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Dressed for Success

English Teacher Uses Colorful Dresses and Designs in Class

November 16, 2022


Holding her guinea pig, Vidrine dresses for Renaissance Day on Nov. 3, 2021. Instagram caption: “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and I am a #guinea pig.” (Photo Courtesy of Kim Vidrine)

English teacher Kim Vidrine uses a variety of ways to express herself – and that includes school outfits like dresses and skirts, which she said are her favorite things to wear.

“I am kind of obsessed with clothes,” Vidrine said. “Probably to a fault, although I don’t know who it really hurts. I love clothes, especially dresses and skirts, and I try to wear [either one] every single day. Occasionally on Friday I’ll wear pants, and very occasionally I’ll wear jeans, but I love to wear dresses.”

Her closet holds around 200 dresses, Vidrine said, and she never wears the same clothes more than once all year.

“I have a lot of dresses,” Vidrine said. “Like, a lot. It’s kind of embarrassing. I don’t ever wear the same dress a single day of the school year. I have so many that I love, and if I’m wearing one that I’ve already worn, then there’s one that’s not getting worn. I want to wear them all! And I keep track. They hang on [one] side of the closet, and once I’ve worn them they move to [the other] side of the closet.”

Fashion is fun for her, Vidrine said, and likes to express herself through the clothes that she wears.

“One time my daughters told me that my clothes [have a] ‘quirky librarian meets vintage housewife’ aesthetic,” Vidrine said. “And that’s probably true. [My clothes are] kind of like writing that I am doing. [They’re] presenting a text about myself. You read this text that I am composing and creating, [and] make inferences about [it].”

Another way Vidrine tries to get students involved in her classroom is her tattoos, which come from a system she has in place to allow kids to nominate potential tattoo designs. The idea came to her after she got an award at her high school class reunion in Louisiana for the “least tattooed member from the class of 1988.”

“I had been reading this book with my students that I thought there were all these really great, thoughtful lines in,” Vidrine said. “I would say [to my students] ‘y’all, don’t you see how magical this sentence is?’ And they would go ‘eh, it’s fine.’ As I was driving [home from my reunion], and thinking about the tattoo thing, I wonder[ed] if it would give them a reason to dig into a book and look for those kinds of lines if I made a deal with them.”

The deal was that if students were to pay attention and keep an eye out for memorable lines in the texts they read, then they could select these lines as possible tattoos that Vidrine would get.

“All year, I encourage students, when they’re reading, [to] keep your eyes open for these beautiful, elegant lines and phrases that you could take out of the book and they would still have meaning,” Vidrine said. “You put [the lines you find] in [a] jar, and at the end of the year, I’ll pick five of them [from the jar] and you can vote [which one] I’ll get as a tattoo.”

Students were doubtful that Vidrine would really get a tattoo, she said, so when she appeared with her first one on the last week of school in 2019, when she started this tradition, many were surprised.

“[My students] were pretty shocked,” Vidrine said. “I don’t think they believed me. They were amazed that I had done that. I’m going to have to quit teaching before I look like Post Malone.”

Vidrine’s husband was against the tattoo idea at first, Vidrine said, so it took a lot of convincing to get him on her side.

“My husband is not a tattoo person,” Vidrine said. “I had a very hard time getting him on board with this idea. He majored in English in college, so he appreciates the beauty of a sentence or phrase. He just didn’t think his wife should have a bunch of tattoos. He is a hundred percent fine with it, but he was not a fan of it at first. My mom was very horrified; she is probably still a little horrified.”

Her tattoos are also intended to show students how much her year-long teaching and interactions with them mean to her.

“I hope that I leave a mark on you in the very real way that you leave a mark on me,” Vidrine said. “You physically leave a mark on me, but you certainly leave a mark on my heart. I hope that I can have the same effect on you. I’m not asking you to go get a tattoo about your year in English II advanced with Mrs. Vidrine, but I want you to see physically where my students leave a mark, and it’s my intention that happens on the inside of you.”

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About the Writer
Photo of Kacey Miller
Kacey Miller, Editor-in-Chief

Kacey is a junior and third year reporter. She loves learning about her fellow students and writing about their stories. In addition to being a staff member for The Wolfpack, she is a UIL journalism competitor, the Cedar Park FFA Vice President and has a show lamb named Winnie. If she’s not at the barn or practicing for her FFA contests, she’s probably doing homework. You can find her at every football game, either in the stands or on the sidelines taking pictures. Some of her favorite memories are from reading the Bible with her little sisters. She plans to attend college somewhere cold, but also doesn’t want to be too far away from her family. Her favorite animal is a bear and sometimes she wishes she could hibernate like one.

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