#shutupandduckface

I miss your face.

Last year a wrote a post about selfies and about how I consider myself to be hot.  That post turned itself in to this one.  Which takes you to the #shutupandduckface challenge.  I, Anne Schwartz, challenge you, insert name here, to take a picture of yourself everyday for the month of March.  Here’s a little bit of what I wrote last year (if clicking the link as just too damn hard):

For the next month I will be taking selfies and posting them on the internet. I’m using Instagram and the hashtag #shutupandduckface.  You need an instagram account to do this.  I am 90% sure to have instagram you need a smartphone or tablet.  Just download the app and get on it.  If you just want to do this on the twitters I’m into that, too.

There are no rules.  A selfie is what you make it.  Really love your shoes today?  Take that.  Mastered eyeliner?  I wanna see. Ran three miles and are a sweaty mess?  Rock that shit. I’m impressed.

Here is my first entry to soon be on instagram.  I call it, “What Saturday looks like or I haven’t showered since Thursday.”

So this year’s could be called, “What Sunday looks  like or I haven’t showered since Friday.” *

Photo on 3-1-15 at 10.35 AM #2

Personal Stuffs: Blah.  I wrote the last one of these on Thursday so not much has changed.  There is a lot of rain right now.

Classroom Stuffs: I am behind on grading (again)  whoops.

Personal Change: I’ve been balancing work life better.  Oh! And I’m going to the DR in March!

Classroom Change: Excited about the freshman doing a probability unit.  I let them make a list from 1-20 of things and each day we roll the die and whatever it lands on we do. :)

Reading: I am (still) listening to the Mistborn series still.  I (still) like it.

Watching: ummm…. Old episodes of Crossing Jordan.

Your assigned reading: Guys, net neutrality is importante.

*I am really bad at showering.

Appreciation.

I appreciate my students, who make me feel like I am doing something good.

I appreciate my colleagues, who are the best team of people I have ever worked with.

I appreciate this place I live and the things I have.  My life is really fantastic.

I appreciate you for allowing me this space.

Personal Stuffs: I am super late with this because this week has been rough.  Oh hai, insane migraine of Wednesday.

Classroom Stuffs: I am behind on grading because this week has kicked my ass and I am too tired to say late.

Personal Change: Nothing?  That’s not good.  oops.

Classroom Change: Must finish game for model of game presentation and also get on top of grading.

Reading: I am listening to the Mistborn series still.  I still like it.

Watching: Who knows. Oh, I watched a movie called Love, Rosie.  It was real cute.

Your assigned reading: Just in case you need an emergency dance party. 

Strength.

I am reading a book right now called Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and one of the main character is a 16 year old girl.  In the book he describes her as strong and by all accounts she is.  She has survives on the streets, through beatings and hunger.  She is deemed useful in a time when most women like her would be dismissed or sold to a whore house.  When I was searching around online for reviews of the book I found a creeping pattern.  A pattern of reviews that denied her strength.  It was essentially what I am now referring to as the Sansa Stark problem.  She doesn’t act like a man, she isn’t always yelling or screaming, she doesn’t always fight back, she survives.  There is strength in that.  There is strength in fighting quietly.  There is strength in ways that are not overt.

Personal Stuffs: I walked like ten miles this weekend.  It’s not a lot but it’s something.  I am doing something.

Classroom Stuffs: I am so impressed with my students lately.  They are working so well. Also, we have three day week.

Personal Change: I went to the gym.  Well, I signed in.  So now I have a log in. That’s something.

Classroom Change: Just want to get on top of my stuff.

Reading: I am listening to the Mistborn series and I am really liking it.  My brother would tell you I like everything.

Watching: Caught up on Gotham and Blacklist.  So it was a bad tv weekend.

Your assigned reading: The story of a pregnant photo journalist.

Week 5. Not much.

Not much to report here.  :)

Personal Stuffs: I went out with friends twice this week and it was great.  I really like the people I work with.

Classroom Stuffs: This week has been really really good teaching-wise. I think I am making positive strides in my room.

Personal Change: I still haven’t been to gym.  Get it together, Schwartz. (Can I leave this from last week?)

Classroom Change:  I’ve felt really good about my classroom lately.  Don’t worry though, I’ll find something I need to do better some.

Reading: I listened to The Girl on The Train a Gone-Girl type thriller.  It was utterly addicting.  I saw the end coming sort of but also not really.  It was real good.

Watching: Just the normal stuff this week.  It was a busy week.  I am thinking of start Empire, does anyone watch?

Your assigned reading: A little bit of bell hook and Saved by the Bell for you.

