about the unit made me want to get it ready even though I’m tired. I want it to be awesome tomorrow.

And that’s what inspired this whole post. Yes, you gotta do the sh*t you gotta do to do the sh*t you wanna do. But more than that, when passion meets purpose, amazing things can happen. And it’s way more fun! If you’re feeling “blah” about stuff like I tend to do, change something. 

Gonna go pack my gym bag and work purse now. Whoa. 🙂 

Sunday jumble of thoughts

sunday-evening-reminder-quote(source: Google Images)

  • How do teachers actually keep their classrooms organized? Furniture, art supplies, curriculum, papers I’m afraid to throw away because I might need them for reference next year, student work, copies (like I ever make them ahead of time, ha!)… the list goes on. It’s my third year teaching but still feels like my first when it comes to keeping the room neat!
  • Are Tieks really worth $175?
  • How can I make Chinese food healthy? Because I’m working out at 5am tomorrow (what up, OrangeTheory) but really want some orange chicken and chow mein.
  • If I want to paint my bedroom gray, is it better to err on the side of “too pink” or “too blue” or “too white” or…?

Today I went into my classroom after 8 gloooorious days off (spring break!) and tried to get some work done. Even though I was there for five hours, I feel like I barely accomplished anything! Frustrating. As one of my “mental breaks” from sorting through old papers, I flipped to the back of my planner and made a “goals” section. It was really encouraging to get some of the ideas that have been floating around in my mind down on paper! And pretty pen colors never hurt, either. This blog is one of the “goals” I wrote down, so hopefully I’ll get the chance to do a little thinking and a little writing this week, and make this more of a habit.

Any cleaning tips? I could really use them!

“what motivates you?”

A few weeks ago (yes… weeks) my friend asked me this question amidst my complaining that another half marathon was coming up and I had to failed to properly train for it, AGAIN. “What motivates you?” finally popped up on my phone after the three blinking dots disappeared. “Uhh…” I replied, “Let me think.”

An hour later I was still thinking. It bothered me that I couldn’t come up with a straightforward response, like kids sometimes can. “What makes you want to do well?” “Dad gives me $20 for each A on my report card,” “Mom takes me shopping if I get a good grade,” “I get extra dessert if I try hard in PE,” “I get to play video games or iPad time this weekend if I do all my homework on time during the week,” whatever. It’s simple. And beautiful in its simplicity. A goal and method, wrapped up in an if-then statement of understanding.

But three weeks– or maybe more, I’ve lost track at this point– that question is still bothering me. What motivates me? Sure, I want to run fast and look hot and be successful in all areas of my life. But that sounds really superficial, and the more I think about it, isn’t the end goal– it’s just indicative of progress, the side effects of the work it takes to achieve the goal.

So what motivates me? Back in college we learned about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation– a feeling of satisfaction vs. a reward, basically. In grad school I kept a tally of miles I ran on the treadmill, every mile translating to a dollar, until I allowed myself to buy a waterbottle I wanted with the university logo on it. Those were a great sixteen miles, but once they were done, they were done.

What motivates me? Maybe motivation depends on the goal. After all, it would’t make sense for my motivation to be a good teacher to be the same motivation I have for wanting to complete a half marathon without walking. Other than, you know, success. But that’s so broad, and a different topic in and of itself.

Guess I still have to think about this one…


Wowza. This summer was such a whirlwind that now I’m starting blog posts with words I don’t even usually use. Camp was… an experience. I went into it with expectations of last summer’s camp, which was probably a little ridiculous, considering almost everything was different this year: the location, director and staff, my living situation, my relationship status, my (school year) job status, my spiritual maturity… a lot of things you wouldn’t think make a big difference in a job, but apparently they do. Or I’m just more holistic than I realized. Ha. Desspite all the changes, I can look back at camp this year and say it was fun and that I truly enjoyed the people I worked with. However, I don’t think anything can compare to last year, my first year at camp during a summer that was so full of changes that I had no choice but to lean heavily on my camp coworkers that quickly became friends and practically family. Camp this year felt more just like… a job. I showed up, did my work, left once everyone was done (per site expectations). I had vertigo for most of the summer. I was dizzy, dehydrated, and discouraged. It took until week 6 for me to feel like things “clicked” and I was able to truly have fun with the campers during rotations. It was, in a word, tough. 

So this is my note to myself… next year, when spring 2015 rolls around and I begin getting re-recruitment paraphernalia from CG… say no. Say it gracefully, humbly, thankfully, but firmly. Next summer, I need to take time for myself. Don’t go from a tough year of teaching, to an exhausting 6-8 weeks of camp (no matter the role), into another tough year of teaching– because let’s be real, every year of teaching is a tough year. It should be. I love my “real job” and I throw my whole self into it. I need to, then, give myself a break from it that I did not give myself this year, and I’m feeling the repercussions of that now. Next year, I need to unwind in June and have time to wind back up in August. To set up a classroom or refresh my current one, to reflect on lessons and policies, to revise lessons and ideas. To attend workshops, trainings, professional development seminars, meetings, and additional educational opportunities. (I do want a Master’s in education someday. Plus, units = money in the meantime. Thanks, pay scale!) Maybe I’ll give teaching summer school a try. And I want to travel with the money I’ll be saving this year by continuing to live at home.

I want to be me.