My Winter Break

My winter break this year was not something I would call uneventful nor full of surprises. However, it did have moments of pure bliss (to me at least) that I think are worth highlighting.

To start, I completely got stuck in Portland’s snowstorm!

My original plan was to go to work on Friday, December 23, and head straight to the airport for my 9:15 pm flight. It ended up being that none of this happened; both work and my flight were canceled, leaving me alone in my house with a blanket of snow covering my yard and the streets outside.

For a while, we thought I would not make it home for Christmas. But after many calls with different airlines, my mom got me on a plane home to California. I was happy to have made it in time to celebrate Christmas with my mom and doggies, but very much enjoyed my first-ever White Christmas at my home in Portland.

After finally making it home on the night of Christmas Eve (after almost missing my connecting flight because my first one left an hour late to wash the plane’s windows AND having to return to the airport 3 hours later to pick up my luggage that they had not gotten onto my second flight), I was able to enjoy the simple pleasures planned for the break.

My family is big on amusement parks so while I was home, we visited 3: Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Magic Mountain.

When we were not spending the day at theme parks, my mom and I were home making charcuterie boards and watching “The Best Man: The Final Chapter,” an 8-episode series that revisits movies “The Best Man” and “The Best Man Holiday.” These are movies I absolutely love and was ecstatic to learn they were coming out with a show for them.

The last thing I want to share that I did over break is I completed a 1500-piece puzzle. It included different posters of Mickey Mouse movies/short films and was stationed on our dining room table the entire 2 weeks I was home.

Though the start of my winter break was stressful – and very cold – it all came together and was a great time for relaxing and spending time with my family.

A Quick Review of My College Academics Accompanied by (Mostly) Cats

I thought I was going to drop out of college at least 3 times in the four years I’ve been at UP. I obviously did not, but it’s been a very interesting four years in terms of my plan for my career.

It probably makes the most sense to start with a quick rundown of my pre-college educational experience. I was always a pretty smart kid overall, I excelled at reading and had a very large vocabulary, but I missed a lot of letter sounds when spelling and couldn’t do math for the life of me. I was diagnosed with ADHD and a specific learning disability in 5th grade but it was never followed up on for some reason so I never ended up with an IEP or 504 plan. I was also not told about my ADHD diagnosis. I did alright in most of my classes in high school but only because I spent the vast majority of my time working at the expense of other aspects of my life. Basically, I had no balance (I know, very healthy). As I said, I did alright in MOST classes. I scraped by with Ds in all my math classes, but hey, Ds get degrees right?

I lived in California at the time and was determined to go to college out of state , which meant I needed to get scholarship money somehow. I was in pretty good shape from playing softball for most of high school and saw that if I ran fast enough, I could get a ROTC scholarship. Apparently, I did, and I was able to get enough money to go out of state and come to UP. I applied as a psychology major, and within a month of starting, switched to political science and then a week later switched, again, to physics (a very good choice for someone who is clinically bad a math). My GPA for my first year was awful and I ended up losing my scholarship and wasn’t able to continue the ROTC program. So… I had to get it together or else I wouldn’t be able to attend UP anymore. I had a bit of a crisis between my first and second semesters and decided I wanted to switch to elementary education because I’ve always loved working with kids and wanted to provide the support I didn’t have growing up to young students.

And then, as soon as I had officially switched my major, COVID hit and I once again considered dropping out. But that wasn’t really an option so I had no choice but to figure out how to manage online school on my own. That didn’t go particularly well either. I was incredibly burnt out and struggled to get work done on time. However, I did end up getting (re)diagnosed with ADHD and found out that I was as a kid, which didn’t actually help my academics, but it did help me give myself some grace. I was once again worried that I was going to fail and have to stop attending, but I had no idea what I would want to do without a degree so that wasn’t an option. I was able to keep my grades up even though online school was a bit of a disaster and I was exhausted.

I knew with my student teaching year coming up that I needed to get better at managing my time and energy and advocating for myself. I started to let my professors know what things I might need help with ahead of time. I made sure I got explicit instructions and examples if anything was unclear to me and didn’t shy aware from asking for extensions if necessary. As I get further into the edTPA process, it’s going to be more important than ever for me to ask questions, even if it seems like an annoying amount, learn how to allocate my energy, and learn to organize my work. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be graduating this year with my teaching license ready to be a positive adult figure in kids’ lives and give them the support I didn’t have at that age 🙂

Classroom Comedians

One of my favorite parts of working with kids is the constant supply of funny and entertaining sound bites that float around the classroom setting. I used to work as a swim instructor, and now I work in a preschool classroom, and I have a variety of shadowing experiences across multiple grades; so you can imagine I have many funny quotes stored in my memory. I want to spread the joy and share some of my favorites!