Two of my favorites.

Two of my favorite former students turn 18 today.  Once they wrote a guest post for this blog.  Maybe they’ll do it again sometime?  Until then, I just want to say how stupid proud I am of you.  Except not just proud because that feels like not enough.  I am filled to bursting with joy at the people you are becoming and the fact that you still write, text, and call to tell me you are alive and well.  I miss your faces.

<3 <3 <3,  Ms. Schwartz

P.S. Enjoy the snow.  Throw some at someone for me. ;)

Week 4. Ingrid.

This series of texts happened this weekend:

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 8.21.28 PM

Ingrid is amazing but you can make yourself real sad listening to her.  The bff was listening to “The Chain” which is amazing and also sob-inducing.  Me, I’ve been singing “Be Okay” a slightly less sad but equally good song.  The chorus is simple:

I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay
I just want to be okay today

It’s an upbeat song, covering chunks of sadness.  There’s something about it that reads hopeful to me and that makes me feel better.

This post makes no sense.  Anyway, just so you know, I am actually okay and will continue to get better. :)

Personal Stuffs: Lots of apartment cleaning, cooking, and living like a grown person.

Classroom Stuffs: I missed a lot last week for sick and for PD but I got a lot out of the PD so that felt good.

Personal Change: I still haven’t been to gym.  Get it together, Schwartz.

Classroom Change:  At the PD last week the lady running it used the term “productive hurrying” I want to get better at that this week.

Reading: I just finished Bad Feminist and GOD I loved it.  I love Roxane Gay.  I think we should be friends.  Maybe I’ll go visit Nicky and creep on her.

Watching: I watched Broadchurch this weekend and well holy eff. You must watch.

Your assigned reading: This is one week of harassment on twitter.  ONE WEEK.

Week 3. On Sadness.

Trigger Warning: depression and that such.

My sadness is a thing that is separate from me.  It lives in a different apartment, sometimes in a different city or state or even country.  It often stays there, weeks, months, even years at a time, living it’s own life and not progressing towards mine.  In my early twenties it was my constant companion, my sadness and I slept, ate, and lived in the same space.  It was, and probably always will be one of the hardest times in my life.

In the last year or so my sadness has come back to town and while it doesn’t live with me quite yet it has gotten disturbingly close.  I would not be surprised to find out it lives just next door.  One of the most interesting things about being an adult for me has been the ability to really understand my sadness and to see it coming.  One of the most annoying things about being an adult is knowing I have to deal with it.  So I am. I am doing tangible life things to remind the sadness that it is not invited to my life. That it is not welcome here.

This is all to leads to a couple things.  First, we are all different and handle things differently but for me the sadness is not something to be ashamed of or to hide from.  The sadness is, a real thing for me.  If it is for you I hope knowing you are not alone helps.  Second, I did the grown up thing and I went to talk to someone.  It was the worst therapy of all time.  I got talked at for 45 minutes about something I don’t do, I got drugs pushed on me 3 times, and I was given a bipolar handbook to, “track my moods.”  (Just fyi, I am not bipolar, I have a host of things but this is not one of them.)  Basically, I paid to be harassed.  But I will try again because I understand the importance of good therapy and it is a piece of scaring away the sadness. But seriously, eff that lady.

Personal Stuffs: Mostly, as above, also I am super sick and working on fighting that.

Classroom Stuffs: I really like the way my text is introducing quadratics.  I think it’s interesting and relatable.

Personal Change: I joined the gym this morning.  As one does when they can’t breathe through their nose.

Classroom Change:  Students are having troubling staying with the seating charts.  I’m thinking about why that is and how to help them.

Reading: Still Zadie.  Also I am listening to Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.   As soon as I get a physical copy I will be quoting the hell out of it.  I loves it.

Watching: I watched most of An Honourable Woman this weekend.  I am in love with Maggie Gyllenhal and the plot is fascinating.

Your assigned reading (actually lsitening): The new Kayne, Rihanna, Paul McCartney Song.

Week 2. I didn’t forget.

Umm… so I didn’t so much forget as had today off.  That makes today technically Sunday, right?  I’m pretty sure that’s how days of the week wrong. Also, I’m the center of the universe.

Personal Stuffs: This was boring week in terms of personal stuff, lots of work.  I did have dinner with my family though and was reminded that they really really don’t get feminism.

Classroom Stuffs: I taught my tenth graders badly all week.  This unit is kicking my ass.  I am hoping this week (test on previous unit, start new) will give me a fresh start.

Personal Change: I got a disco ball, does that count? Also, I bought myself flowers and cleaned my apartment so I am feeling ready for the week. (Can we have 3 day weekends all the time?)

