Want to be hired? Be proudly yourself!

Holley Curry, owner of M&M Monogramming and More, spent a few hours recently reviewing resumes from prospective college-age employees and interns.

Holley legitimately knows what it takes to get hired, since she’s the one who does the hiring! I’ve known Holley for a long time, since before she owned the business. I appreciate her practical take on things and her willingness to be direct. If you have a college student in your life (or if you are a college student), take these words to heart.

This message was written by Holley with the header “MOMS OF GIRLS.” Although the message was originally intended for college girls, I think they apply to a larger audience. Dads of girls need to know this. Brothers/friends/aunts/uncles — anyone who is in a position to encourage a college student.

Here’s what Holley said after those hours reviewing resumes:

MOMS OF GIRLS – I sifted through intern and job resumes for about 2 hours today and one thing was overwhelmingly clear.

The boys had literally listed every.single.positive thing they had ever done. I read things like “made life easier for my boss” and “interests include ‘persuasion’ and ‘competitive video games.’”

I laughed. They stood out. I learned a little about who they really are.

In stark contrast, the girls’ resumes were humble and understated. [Their accomplishments were] blatantly downplayed with phrases like “led with the help and support of others” or “accomplished this with the guidance of so and so.”

I read somewhere once that men go for jobs when they are only 60% qualified and women only when they are 100% qualified. (Ed. note — there are various interpretations of this figure, made popular by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In — here’s one article about it.)

I’m not even sure these guys really knew that they were applying to help pick out thread colors and fonts while giving advice on pillow shams and bath towels.

Did that stop them?


Did they go all out?


Why didn’t the girls? Why are they trying to play it safe?

I couldn’t help but wonder … are they afraid of not fitting the ideal mold they think the employer has in their head? Who cares? Why would you want a job if it isn’t right for you anyway?

Just a little food for thought if your daughter is applying for jobs. It’s not like the good ole’ days anymore.

I obviously can’t speak for every employer, but I want to feel like I’m getting a glimpse of someone on paper, not just what someone thinks I want to read.

Tell your girls it’s ok to stand out.

Laughter in a resume is not a bad thing. It’s ok to say you are awesome and you’ve done big things (or even small things) all on your own.

And it’s ok if they don’t get the job.

If they are true to themselves, and their potential employers – they won’t get just any job. They’ll get the RIGHT one. ✌️


Thank you, Holley, for these words of wisdom.

If you’re here in Tallahassee, visit M&M Monogramming and More at 2030 Thomasville Road, Suite #1. Their phone number is 850-514-3148 and their email address is mmmonogramming@comcast.net.

If you’re NOT in Tallahassee, visit their site and take advantage of the fact that they ship.

To close out this post, here’s one of their T-shirts, and I think it reflects Holley’s message very well.

Want to be hired? Be proudly yourself!

Love first, teach second: A teacher’s message

I am pleased to welcome my friend, Kristen Hunter, with a guest post today. I loved hearing about her career as a teacher and how she brings energy and originality (and love) to the classroom. She also shares about a few of the items she uses to create a positive learning environment, some of which she still needs before school starts in August.

Love first, teach second: A teacher's message

My name is Kristen Hunter, and I have aspired to be a teacher since I was a little girl. In August, I will be starting my third year of teaching next month, at a Title I school in Tallahassee, Fla. I love teaching because of the “lightbulb” moments students have when you see it in their eyes that they understand the material.

I have bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Exceptional Student Education, as well as certifications in reading and English as a second language. In the spring of 2021, I will graduate with a master’s degree in educational leadership.

Another reason I love teaching is that no two days are the same. When students come into our classroom, they unpack their materials and start their morning work while watching our school’s morning news. I teach reading and math in the morning before lunch. After lunch we have an intervention block, special area, and our science/social studies time. While we stick to a daily routine, the activities change depending on the lesson.

I created an Amazon Wishlist of items that would be beneficial for my students. Some of the items on my list might sound odd, but they have a unique purpose. Some of these items include battery-operated light switches, a baby car mirror, whisper phones, game show buzzers, and a wireless doorbell.

Why a baby car mirror for first-graders in a classroom?

The baby car mirror will be hung above the whiteboard so I can still see what the students are doing even with my back to them.

Love first, teach second: A teacher's message
Credit: Amazon product illustration

What is a whisper phone and how does it help students learn to read?

I like to use whisper phones in my classroom because first graders are still practicing reading fluency. With these whisper phones, the student puts one end on their ear and the other end by their mouth. Students can whisper read to themselves. Some students need to read out loud to better comprehend and become more fluent while reading.

Love first, teach second: A teacher's message
Credit: Amazon product illustration

What’s the buzz?

I like to create engaging review games for my students before assessments or if they are struggling to grasp a concept. One of the games I use often is classroom jeopardy, so having the buzzers will allow me to more accurately tell which ring in first.