“But Godzilla is cute though…”

“Are you one hundred years old? Hahahaha I know you’re not one hundred! If you were one hundred, you’d be close to dying! You’re probably like forty.” (I was 17)

*One student shares about playing rugby* “Do you play it on a rug?”

“My favorite color is cold!”

*Student writes “really bad always” on a paper describing how their week was*

My personal favorite, however, remains to be topped. My junior year of high school, my best friend, Brooke, and I were co-teaching a private swim lesson to the absolute sweetest kiddo who was eight years old at the time. We were helping him practice his backstroke when, all of a sudden, completely unprompted, he said “You know, sometimes when I get sad, I jump rope. Then I feel better!” Perhaps it was one of those “you had to be there” moments, but every time I scroll past that quote in my notes, I have to take a few minutes to laugh over it.

Teaching is hard and teaching in 2023 is even harder. But silly and innocent remarks from kids make the day to day in the classroom so much better.

Living that Student Teaching Life

Break for many students ended on January 17th on Tuesday with the start of class at the University. My break, however, ended January 2nd when I came back for my Student Teaching on January 3rd. While this seems like this would suck (it did for a bit), this was really helpful in transitioning in to the new year and getting to learn about the life of a teacher.

Student teaching life starts the night before. My goal for myself this year was to limit the amount of unhealthy home lunches such as Hot Pockets and instant noodles. Every night before student teaching I plan and cook my meal. Every meal has to be able to get me though the entire day and then some classes at the University. Meals include a protein and a starch and sometimes a vegetable.

The next morning is the beginning of my day at the school. I leave my house at 7:30 in the morning to get to my school by 8:15. Students come by 9 and the day starts.

Students have started to learn cursive. This is great for them but terrible for us. Some of them have such great cursive but others, oh my god, its like looking at hieroglyphics. There are some many of them who’s handwriting I can not read because it looks like one giant scribble of letters.

Specials are a time for me to take a short break from the students. Here is where I can catch up on work I need to complete and lesson plans for the next day or week. After specials, students come back and we transition into math for the day. Currently, we are working on division and many of them are getting the hang of it.

Students then have lunch at 12:30. They have a great selection of food to choose from. Every day they have four choices, 2 of which rotate daily and the other two are standard every day. here is where I can eat and talk to other adults. People might not know this but being in a class of just children and no other adults makes you want to talk to other people badly.

After lunch and recess students come back and it time for reading. We have started a new book that we are reading together as a class. Students are really enjoying the discussions and are engaged. I even learn new ideas and theories on the book during discussions.

After reading students are sent home at 3:30 . This also means we are able to leave too. When I get home I don’t feel like doing anything and I have to force myself to not take a nap. If I take a nap I won’t be able to go to sleep at a reasonable time.

At home, I become very exhausted and my social battery needs to be recharged. If you interact with me within 2 hours of me getting home, my brain will not function, and not be able to have a proper conversation with you.

After those 2 hours, I am able to make myself dinner and work on lesson plans. Here I do some brainstorming on how I can teach my students the following week as I already have a plan for the current week.

After dinner and lesson planning, I get to relax and spend time with my housemates. This could be just talking or playing party games with them. My housemates are keeping me from going insane this semester. This is also when I can do my own thing and watch a movie or show that I need to catch up on. I recommend watching Modern Family, it is a great show.

Near 11 is when I get tired and start to get ready for bed. From here the cycle starts all over again as I plan my meal and fall asleep.

A Day in the Life: High School Finals Week edition

This week is finals week at the school I am student teaching at currently. I teach Algebra 1-2 and Geometry. Today, I had three periods of Algebra with all 9th graders and it was CHAOS. Let’s recap the day shall we…



I make my lunch. On the menu this week is taco salad!



I drive to school and blast some pump up music to get myself excited for the day.



It’s finally lunch time!



Can’t go home yet… time for a staff meeting



It’s time to grade work!


My semester so far

I was planning on coming back to Portland on January 2nd so that I could start going to full time student teaching on the 3rd, but on the day I was returning, I tested positive for COVID and stayed with my parents for another week in Seattle. I was really disappointed to be missing the first week back with the kids and super bored quarantining in my room for the next several days.

When I was finally able to come back to Portland I was super excited, but also worried that I would be lonely because none of my housemates had returned yet. While it was really weird being the only one in the house when there are usually six people, it wasn’t too much of an issue because I got back from student teaching at 5:00, and was so tired that I was falling asleep around 9:00.

