Tagged: summer marn

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TEACHER VOICES: Marni Spitz, #10

Concert-Going Tiger Nikes

favicon Last week I did something few teachers do on a school night: I went to a concert. Gassssspp!!!!  I know, right?!? I’m so BRAVE. After a day of school, I entered the extremely dangerous territory of Summer Marn. This means:

  1. Indie and NikesI was around people after 7 pm.
  2. I was making decisions after 7:30 pm. Things like: Where should we stand to get the best seat? Which shoes should I wear so I could look like someone cool enough to go to a concert on a weeknight. (I went with my Tiger Nikes, pictured here with Indie. These are her favorite too).
  3. And lastly, I didn’t get home until 11 pm. Excuse me, Ms. Spitz. What do you think this is?? July??!?!

Turns out the concert was amazing and so well worth it, but I definitely paid for it the next day. In fact, by 8:31 am, I remembered so palpably why Summer Marn can only make school year appearances every so often. It was at this moment when one of my Reading Labbers raised his hand with an extremely concerned look on his face during SSR:

“Ms. Spitz–are you okay??”
“Yeah Kenny! I’m fine! Why? What’s wrong??”
“Are you sure? Because you look sick.”

I think by “sick” he meant someone cool enough to go to a concert on a school night.

Up to that moment, the last 9 hours in my mind had looked something like this:

11:04 pm: I’m in bed. You did it! Way to go, early Summer Marn! But you have to go to sleep. Oh my gosh, you’re going to be so tired if you don’t go to sleep. It’s going to be so hard to be on for 6th period, and you’re supposed to meet with Unique for homework help at lunch. OK, I, Marni Spitz, am going to show the world that I can go to things on a school night! Like the teachers do in New Girl! And How I Met Your Mother!

11:34 pm: Oh my gosh Marni. Why aren’t you asleep? Did you leave the copies for Period 1 on your desk or in the copy room? Okay. Sleeping. I think it was the copy room….

12:01 pm: I am asleep.

4:02 am: Shoot! Did I remember to plug in the Chromebooks yesterday? When is Karina’s scholarship letter due again?

4:12 am: I am asleep.

6:02 am: My alarm rings. I press snooze.  

6:06 am: But the Chromebooks! I turn off snooze and reluctantly but assertively WAKE UP.

Rise and Shine, girl. Rise. and. shine.

6:51 am: Later start today. I feel good. I did this. I got my lunch. Where’s my water bottle? Don’t forget to grab some extra granola bars (Trevor and Gaby will like these), and my vitamins. Because you can’t just go to concerts on school nights and not take vitamins.

7:02 am: Pick up a coffee (because it’s a treat-yourself post-concert morning, right?). (I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was a teacher. I went 23 years without it. Just saying.)

7:22 am: Arrive at  school. Drop off my lunch in the fridge. Say hi to our AP in his office and to the few students who have beat me there.

“Morning guys! Happy Tuesday!” Smile. Sip Coffee. Repeat.

I walk up the stairs to my classroom, which is uncharted territory as Summer Marn.

7:26 am: En route, I say hi to Charlie, a 9th grader who is always my morning greeter. “Did you watch the Oscars Ms. Spitz??”

“I most certainly did!!! Leo FOREVA!” I want to be so excited about this. But I’m tired.


7:37 am: Copy Machine Party Time. Weekly strong start charts, check. Homework packet, check. Stapled, double-sided, three-hole punched, CHECK.


COPY MACHINE DOWN. I REPEAT, COPY MACHINE DOWN. Darn it. I knew I should’ve never gone to that concert. This is what you get, Marni.

Five minutes later…

I locate the paper culprit and the jam is gone. Crisis Averted. Copy Mania continues.

Clif Bar7:47 am: Run back to my room to grab a Clif Bar. Do I go with peanut butter crunch? Blueberry crisp? Did I change the date on the homework packet? I wonder if I need to change Alicia’s seat. I have to remember to call Chris’s grandma after school. Did Ravyn ever tell me the due date of her letter of rec?  

Bite into the peanut butter crunch: Oh yeah. Breakfast of Champions. This is what people who go to concerts do. They eat their breakfasts, and they grab their whiteboard eraser and get that board ready for another great day. Of all the morning rituals I have, my whiteboard prep is seriously one of my favorites. Except on this particular post-concert morning, my handwriting was not its finest. I was not minding my P’s and Q’s.

7:55 am: Open the door for my morning buddies to enter.

Today it is MaryAnn and Pricila. “Hi gals! How was your night?”

“Ugh Ms. Spitz-We’re tired.”

“Me too,” I say. Me too! (Sipping coffee aggressively). Deciding whether or not I tell them I went to the concert. Would that make me look irresponsible? Turns out they don’t ask, so I leave it be.

But I’m also trying to write on whiteboard. Should I write the date in blue or green? Or wait, bright pink?

Kiere excitedly enters room. “Ms Spitz!!! Did you catch that Warriors game last night?!?!!? Did you see that overtime??!!? Man oh man!”

Although I’m not quite ready to match his energy level, I do my best: “I heard it was quite the game!!! What do you think about their record??”

We continue to talk about the offense and Curry and all things Warrior basketball.

My Clif Bar remains half-eaten. Breakfast of half-eaten, concert-going champions.

8:10 am: I’m writing the objective.  Evaluate or Explain? Determine? Identify? Ugh, evaluate. Yep, stick with evaluate. Pricila and Maryann want to continue to tell me how tired they are. As they are venting, I struggle with some additional early am decisions:

What was my Do Now again? Should we do the film clip before or after we do the reading? Should I write the date in red or bright pink? Bright pink wins.

8:12: Jason comes in asking for some help on his homework. “Sure, honey.”

