It’s back-to-school season, and while we know this year will be different, we want to celebrate all the hard work teachers do for us. And part of that hard work is being on their feet all day. That’s why we’re proud to offer a year-round Teacher Discount Program—educators enjoy 20% off Birdies shoes—so they can look and feel great while teaching, with best-in-class style and ultimate comfort. To welcome the new school year (whether that means virtual lessons or in-person classrooms), we thought we’d introduce you to a few of our favorite teachers, who also happen to be big fans of Birdies.
Photo credit: Shaquita Basileo
Teacher Name: Ms. Basileo
Where You Teach: Shepherdstown, WV
Grade Levels: 1st through 12th Grades
Subjects: Math and HS Lead Teacher
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: My favorite moments, oddly enough, happen outside of the classroom—a mom sending a photo of her child teaching his grandparents about the Fibonacci sequence, finding a note shoved in my bag from a student once I get home, or seeing a former student in their workplace excited to share that I was once their teacher. Knowing that I’ve impacted their lives, beyond the subject of math, is incredibly rewarding. Education is a second career choice for me and I only wish I’d discovered my love for teaching sooner. My favorite memory in teaching, however, occurred with a group of three young women who were taking Algebra 1 & 2, the highest math classes in our K-8 program. These young ladies were driven, brilliant, and fun to teach. One day, we were working through problem sets together and time had gotten away from us. I looked at the clock and around the floor—we were halfway through their recess, huddled together on the floor with books and notebooks sprawled about, and having a blast. They did not want to stop working on math—I had to take their books and put them out!
Piece of advice you give your students: Be yourself, believe in yourself, and have the courage to live the life you love. My students know my life’s journey—I am open and authentic with them, so they know I live the advice I share with them.
One thing your students have taught you: I’m not the smartest in the room. I always knew this, obviously, but as the adult, teacher, and the leader of your classroom, that’s supposed to be the expectation, right? So wrong. Moving to West Virginia, I’ve learned so much about nature, gardening, outdoor activities, and Appalachian culture from my students. I’m not the expert on every topic, and they respect that I’m willing to learn from and with them. This past year, one of my students asked if we could read a book together, unrelated to math, about racism and bias. Education is more than subject matter—it's truly about relationships.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: Confident and cute! No matter the grade, I’m on my feet A LOT—helping students, lecturing at the board, and up and down the hallway to the supply room or copier. And let’s not forget recess duty! Conversely, you never know when you’ll be pulled into a meeting or conference. Comfort is non-negotiable, but neither is style!
Photo credit: Taisha Martin
Teacher Name: Dr. Martin
Where You Teach: Baltimore, MD
Grade Levels: 6th through 8th Grades and Graduate School
Subject: School Counseling
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: My favorite teaching moments always come at the end of each semester. Some students come in with their own insecurities about learning, and throughout the course, they become more vocal and confident in their abilities. It’s amazing to see the confidence and individual growth of students.
Piece of advice you give your students: One thing I always tell my students is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Middle school can be a challenging time that brings up a lot of anxiety with students. Those anxious and nervous feelings are usually associated with feeling uncomfortable. In order to ease that discomfort, I encourage them to lean into those uncomfortable feelings and take control. The same applies when I am working with graduate students, which brings about its own stressors.
One thing your students have taught you: Besides all of the social media and Fort Nite crazes, my students have taught me the importance of resilience and perseverance. It is rewarding to see how some of my students with social and school anxiety have adjusted to the new normal and thrived both academically and emotionally with the abrupt change to our traditional way of learning.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: Birdies make me feel stylish, without sacrificing fashion for comfort. As a professor, I spend hours on my feet lecturing, so having a flexible shoe is a necessity! They’re comfortable enough to throw on with my PJs for virtual teaching and counseling, and they're stylish enough to turn any daytime outfit into an evening show stopper.