Classroom Change:  New units in both 9 and 10, I want to start them both with a reflection circle on how they felt about this unit and what we as a class need to change.

Reading: Okay, so I never started Orleans and I am avoiding My Brilliant Best Friend and instead I stole Zadie Smith’s On Beauty which picked up from a friend’s classroom.  I am really enjoying reading a physical book.

Watching: Gotham, I watched the first two a while back and wasn’t hooked but my brother convinced me to try again and I love the duo of Donal Logue and Ryan from the OC.

Your assigned reading: Hermione and the Goddamn Patriarchy.   Favorite Quote: “Yes all witches. All witches have had to put up with comments like that, and worse.”

Also, Happy MLK Jr Day.  May we reach a point in which all voices are heard and all people are equal.

Week 1. Commitment.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I have trouble with commitment.  I am in fact so obstinate that the idea of claiming I am going to do something every week immediately makes me want to not do it.  I mean really, Anne, who would you be hurting now if you quit?  Just you. I am ridiculous.

Anyway, here I go.  I am going to try to take a little time each Sunday and reflect on my week.  We’ll see what happens.

Personal Stuffs: This week I turned 29.  Yep, that happened.  It was not my favorite birthday but looking forward I am seeing only good things and opportunities this year.

Classroom Stuffs: My classroom is shifting.  The group I had the most trouble with at the beginning of the year is a cohesive unit who speak openly about the learning they do and how they do. My class that I was most impressed with at the beginning of the year seems to be shifting away from that.

Personal Change: This weekend I made my lunches ahead of time and I am hoping to get my act together and join a gym with a good friend of mine.

Classroom Change:  I am going to spend this week really focusing on fostering conversation and in order to that I am going to have to structure a lot more.

Reading: I am trying to get into My Brilliant Friend.  It was recommended by a couple people but I just can’t get into it.  I am thinking of reading Orleans cause I love me some YA and I bought it after the voices of color YA panel at Comic Con.

Watching: I am binge watching Medium.  It is bad and I love it.

Your assigned reading: How to fall in love with anyone. It’s beautiful, short, and I am seriously considering trying it.

miss you, love you, see you next week. (hopefully)

On Agency and Dress Codes

(This is going to be a post where a lot of you disagree with me.)

I am the dress code enforcer.  I spent three years at my last school making sure that sweaters always covered butts, that shorts had inseams, and that boobs were fully contained. Anyone who knows me knows I love clothes.  I love fancy skirts and high rise jeans and shoes of all types.  I love new fashions and the return of old.  So, while I listen to other teachers say, “I just don’t notice dress code,”  I, instead, notice all the clothes, see the infraction, and spend the rest of the period thinking, “dress code, dress code, dress code.”

So, for three years, I said something, each and every time. It almost always started with, “I need you to go change.” It almost always resulted in an argument.  Nine of ten times the student was convinced that their outfit was fine, that their shorts were cute, that their sweater absolutely 100% covered their butt, and that I was doing this to be a jerk.  I wasn’t though.  I was doing it because in my head I thought I need to teach them how to dress appropriately. ::vomit::

I’m going to digress for a moment and I hope you will stay with me.  About a month ago I was having a conversation with my brother and a friend of his and it wound around as long conversations tend to do and got to the topic of body hair.  Both my brother and his friend immediately said that they would happy change any of that for a partner, whereas I was a firm no.  I wasn’t sure why but I was pretty sure I wasn’t willing to do that.  The conversation continued to dating where brother’s friend say he would never date anyone who was pro-life.  He said it was just against what he believed and that was where it hit me.  I wouldn’t change my body hair.  I wouldn’t date anyone who was pro-life.  I wouldn’t give away any of my hard earned agency(1) over my body.

Women and girls spend years being told what their bodies should look like.  What their hair should do.  What their feet, boobs, eyes, lips, teeth should look like.  How much of them they should show, how much of them they should hide. And those messages don’t agree with each other.  At school boobs covered.  On a date boobs out.  Smile and greet people sometimes, other times you should put your head down and avoid eye contact.

It has taken me 28 years to really feel some sense of agency over my body and what I do with it.  So as of today I am no longer enforcing dress code. I am no longer telling teenage girls what to do with their bodies.  I am happy to sit down with them and talk about media influence and why people believe we need dress codes but I am not their mothers, sisters, or aunts. I am not them.  I would really like to provide opportunities for my students to come to this on their own. I certainly refuse to impede it.

(1) definition of agency: a means of exerting power or influence; instrumentality.