Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last Day of Classes!


Earlier Drafts: 
I debuted these boots on Tuesday, and I've worn this dress differently here and here.

faux turquoise beaded necklace (Kohl's)
brown and white print dress (Target)
long oatmeal cardigan (Target)
cognac faux-leather wide stretch belt (Charlotte Russe)
brown tights layered over gray tights (NY&Co)
cognac leather riding boots (Steve Madden, gifted)

Today's the last day of classes for me this semester!  This means I'm collecting final research papers from my students, attending my final grad class of the term, and heading to our end-of-semester graduate student potluck.

I wore this outfit on Tuesday, though, for the second to last day with my students.  I know it's not too innovative to wear my new cognac boots with a brown ensemble, but a long cardigan is a step into new territory for me.  I was a big fan of this look from S. at Narrowly Tailored, so when I saw these long cardigans on sale at Target for $15, I finally picked one up and promptly ripped off her styling techniques to put together my own outfit.  I liked how the long cardi gave the outfit a bit of a "wrapped in a blanket" type feeling, and though it's a lot of brown, I liked how the cognac belt and boots complemented the chocolate brown of the dress and the tights.  I put the turquoise necklace on to serve as a pop of color, but I'm not that thrilled with what it adds to the outfit.  I kind of think I should have just embraced the brown and worn some brown beads instead.

My students are expected to evaluate their participation at several points throughout the semester, so they submitted their last self-evaluations on Tuesday.  There is a space to add "comments," and normally, if they write anything at all, they use this space to explain why they don't talk much in class, to ask if coming to office hours counts as participation, etc.  Most of them leave it blank.  Yesterday, one of my quieter male students wrote "This class taught me a lot about writing," and one of my quieter female students wrote 2 or 3 sentences telling me she really appreciated my teaching style.  Neither of them has ever complained about a grade, or asked for extra credit, or done anything to suggest they might be fishing for favoritism, so their unexpected notes were nice to read.  During my office hours, the three students who'd scheduled appointments to talk about last minute questions for the final papers stopped in, and I was so pleased with how much work they're putting in.  I am genuinely looking forward to reading their papers after chatting with them briefly yesterday.

These interactions reminded me that while it's so easy to get frustrated by the handful of students who demand a lot of attention by sending unnecessary emails, complaining about grades, etc., it's important to keep in mind that those students don't speak for everyone.  Teaching this semester has been a constant struggle to try to re-learn some of the things I first learned as a high school teacher.  I remember now that oftentimes student silence is a sign that everything is going fine.  I generally aim for my courses to be ones in which students get out of them what they put in, so it is rewarding to hear that those students who are making the effort are learning.  I tend to begin to feel like my work is futile when one or two students want to pass the blame off on me for their underperformance.  Yesterday served as an important reminder:  If the students who wanted to learn from my class feel like they did, the class has been a success.

Since many of you teach in different capacities, I wanted to share this reminder with you as you gear up to grade final assignments or final exams.  Your students probably learned a lot more than you realize.  I think we can all remember a class we took in which our instructor would have had no idea how much we loved it or how much we learned from it.  I'm hoping I can keep that in mind as I grade their final papers and as I reflect back on my first semester with undergrads.


  • How do you wear long cardigans?  Please share links!
  • If you teach, what are some ways that you work toward keeping a healthy perspective on your success as an instructor?  Any other tips for keeping those critical students from getting to you?


Plummy said...

I LOVE this look! It is so soft and pretty, and I don't mind all the brown at all (I actually didn't even notice there was so much brown until you mentioned it!). Unfortunately I don't have a long cardigan, the closest I have is this black wrap from Chico's
but you can get the idea of what I do with mine!

I work in a school and it's hard, sometimes, to keep a healthy perspective. I also work extensively with a few special needs students, which makes it even harder to see progress sometimes. I try to see that the students are having fun--I work at a middle school, so it should still mostly be fun and shouldn't be too stressful. If the kids are having fun in their classes, even if they don't think they're learning anything, then I can be pretty sure I am doing alright.

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

I love how you mixed neutrals and added a pop of turquoise - my favorite "popping" color!

Since I'm so tall, I love long cardigans - the proportions feel better on me. However, I think the extra length can make things bottom-heavy, so I prefer to wear them with dresses or skinny jeans. Anything else and there's too much bulk.

S. said...

Thanks for the shout out, Liz! I know you didn't love the turquoise necklace, but I actually really liked the break it gave you from the mixed neutrals here. I love this long cardigan on you -- it's such a great, soft color that will go with everything!

I go back and forth about belted versus non-belted with these long cardigans (as you'll see later today!), but I think they can work really well left open like this: the belt clarifies that the flowy line of the cardigan is not actually your body line, and the beltless look makes it slightly more relaxed and gives you more flexibility for temperature changes, etc.

I think this is a great look on you -- what a great way to show off those fabulous new boots!

Anonymous said...

I love a long cardigan with a dress, as you're wearing it here. It adds great layering and texture. I love the mix of neutrals that it brings to the look, too, and I love that great turquoise necklace.

Congratulations on finishing up your classes for the semester!

La Historiadora de Moda said...

This is a fantastic last day look, and S. has seriously fantastic style! Congratulations on finishing up your first term as a TA!

I ask my students to evaluate their participation and how the course is going for them several times throughout the term using a rubric with a comments section and anonymous discursive evaluations. There are always moments of frustration in any profession, but for the most part I agree that students get out what they put into a course. That's one of the reasons that I rarely have to curve grades.

Rad_in_Broolyn said...

Yeay for the last day. I agree that this a fantastic look on you. These boots are beautiful and classy, and the dress is lovely. Very feminine with long lines.
You've got a great attitude about teaching and you're ahead of the game. I don't always have such a great attitude, and my students are slightly more of a challenge than the ones I had as a graduate student, so there's been a big adjustment period. You're right on that the handful of annoying students can make one forget about the ones we are reaching. I try to focus on the positive as well (the students who are there every class session, prepared and enthusiastic) and try to ignore the rest as mere comedic distractions. I really do try to laugh at my annoying students). Congrats on the great feedback and a successful semester!

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks for your feedback on the look and for your congratulations on finishing my semester! I've now submitted grades for my students and have moved onto writing my last paper. This has been a tough semester and I've appreciated our readers' encouragement all along.

I've been experimenting with the long sweater since I posted, and I agree with IA Katie that they seem to work best with dresses and skinny jeans. Since I can be found wearing a dress or skinny jeans almost every single day, it was a good addition for my closet! : )