Teacher Name: Ms. Ulivi
Where You Teach: East Los Angeles, CA
Grade Levels: 9th & 11th Grades
Subjects: English and AP English Language and Composition
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: I have been at the same school in the heart of East Los Angeles for my entire career. Over that time, I have been able to celebrate the many accomplishments of my students and help others overcome unimaginable adversity. My favorite teaching moment came when I helped a student, who seemed very discouraged about the writing process, to finally find their voice through writing. I live for those moments.
Piece of advice you give your students: I always tell my students to be confident in their abilities. If they believe in themselves, others will, too.
One thing your students have taught you: My students are incredibly resilient and they have taught me many lessons—the most powerful of those being relentless optimism, love, empathy, and hard work.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: I rarely sit down when I teach. I’m usually fluttering around the classroom from student to student. I need a flat that is functional, comfortable, and stylish. Birdies make me feel confident and comfortable all day long.
Teacher Name: Mrs. Fruhauf
Where You Teach: Long Island, NY
Grade Levels: Kindergarten through 2nd Grade
Subject: Elementary Special Education
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: Working with students with special needs, you learn that your days are filled with countless moments worth cherishing. I remember teaching one of my students how to play soccer. After a few weeks, we walked into the gym, he found the soccer ball, set up his kick, and kicked the ball into the net without any prompting or assistance. It became so real to me then how special what we do as educators really is.
Piece of advice you give your students: As a special education teacher who teaches students with intensive needs, I always encourage parents and students to celebrate every victory. Every goal achieved, every skill mastered, every independent task is a celebration.
One thing your students have taught you: My students have taught me compassion and patience, and they have challenged me to see the world through their eyes instead of always trying to get them to see it through mine.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: When I’m teaching in my Birdies, I feel comfortable and confident. They complete my outfit with the perfect, classy finishing touch while also providing comfort for a day on my feet!
Teacher Name: Mrs. Bond
Where You Teach: Marietta, Georgia
Grade Levels: 9th & 12th Grades
Subjects: Social Studies, World History, and AP Human Geography
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: There was a time when something happened that really discouraged me. I was feeling very down, and my students took notice. They snuck into my classroom before school started, covered my whiteboard with motivational words, brought me breakfast, and had a shoebox full of 50 notecards with encouraging words that they had all written. Now, I always write my students encouraging notecards for every test, one note per student, per test, each semester. To see an entire class do that for me—that is a moment I will never forget!
Piece of advice you give your students: The thing that I always tell my students is to never underestimate their potential for greatness, to never stop looking for the good in the world. To find the magic, to be the kindness. And never stop working to pursue their dreams. And that I will always be there for them, rooting them on and believing in them every step of the way.
One thing your students have taught you: My students have taught me to believe in every single student, regardless of who they are or their ability level. The most important thing that I have learned is how to see my students differently. To see them for their potential, not their setbacks, see them for their strengths, not their weaknesses. Finally, they have taught me to believe in the future because the generation of students I’ve taught has convinced me they have the intellect, the creativity, and the empathy the world needs for change.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: Birdies bring out the best of me in the classroom. I strongly believe in allowing fashion and your outfit to control your mindset during the day. Usually, on my longest and most challenging days in the classroom, I go into the day wearing my favorites, and that always includes my Birdies! They fit so comfortably and truly allow me to walk each step with confidence.
Teacher Name: Mrs. Newman
Where You Teach: Gilbert, AZ
Grade Level: 7th Grade
One of your favorite teaching moments or memories: A student found out unexpectedly that her family was moving and that it was her last day in class. She was pretty upset, so before she left, the entire class surrounded her and gave her a group hug. To see 30 kids be so kind and supportive was beautiful.
Piece of advice you give your students: Always remember that it’s okay to be wrong and to make mistakes. It’s an important part of the learning process. Don’t let it discourage you; keep trying!
One thing your students have taught you: Never underestimate what kids are capable of. They possess insight and wisdom that would blow your mind.
How Birdies make you feel when you’re teaching: If I was wearing any other shoes, I don’t think I’d still be standing.