Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Teacher's Best Investment

I am not a big fan of shopping. At all. My mother will be the first to tell you that taking me shopping is not a really pleasant experience. I tend to get bored and cranky very quickly. I hate trying on clothes. Hanging out at a mall is not something I do. In fact, about the only place I enjoy shopping are bookstores and places like Home Depot or Lowes and hardware stores.

I guess I inherited my grandmother's practical side. She raised three kids during the Great Depression and the Dustbowl in Kansas and that woman brought frugality to an art. She also taught me to knit, but that's another story for another day.

In any case, one thing I have learned is that although I may buy my clothes at Good Will I will spend big money on shoes. (Good Will is the place to shop if you're in the weight loss mode and need clothes but aren't where you want to be size-wise yet. Why spend money when they hopefully won't fit in a few more pounds?)

One of the biggest revelations I had when I started teaching was that you are on your feet nearly all day long. I had moved from the corporate world where I sat all day long at a keyboard or in meetings, and all of a sudden I was on my feet constantly. From the looks of the footwear I've seen on the various education majors that have observed in my room, no one has told these kids about the standing on your feet all day thing either. It rapidly occurred on me that if I was going to be standing all day long, I was going to have to spend money on really good shoes.

Because when it comes to shoes, you get what you pay for. You buy cheap shoes and your feet will hurt all day long. If your feet hurt all day you will have a very bad day and the kids will seem even worse than they are. Your back hurts, you're cranky, and your spouse starts walking on eggshells. Spend some money and not only will your shoes be more comfortable, but they'll last longer and people will fear you less. Although I spend a lot of money on shoes, I don't do it very often. I take care of the ones I have and I don't have a lot of variety in styles. Truth be told, when it comes to school I have three pairs of Birkies (brown, black and blue), plus a pair of Noat sandals (brown).

For those of you who have never heard of Noat shoes, they are heaven. They are made in Israel and are some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. Fortunately I live where you can wear sandals nearly eight months out of the year and I wear these things a lot.

But I really needed a black sandal.

So, since I needed to go to the Big City Mall to pick up my replacement iPod, (another long story) I asked Mrs. Eagle if she'd like to go with me and we'd check out some shoes and do lunch. Like me, Mrs. Eagle knows the value of good shoes, and unlike me, she has to wear inserts (due to her 20 years in Army boots she says). Good shoes are really, really important to her.

We ended up at this store I discovered, The Walking Company, and had a great time. I love a nice, knowledgable sales rep who isn't pushy but who really works to find you the most comfortable shoe for your particular feet. Mrs. Eagle and I both ended up buying the same pair of shoes, some black Dansko sandals, and Mrs. Eagle even added in a pair of inserts which she said were more comfortable than the ones her doctor prescribed for her. We spent some money but we got a wonderful, quality product. (I have heard great things about Danskos from some friends who wear nothing else - I can see why.)

The fact that we bought the same shoes will surprise no one at The School. They already call us The Twins.

We are now ready to stand for hours on tile floors with our feet comfy and our smiles intact.

My most important advice for a new teacher? Buy really, really, really good shoes.


Melissa B. said...

Mrs. B: I'm a Birkenstock fan, myself. After wearing Birkies for 5 years, it's hard to go back to "fashionable" shoes! BTW, Looking for some "creative help," if you've got a second. Please check out my post for today at --thanks!

Melissa B. said...

BTW: Thanks for your HI-larious contribution to my spur-of-moment Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. It was such a hit, I think I'll make it a regular item! Send me your e-mail at, & I have a little "prize" for ya! Drop in again soon! Take Another Look Thursday is coming up!!

Linda Fox said...

I've not tried the Birkenstocks, but I have gone to the Walking Company. I posted on what I found there at:

Mister Teacher said...

You are SO right about the pain that comes from poor footwear! My first year, I discovered Bass shoes, but this year, they weren't enough, as my feet were KILLING me every day.

Darren said...

Why should teacher preparation programs teach practical stuff like comfortable shoes or how to use a roll book when they can teach multiculturalism and classroom democracy!

Mrs. T said...

Oh, I love my Danskos! I also have a pair of Campers, they are also on the pricey side, but are absolute heaven to wear!

Nancy Flanagan said...

Shoes are just half of it. No short skirts. No tight pants. No vaguely transparent shirts (which, in effect, means no white blouses) without camisoles beneath. No U-necks, V-necks and other dipping-letter necks. Layers for erratic and capricious school heating systems.

Which leaves: the denim skirt, the high-end clogs, the LL Bean-ish cardigan, and things that aren't ruined by the inevitable marker stains. But, yes, the shoes are key.

Last time I went shopping, I opened my purse and found a note from my fashion conscious daughter: NO MORE JUMPERS.