We read. He writes. He finishes. Have a great day, J! And off he goes.

8:21 am: I sprint to the restroom.

8:24 am: The first warning bell is going to  ring. Crap! My copies!!! I’ve got my concert-going Tiger Nikes. I got this. I sprint to the copy machine.

8:25 am and 31 seconds: Made it to my front door just in time for the first bell.

“Hi guys! Good morning Gustavo. Hi Alejandro! How’s it going Nyrisha! Hi Kasandra!! Did you finish your book?”

8:30 am: Final bell rings. The day is underway. Phew. “Okay guys! Here we go….Let’s get our books open….”

8:31 am: “Ms. Spitz–are you okay??”

“Yeah Kenny! I’m fine! Why? What’s wrong??”

“Are you sure? Because you look sick.”

I think by sick he meant someone cool enough to go to a concert on a school night.  And someone who had learned a couple of important lessons:

  1. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes both as a teacher and a concert-goer.
  2. Summer Marn is super fun—but won’t be making another appearance for a while. Say perhaps, June. When it’s summer. And she can return to her cannon-balling in front of Dwyane Wade ways. favicon


Ed. note: Marni Spitz teaches U.S. History and Reading Lab at City Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco. Donate to Marni’s classroom!

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TEACHER VOICES: Marni Spitz, #2

Top 10 Ways You Can Tell It’s the 1st Day of School (from a teacher’s perspective)

ms. spitz 2Ed. note: Marni Spitz teaches U.S. History and Reading Lab at City Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco. This is her second post for TEACHER VOICES. Donate to Marni’s classroom!

favicon Today was that most magical of days, when anything is possible, when copies are ready days in advance, when your outfit is picked out the week before (or is that just me?), and when music is on in the front lobby to welcome you! Beyonce! Rihanna! Well, good morning to you, too!

I like to think I’m not the only teacher that has a summer alter-ego.  In July, Ms. Spitz exits, and I become the super-fun, extra-social, late-night-talking “Summer Marn.” I stay out past 9:30 pm on a school night, I can hold a conversation during dinner time, and I’m not afraid to attend a social event on a Friday night. I may even watch TV during lunch. Gasp! It’s hard to say goodbye to Summer Marn, but then the first day of school comes along and makes you so excited to welcome back Ms. Spitz — cardigan-wearing, clip-art-loving, cheesy-quote-finding and all).

I may be a grown woman and eighth-year teacher, but I still get the same butterflies on that first day that I did when I was a student/first-year teacher/attending a Justin Timberlake concert. In fact, I’d like to take a moment to compare the school year to a Justin Timberlake concert. If the school year is a concert, then the first day is the opening song. When Justin (we’re on a first name basis) opens his concert, he chooses a song that gets everyone on their feet, so excited to see the rest of the show, and so in love that they want to buy T-shirts with his name on it for $45. Similarly, as a school, we’ve got to make that first day one that gets our kids on their feet (well, in their seats),  makes them so excited to see the rest of the show (“I love this syllabus! I can’t wait until Unit 3!”), and so in love that they want to buy T-shirts with our name on it (but only for $10). With so much pressure and build-up, the first day is exhausting. It’s exhilarating. It happens. And then just like that, another school year is underway.

For me, that first day/opening song of the concert was today. It’s over. It happened, and I am tired. I am happy.  Some might even say thrilled.  I also realized that Ms. Spitz is completely out of teacher shape. Summer Marn has not completely left the building and I need to do something about that.

Currently, I’m in my classroom, and as I sit here reflecting on the day (by reflecting, I mean staring off onto my beautiful new bulletin boards, sparkling with their new trims and posters that have not weathered a school year), I’m thinking that you know it’s the first day of school when:

1) Your throat hurts.
Turns out, teaching on the first day requires you to use far more of your vocal chords in seven hours than you have all summer. Also-the first day is lot of me talking. Like-a lot. I need to work on that.

2) Your handout speed is a lot slower and your handout counting is off.
Oh wait: There’s ten of you in this row? You didn’t get one? Sorrrryyyyyy.

3) Your whiteboard writing is slanted.
It’s embarrassing.

4) You forget that cute shoes are not teacher shoes.
It’s the first day back, and you want to look your best. So perhaps you decide to wear, say, cute ankle boots to tie your adorable back-to-school outfit together. This was a mistake, one you will be paying for by lunch. Ankle boots are not orthopedically sound nor are they designed for someone who is on their feet all the live-long day.

5) You are wearing an outfit that has no marker stains.
It’s amazing what time away from the Crayola can do for your wardrobe. Oh hi, stainless green dress! It’s so nice to see you again!


6) Students are saying “hi!!” to you super-enthusiastically in the halls.
In fact, some may even be running up to you (yeah, RUNNING!) because they are THAT EXCITED to see you! (“Oh hi honey! I could’ve sworn you hated me last year, but look at you! You loveeee me!”)

7) Your desk is clean. Impeccably, irresistibly clean.
Want a highlighter? Sure–it’s right in my super-organized Highlighter Bin! Need a paper clip? No problem. Please see the drawer labeled “Paper Clips.”

8) The copy machine is available because everyone had their first day lessons printed.
Over-prepared might be the MVP of day-one lessons. Syllabus? Check. Weekly agendas? Check. Surveys? Check. Bathroom passes? Check. Copies for tomorrow? Don’t be ridiculous.

9) There are bagels in the teachers lounge!
Free breakfast?!?! Today must be special!!! And…there are donuts! And a variety of cream cheese flavors! And wait-orange juice!! What?!?!?!

10) Your face hurts from smiling so big because you are so darn excited to be back where you belong. **

** You also need to take a nap. Like, right now. favicon