Keanna Funderburk is a fifth grade math, science and social studies teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, of course, her classroom looks a little different, with half of her students learning in-person, and the rest from home: “My roomies and my Zoomies, as I call them.” Here, she shares her go-to curly hair products, the joy of magnetic eyelashes, and the accessory she uses to keep her students’ attention…
When school is in session, what does your morning routine look like?
These days, I just get up, get dressed, do my hair, and go. I have naturally curly hair, so at night, I protect it by putting it up in big twists. Then, all I have to do in the morning is undo those twists and separate my hair to revive the curls. It keeps my hair-styling routine pretty simple. I bring a little makeup bag with me to school, and I do my makeup there, before the kids walk in.
What’s your typical makeup look for work?
It depends on how I’m feeling that day — you know, ‘look good, feel good.’ But since I’m in a mask all day, I usually just focus on my eyes. I start with a pencil liner on my lower lash line, then my shadow, and then I use liquid liner to do a cat eye on my eyelids. Lately, I’ve been loving Tart’s Tarteiste Double Take Eyeliner, which has both pencil and liquid liner, and neither of them smudge at all. For shadow, I’ve been using Tarte’s Chrome Paint Shadow Pot, in Park Ave Princess, which is like a gold pressed glitter. Glitter sounds intense, but it’s not. It’s the pop I need to make me look awake!
I imagine this school year is more challenging than most. Are you teaching in the classroom part of the time and remotely part of the time?
I’m doing both, at the same time. It’s called hybrid teaching. I have what I call my ‘roomies,’ who are my in-person students, and my ‘Zoomies,’ who are my students at home. I teach two blocks a day, and there are 30 kids in each block — about half of which are in person, and the rest remote. I’m teaching them all simultaneously. So, I’m wearing two hats at once.
Wow! How do you keep the kids engaged — which you and with their classmates?
I’ve realized that the most helpful thing is having all the students on Zoom, whether they’re in person or not. That way, when we split off into groups to do projects and activities, the remote kids and the in-person kids can collaborate. So, even though half the class is at home, it still feels like we’re all together. I can still connect with all the students, and they’re still building that classroom community. That’s how we’re making it work, for now.
How are you managing the infamous Zoom Fatigue?
I’m just powering through it. On Mondays I feel recharged, but by Friday I start to get headaches. But I just think about my students. They spend two hours in the morning with me, and then another two hours with another teacher. And whether or not they’re at home, they’re all using computers — not just for Zoom, but because, in terms of infection prevention, it’s safer than having them exchanging lots of papers and sharing supplies. As teachers, we have to walk a fine line, because they’re safest using a device, but at the same time, it’s not the healthiest thing for them. I just try to shake things up as much as possible, mixing up the groups and introducing new activities. But at the end of the day, yeah, we’re still looking at screens for hours. Every day is really challenging.
I notice you also seem to put a lot of effort into having a bright, fun look in the classroom.
Yes, my accessories — especially my colorful glasses and my earrings — are kind of my staple as a teacher. My students always comment on my earrings, and they’re always curious which glasses I’ll wear on any given day. That’s kind of the teacher persona I’ve taken on, and I enjoy it. It’s just a little something the kids can look forward to. I get most of my glasses from EyeBuyDirect, and for earrings I have some go-to Etsy stores.
Can you share some of your favorites?
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with pom-pom earrings. Some of my favorites are from Heartland Designs, Filthy Hippie, Rozie June, and Sydni Makes. I try to choose earrings that feel positive, especially right now, and I like ones that seem a little non-traditional — something that will grab the kids’ attention. Sometimes I’ll also look through Instagram ads and think, ‘Hmm, would someone else buy that? Probably not.’ If I can’t picture anyone else wearing them, then I buy them.
When you’re not in your teacher persona, is your look very different?
I don’t wear my glasses on weekends. And, outside of school, I might wear more face makeup. There’s a new NYX blush I’ve been loving called Sweet Cheeks. And for liquid foundation, I love Pat McGrath. It works so well, but it’s expensive, so I don’t want to use it every day. Gotta save the good stuff for the weekends!
I also notice you tend to have multicolored manicures. Do you do them yourself?
I taught myself during quarantine! I used to get a dip powder manicure every three weeks. When the shutdown started, I tried press-on nails — but those just weren’t working. So, I bought a starter kit and an e-file on Amazon — both of which were super affordable and user-friendly. There are also tons of color options (I have about 30 now). The starter kit comes with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, and I also watched some YouTube videos. Now I can do my own dip powder manicures at home!
That’s so cool! Did you pick up any other new beauty skills this year?
Yeah! I also started experimenting with magnetic eyelashes. They’re fun to play with. I use Ardell Magnetic Lashes, which come with a magnetic applicator. They’re easy to use and stay on very well.
You have such amazing skin, I have to ask: How have you managed to conquer ‘maskne?!’
Ha! My skincare routine is pretty simple actually. I have super oily skin, and I’ve found that using a foaming face wash helps fight that. These days I’m using the foaming acne cleanser from Tula, a probiotic skincare line. Then I use the Cryo Activating Hydra Gel from 111Skin, which is a gel moisturizer. It works well with my skin, so I’ve stuck with it for a long time. Occasionally, I’ll put on a little rosewater before my moisturizer. I keep it pretty basic.
Let’s talk hair care.
My wash-day routine always starts with As I Am’s Coconut CoWash, a cleansing conditioner for curly hair. After that I use a deep conditioner. Right now I’m using the one from Miche Beauty. I’m not loyal to any particular brand, but one thing I’ve been using for years is SheaMoisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie, which is a leave-in product that helps define my curls. Then for styling, I use Curl Smoothing Pudding from Mo Know’s, and then finish with an Eco Styler gel, just to hold it in place. I typically do my hair on Sundays, and then I don’t really have to use any other products during the week. Occasionally, I might refresh it with some leave-in conditioner (I use Miche Beauty) if my hair starts to feel a little crunchy. But other than that, I don’t have to do anything until it’s time to wash it again.
I notice you’ve shared books about topics like Indigenous Peoples Day and racial injustice in the U.S. — which is both a historical issue and a very present one. How do you handle subjects like that with students? Did you discuss the protests this summer, for example?
My students are more and more conscious of what’s going on in the world, so sometimes they’ll bring it up themselves. And when that happens, I try to just let them talk. So I’ll say things like, ‘Oh, wow, I really liked what you just said. We also have to listen to this other classmate’s opinion too.’ You know? We don’t have to agree. I want my students to not be like the adults they so often see on TV or Facebook — who can’t even hold a conversation because they’re too busy arguing. So, I try to let them speak amongst each other, and then I make sure to offer praise when I see them doing it well.
Aside from beauty, do you have any other daily routines or self-care habits that you’ve found helpful this year?
Social media has always been a fun place for me. I always considered it a hobby, but during quarantine, it grew into something more. I had more time to rally connect with people on it — share ideas with other teachers, and check in and see how people are doing. I’m naturally inclined to worry, and the thing I love about social media is that if I ever share feelings of doubt, there’s always someone there to uplift me. And when people feed that positivity into me, I have more positivity to offer others. That’s what I try to share — the good stuff. We’re all human, and it’s not realistic to expect that we’re always going to be happy and life’s always going to be great. But in those hard moments, it’s nice to know that there are people out there who support me.
Thank you so much, Keanna!
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