Monday, January 12, 2015

Don't Let Your Birkenstocks Get Moldy

So I'm sure you've seen those cable versus satellite commercials-- yeah, those ones with the crazy trains of logic.  Here's one about lowland Gorillas...

Despite the crazy logic, there is sense in this, and I've had my own epiphany this school year.

If you haven't noticed (or maybe you have), there has been quite a lag in the number of blog posts I've written since this summer.  My teaching schedule is a tough one. I teach in 2 buildings, 3 different preps in 3 different classrooms.  Every time a bell rings, I must move to somewhere else because another teacher's class is coming in to the room. I embody my "Go! Go! Go!" mantra. I can barely keep things straight and I am only able to do 1/10th of what I normally do: Brody stays home, desks remain in 5 rows facing front, classrooms are not decorated with student work, blog posts are unwritten. But aside from what I'm not able to do, I've realized that I've forgotten tricks that I learned in my first few years of teaching when I last travelled. I became comfortable and complacent having my own classroom space for 10+ years of the 16 years of my career-- sure, I shared rooms with other teachers during that time, but it was still "my room" that the other teacher was entering. Now, I'm a stranger in a strangeland, and I'm having so much trouble teaching in spaces that are not "mine".   Despite the craziness of the schedule, it has forced me to me out & about more, connecting to colleagues I haven't seen often.

So, what does all of this have to do with moldy Birkenstocks?

Well, I digging in my closet the other day looking for shoes and I came across my much worn, beloved Birkenstocks that I haven't worn in far too long. The miles I've walked in those shoes... only to be buried in the closet, and, to my shock and horror, the cork footbed had a layer of dusty green-grey mold. How could I have neglected the Birkenstocks that walked me to where I am today?

My Birkenstocks are a symbol, reminding me to not forget to be ingenious, free spirited, and well-travelled.

So in the spirit of Direct TV's logical advertising campaign...

When you occupy a classroom too long you get comfortable.
When you get comfortable, you forget the things you learned.
When you forget the things you learned, you stop wearing traveling shoes.
When you stop wearing traveling shoes, they get moldy. 
Don't let your Birkenstocks get moldy.
Get out of your classrooms and keep learning.


  1. OMG, I love your Direct TV ad...this whole post made me smile.

  2. Love this! Maybe that is my problem. My birkenstocks are getting moldy.

  3. Excellent post my friend. I've never had the experience of having my "own room" and wonder what it would be like. I really do like moving around the campus and do appreciate when they schedule my course in some far corner of the campus that I rarely visit. New views and new people lead to more ideas and friendships.

  4. I have been in the same classroom for 18 years now. With our new building construction, and the loss of 30 classrooms next year, maybe I should volunteer to give my room up to a younger teacher and move. Move to keep my birkenstocks from getting moldy.

  5. Love it.

    I learned so much from sharing a room as a brand new teacher, and sometimes I miss that level of familiarity I had with my roommate. She would help me when I got stuck (which was often) and show me what she did with the same curriculum in a way that wasn't threatening.

    Almost like co-teaching. Almost like #bettertogether.

    Glad you're finding some meaning amidst the chaos. And here's hoping next year sees you moving less so you can do everything else more.