Sincerely, Stasia

Living and learning on a teacher's salary.

Student Quote of the Day 12.13.12 December 13, 2012

Filed under: Student Quotes,Teaching — sincerelystasia @ 7:09 pm
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I was home sick yesterday with a nasty sinus infection, cold, and fever. Needless to say, with my luck lately, I was still sick as a dog when I got back to school today. My kids could see it the minute they looked at me because kids are incredibly observant of things you wish they wouldn’t notice. Well…

Student: Miss L., your voice is different.

Me: I know it’s a little weird, but I’m not feeling well.

Student: Are you going through puberty?

Me: No. Definitely not.

::half an hour later::

Same Student: Miss L., seriously, your voice is really deep today and it’s cracking and changing. Are you sure you’re not going through puberty?

Me: Sweetie, I’m 32. And female. Thank you, but yes I’m sure.

Ah, the joys of working with children.

Sincerely, Stasia


My Personal Best December 11, 2012

Filed under: Life,Random Thoughts — sincerelystasia @ 8:30 pm
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This is your warning that there is a quasi-rant below. It is intended for your amusement at my expense.

Tonight, my friends, I am at my personal best. Evidence is listed below. I defy you to find a point when I’ve been a finer female specimen.

* I have not cleaned a single room or cooked/baked a single thing for the houseful of people I have coming over Saturday for the annual Christmas party. Still have several boxes of indoor decorations to put up and the outside has not been touched save for a snowman I put up on my door. I am in panic mode but cannot do anything about it because…

* I am an idiot and did not consider the fact that Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philly, where I’m having my back surgery next week, is a campus. Not a building. Since my back pain makes it difficult to stand for more than about a minute or so, I haven’t exactly exercised much lately. Therefore, walking from building to building down numerous city blocks and back for my battery of pre-admission tests and meetings yesterday did a hell of a number on my now completely and ridiculously sore thighs. And, I pulled my calf. Perfect. If you thought it was funny when I walked before, you should see me today. I should just crawl along the floor. It would look more normal.

* The dogs. Ugh, the dogs. Tonight’s game is a new one and I’m not amused. It goes something like this: Rio positions her face about 5 inches from Layla’s face, then growls and barks at her until Layla gets fed up enough to lunge at her. Rio humps the hell out of her, they roll around fighting on my lap until I break it up, and the whole debacle begins again from the start.

* Just to make things more interesting, the rest of my body hurts because I have a wicked cold and a fever. Both of these things had better kick it quickly due to the aforementioned party on Saturday, the research proposal I still have to finish but can’t think straight long enough to be able to work on, and the fact that my docs won’t even consider operating on me if I have so much as a hangnail.

* Current incredibly stylish outfit that perfectly compliments my bright red nose and red, swollen eyes: black hot-pink-lipstick-kiss-printed Victoria’s Secret flannel pajama pants, kelly green wife beater, ancient blue hooded Navy sweatshirt courtesy of my little brother from when he was in the service. No makeup. Ponytail. How’s that for an image? Needless to say my love, who is currently across the country on a business trip, and I will not be FaceTiming this evening.

At least the Christmas tree is on and it looks sparkly and pretty, if not a little bit blurry. Now, I hope you all feel better about yourselves and got a decent half chuckle out of my current pathetic state.

Sincerely, Stasia


That’s Not My Name March 6, 2012

Filed under: Random Thoughts — sincerelystasia @ 8:46 pm
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First, thank you to everyone who’s started following the blog. It’s very humbling. With that in mind, I apologize for being such a bum this week. I did manage to leave the house today, but it was not to go back and survey the destruction in my classroom. I’ll (hopefully) get to do that tomorrow. Clearly my cures for colds and fevers were not very effective. I must’ve forgotten a step. Hoping that the Z-Pak I got from my doctor gets better results than the Ramen, although I’m having it again tonight just in case. Also because when you can’t taste anything it doesn’t make sense to spend more than a couple quarters on dinner.

That’s literally about all the energy I have for today so, in lieu of a regular blog post, for no good reason at all enjoy the below video of Charlie Day singing “That’s Not My Name” by the Ting Tings in Horrible Bosses. I don’t know why someone made a 2 minute loop of an 18 second scene, but who am I to judge? Still, I love it almost as much as I love Charlie Day.

Sincerely, Stasia


My Foolproof Cure For Colds and Fevers March 5, 2012

Filed under: Life,Random Thoughts — sincerelystasia @ 4:42 pm
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As the proud owner of a sinus infection, I’m home from work again today (don’t even get me started on the stress of being out of my classroom on a Monday!) and cannot drag myself out of bed. Considering my head is so cloudy and full of pressure that I almost just fell down the stairs (graceful, as always), thinking is not a strong suit today. I’m currently being kept company by a fluffy down comforter, a super-snuggly Puggle, and a mason jar filled with chocolate (that I can’t taste anyway) from a baby shower I went to yesterday.