Full time student teaching is a lot of fun so far, but also extremely tiring and overwhelming at times. I’ve finally gotten used to my sleep schedule again so waking up at 5:45am isn’t quite as hard and I’m able to stay up later than 9:00pm, but some mornings are definitely still hard; I’ve never been a morning person.

One of the best things about teaching full time is being able to see the kids and connect with them more, especially because the afternoon has more down time than in the morning. As kindergarteners, they can really boost my ego with compliments some days (“Ms. Livingston, you look so beautiful! Like a princess!”), and humble me on others (“Ms. Livingston are you sure you brushed your hair today?”). It truly is a balance.

Aside from student teaching, I’ve been so happy to see my roommates and other friends again. It’s a little harder to hang out with people now that we’re second semester seniors, but so far I’ve been able to celebrate my roommate’s birthday with friends, make dinner with a friend, and see lots of people in classes and around campus that I haven’t seen since before winter break.

Even though I know this semester will be a busy one, I’m excited to be able to spend it with all my friends and kindergarten students!

Day in the Life: Student Teacher Edition

A brief look at my daily routine as a student teacher:

6:50AM — The first of many alarms that attempt to wake me up in the morning

8:00AM — My class usually has specials first thing in the morning so I usually do planning with my CT, which is a nice, calm start to the day

9:00AM — I teach math lessons with the 4th graders. We’re currently working on division and at the beginning of the unit this was a common expression on their faces:

10:30AM — Lunch with the usual:

11:15AM — Their ELA curriculum is neat because it has a variety of different activities students get to do. Currently they are creating storyboards about one of two poems they just read as a visualization of the poem, which allows us to see the different views each student has on what is going on in the poem.

1:15PM — Recess, AKA standing outside all bundled up and looking for sunlight if possible because I’m still not, and probably never will be, used to the 30-40 degree weather

1:40PM — Students work on things that they need to finish from the day or have time to silently read. We’ve also recently been doing some general knowledge Kahoot games, which the students love (and always want me to play but then get mad when I win :D)

2:05PM — My CT likes to do shoutouts at the end of the day. She calls on students to give a shoutout to their classmates on things that they appreciated from the day

2:15PM — Students go home and I end the day with teacher or planning meetings

Thanks for coming along on my day 🙂

When I graduate, I’m getting a dog.

Graduation is a year and a half away, and perhaps the most important post grad decision is: what kind of puppy am I going to get? Getting a job would probably be a good idea too….I suppose. So here are my top three choices for puppy breeds – post graduation. Check back in in summer 2024 for the final verdict.

  1. Golden Retriever – It should not be a surprise that a golden retriever is at the top of the list as it is quite possibly the most basic dog a girl in her twenties could possibly own. However, the breed would provide excellent companionship while also being a great running partner and my identical twin.
I mean that face though

2.Bermese Mountain Dog – Now this dog is a statement. The largest option on the lost, this dog would have people crossing the street to say hello. Only issue is the dog would probably need its own twin sized bed and a lint roller would have to be my new best friend.

Meet my future puppy

3.German Shepard – Another classic choice and would make me feel very cool. Not to mention I would have my own personal body guard with me at all times. Perhaps not the friendliest towards strangers , but he’d be a mamas boy for sure.

Splish Splash

Future Classroom Ideas From The Reliable Platform of Tik Tok

Image by AzamKamolov from Pixabay 

Like many other college students, I spend a little too much time scrolling endlessly on Tik Tok. However, if I am learning things whether it’s the news (may or may not be factually correct) or ideas for my future classroom, then it’s totally reasonable and educational. So, I have added a few Tik Toks where teachers show their ideas for their classrooms that I really love and want to implement in mine.


My classroom is done!!! (For now) ✨ what a long 3 days that was #classroom #teacher #vlog #classsetup #elementary

♬ Paint – Trees and Lucy

Some things I like from Miss B’s classroom:

  • Affirmations around the mirror
  • Class jobs
  • Comfy reading corner/library

Also, if you enjoy hearing silly things that students say, she has some videos of “2nd grade quotes” that are pretty funny.


Anyone usually barefoot when kids aren’t in the classroom? (Or even when they are 🤪) #classroom #classroomsetup #teacher #teachersoftiktok #elementaryschool #smallgroupinstruction

♬ I Like You (A Happier Song) – Post Malone

Some things I like from this classroom, specifically stations:

  • Organized bins for each station
  • Directions and groups up on the board
  • Having bonus work for students who may finish early

This one is a little different but I found it super helpful. This teacher found useful items at the dollar tree that they got for obviously only a $1 or I guess its $1.25 nowadays, which is not cool.

