hey! i wrote about HOW Blessed To Be Called Lala Hippie shirt got out in another comment last night so i’m putting that response below. briefly – i had experience (and success) in my 20s raising $$ for an org doing similar work that shares a network with my current job. i did all that for free or very cheap because i didn’t believe in money and at the time didn’t really need it – we lived with a zillion roommates, had no kids, anddddd…i stole a lot of the fancy shit that i buy today, ha. even though i wasn’t paid i put it all on my resume.
part of the “how” is also the “why”: got fed up enough to leave teaching after the principal at the high school where i taught began arresting children for violations as minor as wearing their headphones in the hallway, and outlawed black pants JUST FOR GIRLS because he said they were breaking the rules wearing black leggings (???). because it was a “failing” title 1 school i could absolutely not get anyone at the district level to care about this egregious treatment of children. in order to make my classroom a haven, i spent a ton of my own money and did a ton of ambitious personal fundraisers to create a flexible seating arrangement, implement a PBIS system, AND built out restorative practices in my classroom. and and and. F (bestie mentioned above, we taught next door to each other) would pick me up for school at FIVE THIRTY AM and we often didn’t get home til 5 or later.
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i worked through the weekends and evenings, and often before 5:30 am to prep for the Blessed To Be Called Lala Hippie shirt. one of my favorite students was the victim of a mob beating for being (or appearing, he wasn’t out) gay because the “math class” he was in was understaffed ie no teacher was present in the room – and no one in our school leadership addressed it, and there was no mental health support available to him after. also to be real: many teen boys in this world are galavanting mini-patriarchs and the pressure of living in the male gaze from admin down to students was getting to me. i started grad school with dreams of columbia teachers college but then one day said to F: “wait, do i really want to think about an impossible problem for the rest of my life?” i didn’t really, but didn’t see any other options. that’s when i started applying for nonprofit jobs on a hope and a prayer. and it worked! F has also been able to leave teaching for a nonprofit job, hallelujah.
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