Earlier this month was parent-teacher conferences. After a short but seemingly long week because of them, I found this sweet letter in an interactive journal with one of my students just before leaving work for the long Veteran’s Day weekend.
By “those shoes,” she means my black Converses with bright neon hearts. Some of you know which ones she is talking about because you too have commented on them before. Here goes the story behind those shoes:
Last year when I was in graduate school, I tried my best to start changing up my wardrobe with a more professional look so I could appear older than I really was at student teaching. I was only 21, but I wanted to make myself look older, hoping that would help me to gain the respect of my students, students’ parents, and coworkers.
Over one break when I visited home, I was shopping for my professional look when I came across this pair of Converses and really liked them so I bought them. Soon after bringing them home, I thought to myself, So much for going for the older look! I bought new shoes and not just plain black ones but black with BRIGHT NEON HEARTS ALL OVER THEM as if I was still in middle school…great. While I shared my regrets for buying the shoes with my brother, he simply encouraged me to keep them and wear them to student teaching. “You’ll be popular with your students!” he reassured me.
When I brought my new pair of Converses down to Irvine after the break and showed them to my roommate Liz who everyone apparently thinks is my twin, it wasn’t surprising that she too had bought a pair of Converses that same break. As we had previously talked with each other about wanting to change up our wardrobes for the work life after college, it didn’t make me feel any better when she showed me her plain black Converses. Why did I go for bright neon hearts?? After that, I left my new shoes at the bottom of my closet and didn’t touch them for months.
Finally, I can’t remember why, but I decided to dig them back out of my closet and wear them to student teaching one casual Friday. To my surprise, my brother was right! Students were complimenting on my shoes left and right! The same thing happened when I wore them to work on a casual Friday last month. More than half of my students came up to me throughout the day, saying, “Miss Hui, I LIKE your shoes!!!” Though I can’t say the shoes have helped me to look older, they sure have been popular with my students!