So, instead of treating you to a blog post filled with the kind of fever-inspired rambling you may or may not have just made it through in the first paragraph, I’m going to quickly give you my sure-fire cures for colds and fevers. And by sure-fire, I mean anything is possible. Still, give them a try if you’re under the weather. Note: They will not work at all unless you are wearing pajamas. All day.

1. Yogi Green Tea Energy with local honey. This can be found in my travel mug every morning. My brother introduced me to Yogi tea during a trip to Whole Foods and I was quickly addicted. And, each bag has a tag with a wise inspirational and/or spiritual quote. Whether it helps ward off illness, who knows. It’s irrelevant when you consider that my tea is clearly wiser than your tea. So there.

2. Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup OR Chicken Flavored Top Ramen. Let me answer a few questions here before we even start. Yes, I am an adult. Yes, I have seen the sodium content in both of these soups and am aware that dehydration is not exactly helpful when you’re sick. Yes, I’m aware that there are much healthier chicken soup options and, indeed, I prefer not to have any vegetables getting in the way of the noodles. This is what my mom always gave us when we were sick as kids. I will admit that I have been disappointed to receive homemade chicken noodle soup from a well-meaning family member. The magic healing powers in these two soups come from the understanding that they were always served with a kiss on the forehead from mom, which is all I really want when I have a cold or a fever. Call it the ‘comfort factor,’ but it works.

3. Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I have no explanation for how this works, except magic. That’s a good enough reason for me.

4. Puppies. They have a healing power all their own. They know when you’re sick. They know when you need a little extra TLC and they’re happy to oblige. My puppy, Layla, hasn’t left my side all day. Literally – She was part of the reason I almost fell down the stairs earlier. She’s an expert snuggler/heating pad and will be happier than any living creature could hope to be if you’ll stay in bed and cuddle with her all day. And really, who doesn’t need just a little extra love and attention when they’re sick?

Now that I’ve shared my top-secret cures, I’m going back to sleep because, as you know, there is no way I’m taking another sick day tomorrow. G’night.

Sincerely, Stasia


Stress-Free Sick Days February 29, 2012

Filed under: Organization,Teaching — sincerelystasia @ 8:17 pm
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I hate being sick. Who doesn’t? I especially hate being sick now as a teacher. When I worked in the private sector, a sick day just meant sending an email to my team assigning coverage, turning on the auto-reply and changing my voice mail message to let clients know I was out of the office. Oh, and a messy desk full of paperwork the next day along with my chair being set to the wrong height.

There was some stress where deadlines were involved, but taking a sick day as a teacher is stressful. There are so many things to worry about: How are my kids going to behave? Or, more accurately, ARE my kids going to behave? Who am I getting as a sub? Will my sub be able to, or bother trying to, follow the plans I left? Am I going to be a day behind in my schedule when I get back because I need to teach or reteach content that should have been taught in my absence? Doesn’t make for a very restful day off.

I’m an organized person, especially at work. I’ve been referred to as OCD, anal, and as the “Spreadsheet Queen.” I can admit that my organized nature does not carry over into all areas of my life, although I did create a spreadsheet with a tab for every month since January 2008 that lists every payment I’ve made on every bill (including dates and amounts paid, balances, and confirmation numbers). I’ll admit that goes a bit beyond “organized.” But enough about my now-apparent OCD. I find that being organized at work just makes my life easier. The amount of time it takes to become organized in my classroom is so greatly overshadowed by the amount of time and stress it saves me that it’s completely worth it.

Straight to the Point: When I know I’m going to be absent, I am as detailed as possible with what I’m leaving behind. If I don’t leave a solid plan, I can’t expect my substitute to magically make a great, on-task lesson appear out of thin air. The lesson plans I write for myself might be considered cryptic if you’re not familiar with the specific terminology we use in our classroom. When I write out my sub plans, I’m incredibly detailed and put all of the instruction directions in plain language.

What if you don’t plan on being out? I’d rather be up for 15 minutes at 5am sending an email with some typed up sub plans to a coworker than spend the entire next day trying to play catch-up!

The picture is from a few months ago when I was going to be out of school for two entire days. In a row. Ugh. If you think that’s bad, imagine what I left behind a few years ago when I had surgery and needed to be out for two weeks! To make things easy for my sub I label everything (from homework to notebooks to folders) with the class it belongs to and what it’s being used for. I find that when I leave clear instructions and clearly labeled work, the substitute feels obligated to follow suit and clearly labels the completed work in addition to leaving my room neat and organized. Score. If you think you might need a little extra ammo, do what I do. Leave a granola bar (also labeled with a “thank you” Post-It, because how could I not?) and a bottle of water. A little bribery can go a long way and, as far as I’m concerned, the outcome is worth the trouble if it means a stress-free day off.

Sincerely, Stasia


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