I hope you enjoy the Tik Toks!

Goals for this Semester

With the beginning of a new year and a new school semester, I find it important to outline some goals/resolutions for myself for this upcoming semester.

  1. Establish a good sleep routine– We all know that sleep is important and yet still do not get enough sleep. This semester I am going to try to establish a good sleep routine meaning I try to consistently not go to bed after midnight so that I do not look like this during class.

2. Get Exercise– Whether this is by going to the gym, going on a walk with friends, or going hiking I want to get more exercise and spend time in the sunshine (when it hopefully gets sunny outside soon).

I also love to listen to some feel-good music when I exercise.

3. Stay Organized– It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos that is the school year but I always feel so much better when I have an organized and clean space!

If I do all these things I think that I will have a great semester and rest of the school year!

How I feel like this semester will go

I feel that every semester usually goes the same way for me. I will describe it in GIFs so that it is more fun.

The beginning of the semester is always great because we get to see each other for the first time in a while since most of us go back to our hometowns for break. It is also syllabus week, so we have no responsibilities yet, leaving more time for fun.

This is a couple of weeks into the semester where we have our routines figured out and we are still sticking to them. We are also getting into the meat of our classes and being an academic weapon.

Then we get to the 2-week mark before our break (spring break) for the semester and we are going a little stir-crazy and are in much need of a break.

Then….. it….. SPRING BREAK

Time to let lose and have fun!

Then post-spring break, we are all dying inside wishing we had one more week. we are all trying to get back in the groove of things but it’s getting rough but we have to push through.

Finally, we get to finals week…….not a fun week for anyone.

A Semester Like No Other

Growing up I always dreamed about traveling the world but never did I expect to have the opportunity to live in a foreign country for 4 months and earn college credits. Last semester I studied abroad in Granada, Spain which is located in the southern region of Spain, commonly referred to as the Andalucía region.

Flag Spain GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In Spain, I lived with a host family where I was given my own room, bathroom, and 3 daily meals and expected to speak only Spanish to the family. At first, I was a little nervous about how living in a foreign country was going to be even though I am fluent in Spanish from growing up in a Mexican-American household, I was so nervous. But as I adjusted to my daily schedule and my fluency in conversational Spanish started to flourish I became more comfortable living in Spain and using my Spanish to explore the city.

Spain Sevilla GIF by España Fascinante - Find & Share on GIPHY

While abroad I was able to take intensive Spanish Grammar classes that allowed me to learn the rules of Spanish that I had forgotten, but also learn things about the language that I was never taught. I also took a Spanish Cinema class that analyzed the Spaniard cinema throughout the decades, specifically seeing how the entertainment and movies were different during the Spanish civil war, the Franco rule, and after Franco’s passing in the late 70s. Other classes that I took consisted of Islamic culture classes that looked at the Arabic influence in Spain and lastly, I took a Spanish culture class. In the Spaniard culture class, I was able to learn more about the Spaniard culture and its customs, but I was also taught about the various cities in Spain I was traveling to before going on the trips. We learned about famous museums like the Museo the Prado which housed famous paintings like the original drafts of the Mona Lisa and paintings by Francisco Goya.

Season 2 Episode 1 Spain GIF by National Geographic Channel - Find & Share on GIPHY

We learned about the famous bullfighting arenas and the origins of the fights, but most of all one of my favorite lessons was the wine, bread, and olive oil tasting lesson. In the lesson, we compared the different qualities of bread, virgin vs extra virgin olive oil, what to look for when picking a nice cooking oil and the wine making process followed by a trip to a winery. At the winery I was able to see the full wine making process and sample some local Spaniard wine along with tapas.

After year of studying Spanish it was interesting to actually visit all the famous places I had studied so intensely in my textbooks. Along with learning so much during my time in Spain, I also had the opportunity to travel throughout my stay. On 3 day weekends or small breaks throughout the semester for Spanish holidays I was able to visit places like Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia , London to visit Buckingham Palace, Italy to visit Vatican city and France to see the Eiffel Tower and visit Leonardo da Vinci’s, Mona Lisa. Given it was my first time being in Eurpoe I made sure to take full advantage of the promixity to other eurpoean countries and traveled whenever I had a chance.

Loop Travel GIF by Omio - Find & Share on GIPHY

Although my time in Spain had to come to a close the memories, sites I saw and friendships I made will always be something I will never forget and will cherish forever. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I recommend to any and everyone, as it was a semester that changed my life forever reminding me why bilingual education is so important. Additonally, my semester abroad enriched my knowledge of Spanish to hopefully further my education to work in a bilingual school setting in the future.

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