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Joey Heyman Cohort 9

Often, I think in TV quotes.
Anytime someone says "move," or "get out of the way", I hear Joey on Friends yelling at the coastguard "get out of the WAY". If someone is referencing something they're not sure I'll recognize, I hear Karen on Will and Grace nodding and saying "uh huh, uh huh, I'm familiar." And whenever I find out that I was right about something, I hear Chandler (also from Friends) coming out from behind a closed door and yelling "I KNEEEEW IT!"  About one month into my first year of teaching, I had the ultimate Chandler moment.
I had gone 15 days of school without wearing the same outfit twice.  One morning, I had a question posed to me in my classroom "Parking Lot" asking "how long I could go without re-wearing anything?" Cut to later that afternoon after school last year, the girls' volleyball team had late practice so they would sit in my classroom with me and do homework until practice started at 5:15.  M*, the girl who had written the parking lot question, was among this group, so while we were all together she asked me if I'd answer the question in person (generally I write the response and post it on the back wall.) I told her "I don't know how long I can go, but it's been over 3 weeks so far so let's see how it goes."  She then has her own Chandler moment, and runs out of the room to grab her friend J* to tell her. The two come back into the room with a sheet of paper.
They had been tracking my outfits since the first week of school. They had a chart.

Their fastidious records of my wardrobe, plus the fact that they both behaved remarkably well in my class and volunteered to spend an extra hour in my classroom on Monday afternoons equals (=) I KNEEEW IT--dressing to impress for success CAN make a difference in fostering successful relationships with (pre)adolescents.

 And that was just the start.  I have been teaching for 15 months.  I have never worn the same outfit to school twice.

Moreover, I am still M* and J*'s teacher, now in High School.  And that initial intrigue generated by colorful heels and coordinated nail polish has evolved far beyond that superficial beginning.  M* wrote me a letter at the beginning of this year, that brought me to tears more than once.  In it she recalled how nervous and overwhelmed she was on the first day of high school, and how grateful she was to walk into my classroom and see my familiar face, Parking Lot, and Glee posters on the wall.  "You inspire me Ms. H," she said, "your attention to detail, both in clothing and in learning, encouraged me to pay closer attention too."  She then threw in a 'Kal V'Chomer' (which she had figured out was my favorite phrase) and thanked me for her developing love of Jewish history.

 Now don't get me wrong, dressing a part in no way replaces prepared lessons and sound pedagogy.  But as a current colleague replied when he was asked why he wears a bow tie every day, "my wife is in PR and taught me the power of branding."  As teachers, we all develop our "brands."  I currently teach across the hall from 'The Beard.'  My classroom is downstairs from 'The Bow tie.'  My peer in Dallas is 'the Rabbi with the cool tights.'  A true brand is authentic to who we are; it's an element of ourselves that invites our students to 'come in, and know us better man!' (OK, sometimes I also think in Dickens.)

 So what's yours?