Love first, teach second: A teacher's message
Credit: Amazon product illustration

Ring that bell

I have a wireless doorbell in my classroom that I use to gain the attention of my students. When I ring the bell, my students know to stop what they are doing and give me their attention. This is much more effective than raising my voice to get their attention.

Why a battery-operated light switch?

Our only bathrooms are in the hallway — one for boys and one for girls. Therefore, the children have to go out of the classroom to use the restroom. I only allow one boy and one girl to go to the bathroom at a time, so when a student needs to use the restroom they will either turn on the boy or girl switch so I know if there is someone already in the restroom.

Here are a few pictures Kristen shared of her classroom:

Love first, teach second: A teacher's message

Love first, teach second

As an educator, I believe that we are all lifelong learners. I feel that it’s important for my students to understand that I don’t have the answer to every question and that it is okay. When my students ask me a question and I do not know the answer, I am honest and let them know I will find the answer and let them know.

Another lesson that my students continue to teach me is compassion for others. Young children forgive their peers at a much quicker rate than most adults, and they are truly concerned when a friend is sad or hurt. My students love to help, or ask for help, when a friend is hurt. These students do such a wonderful job of consoling their peers and being there for them when they are sad. It is a reminder to slow down and be there for my family, friends, and students.

I am a firm believer in love first, teach second. Students are more likely to learn from a teacher that they have built a relationship with first. At the beginning of the school year, I spend a lot of time getting to know my students and sharing facts about myself with my class. It is important that my students understand that in the classroom we are a family that supports and loves each other. We have morning meetings where we talk about different topics as a class so we can learn about similarities and differences and why that is okay! During some of these morning meetings, we choose to share things we did over the weekend or holiday breaks.

I would like to say thank you to the countless people who have shown their support by donating to my classroom.

A note from Paula

I took the above graphic from Kristen’s Facebook page, because it seems a fitting way to end this post. I appreciate her commitment to first graders. I’ll never be able to repay my children’s teachers, or the teachers who taught me to love language as well as learning in general. The best teachers do more than teach subjects; they help teach “life.” Thank you, Kristen, for being one of those teachers. If you can help Kristen out by purchasing something on her wish list, here’s the link again.

Marfan Syndrome Awareness for Educators (A Guest Post)

When I learned that February is Marfan Awareness Month, I invited my friend Maya to contribute a guest post to my blog. I am so grateful she accepted! As we chatted about what to discuss, our conversation went in the direction of signs that teachers (and parents or anyone who works regularly with children) should look for that may indicate a child should be further evaluated for Marfan Syndrome.

marfan monthMaya says:

I’d like to thank Paula for the opportunity to share with all of you some information about a cause close to my heart: Marfan syndrome. Both my youngest son and I have Marfan. It’s a potentially life-threatening connective tissue disorder that can affect much of the body, including the heart and aorta (the main blood vessel running from the heart), the eyes, the lungs, the skeleton, and skin. People with Marfan are at risk for rupturing the aorta, which can be fatal and is why early diagnosis is so important. Prompt diagnosis and monitoring leads to greater chances for preventative surgery and an average life expectancy. Today, in honor of Marfan Awareness Month, I’d like to share with you some signs you could see in the classroom that indicate a child may need to be evaluated for Marfan syndrome or a related disorder.



Skeletal clues: People with Marfan tend to be taller than their unaffected family members, and thin. They have disproportionately long features as well: long legs, arms, face, fingers and toes. They may also have flat feet, scoliosis or kyphosis (forward rounding of the upper back), and unusual stretch marks.

Poor handwriting: People with Marfan syndrome are double-jointed (hypermobile) and often have poor fine motor control. This can result in a unique pencil grip, difficulty cutting with scissors, and illegible handwriting due to poor grip on the pencil or the hand tiring easily.

Difficulty reading the board: About 50% of people with Marfan syndrome experience dislocation of the lenses in their eyes. This makes them near-sighted. Near-sightedness can also occur without lens dislocation. Children with vision issues may also appear to have difficulty sitting still or concentrating.

Delayed gross motor skills: Children with Marfan can appear to be very uncoordinated, due to gross motor delays and hypermobility. This is actually what got me diagnosed, when I was 8 years old. My mother noticed that I could not skip, ride a bike, and that I tired out much more easily than other kids my age.

Obviously any one of these could appear in the general population; it’s when they begin to appear together that they may be of concern. If you suspect Marfan syndrome in someone you know (or yourself!), resources are available. School nurses, the National Marfan Foundation has information for you (click on this link for more info). The foundation also has resources for parents, patients, and medical professionals at www.marfan.org, including a clinic list and information on what tests are needed for a diagnosis.

Remember: Early diagnosis is vital!