What do teachers DO on in-service days?
I get that question a lot, and honestly, there’s no one answer to that question. It really depends on the needs of the district. Sometimes we have workshops and meetings. Sometimes we meet in small groups. Sometimes we meet as a building. Sometimes we meet as a district.
One in-service day that is always a sure thing is the annual Journey to Learn Day, organized by the Consortium for Public Education. Districts that are part of the consortium participate and sign up for workshops in other districts to learn from those teachers. Last year, I led a workshop on Traveling Teachers, and I was really upset that the teachers who participated carried on during my workshop instead of participating.
Teachers are the worst students.
This year, I wanted to DO something on this day, so my first choice was the Strip District Stroll, led by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (shocker, since I love The Strip, right?) My second choice was another tour led by the same group, titled “Downtown Dragons”, which focuses on the architecture in Pittsburgh.
Of course, I got my second choice.
|Looking up The Mon|
I wasn’t going to complain, though, since at least I didn’t have to sit in a classroom that morning – I got to be outside, looking at things and walking around, which I’d rather do any day.
And you know what? I learned A LOT. If you ever get the chance to do a tour through the foundation, DO IT. I want to do more – the one in The Strip, of course, but they also do one on the Mexican War Streets, and I’ve always wondered what that’s all about.
|Fountain at the courthouse|
I also got some great pictures along the way. My Instagram app helped make them even better.
|First Lutheran Church|
Another great thing about the tour is that it ended at Wood St., and I had time for lunch, so my brother offered to meet me for lunch. His suggestion? Mexico City on Smithfield Street.
Aww, he’s so supportive of my cause!
We got there exactly when they opened – 11:00 AM – and were seated right away, as the only patrons of the restaurant. It’s not very big, but it is festive. The décor reminded me a lot of a cantina in Merida, Mexico (although this location is BYOB – no bar), and I just had to take pictures of the quotes on the wall:
We were served our one complimentary basket of chips and salsa – it literally states on the menu that you get ONE complimentary basket of chips and salsa, and additional ones are $1.99 each. That was fine with me, since I tend to fill up on chips and salsa too often – and I could have filled up on a lot more, because they were quite delicioso. The salsa was also quite flavorful and cilantro-ish – my brother really likes their salsa because it’s not chunky (he hates chunky salsa).
|Chips and not-so-chunky salsa|
I had pretty much also decided upon what I wanted to eat ahead of time, as I checked out their menu online the night before. I was impressed with their “Black & Gold” themed foods – burritos & chimichangas, with a variety of options for fillings: chicken, pork, steak, lamb, tilapia, shrimp, and more. I thought – what could be better than black & gold-themed Mexican food? That represents what I’m all about: Pittsburgh + Hispanic/Latino foods.
|Black and Gold Burrito|
It was Mexican-Pittsburgh perfection – the “black” is mole sauce (MY NEW FAVORITE SAUCE!) and the “gold” is a mildly spicy cheese sauce:
For my filling, I chose “pollo con rajas” – chicken with poblano pepper (which is quickly becoming my pepper of choice for main dishes – not too hot, not too mild, and lots of flavor):
|Chicken with poblano pepper filling (and rice)|
This was definitely the best way to end my tour of Downtown Pittsburgh – I learned about architecture, saw things in the city that I had never seen before (and wouldn’t have noticed, had it not been for this tour), and had lunch that not only fits the theme of the day (Pittsburgh), but also the theme of my blog.
What do teachers do on in-service days? If done right (as this was), they learn…
111 Smithfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mexico-City-Restaurant/343687990784?ref=ts (Wood St. Location)
409 Wood St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(this location has a full bar with happy hour and salsa parties)
2212 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
100 West Station Square Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219