I’m Elizabeth, but my friends (that’s you!) call me E.
I love Jesus, my husband, my two kids, my job, and cute things – usually in that order. 😉 I’m a Clemson grad (GO Tigers), a paper planner junkie, and a chips and salsa aficionado.
Teaching Sam and Scout is my “un-Photoshopped” internet living room where I write about my life as a mom and high school English teacher and everything in-between. I try to share my best tips and ideas for the classroom or for juggling everything at home, but I’m also totally not afraid to laugh at myself when it all goes awry. I hope you’ll kick off your shoes and stay awhile!
Read my first post – Introducing Sam & Scout – here, and scroll down for some FAQs +
more than you ever cared to know 35 random facts about me.
What does the blog title mean?
“Sam” is my little boy’s name, and it represents my role as a mom. (Yes, we plan to have more kids; and, when we do, “Sam” will still symbolize that realm of my life.) EDITED TO ADD: We welcomed our girl Nora Kent on March 23rd, 2015. So far, she hasn’t said anything about her name not being in my blog title.
“Scout” is the name of the main character in my favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. So, “teaching Scout” represents my role as a high school English teacher. (Incidentally, although I love the book, I’ve never actually taught To Kill a Mockingbird to actual students – it’s traditionally an eighth grade book. Like “Sam,” “Scout” is just one name to symbolize lots of different books and lessons I teach in the classroom.)
Who did your blog design?
I’ve been working with Erika for several years, and I seriously can’t recommend her highly enough. She is THE BEST! To request a quote, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her I sent you!!
Do you make money off your blog? How?
Yes. I make money through my own affiliate links (primarily via ShareASale) and the Blogher Publishing Network. Blogher runs the main ad on my sidebar and also adds affiliate codes to some of the links in my posts. In addition, every once in a while, I write a sponsored post for a Blogher affiliate company, and I get paid for that. I also sometimes get free things in exchange for a link and/or review on my blog. Any time content is sponsored or I receive some other “perk,” I always disclose that, and I’m super picky to make sure I only represent products/brands that I truly use and love. Promise! *You can read my full disclosure statement about ads on my sidebar if you’re interested.
Deciding to have ads on this blog was not a decision I took lightly. In the end, I decided to do it to help “fund” my blogging hobby and allow me to do it (at the level I want to) without being a financial burden. Believe it or not, blogging isn’t a “cheap” thing to do. Between hosting fees, blog-design, and conferences, etc. things add up quickly. The money that I make here helps to make up for some of those costs and values the time I invest in this sp just a little bit. (Sometimes I also use money from my blog to pay for “extras” like mini-vacations with my family, fancy day planners, and big birthday parties for my kids.)
All that said, believe me when I say I’m NOT getting rich here. Now, if someone wanted to pay me millions of dollars to blog, I wouldn’t turn it down; but, for now, I’ve got no plans of quitting my day job! If I did, what would I blog about?!? 😉
What planner do you recommend? Pens?
My favorite planner right now (and the one I’ve been using for the last two years) is Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner. I’ve also written about five others you might enjoy here, plus one of my most popular posts ever – “An Alternative to the Erin Condren Life Planner” – can be found here.
My very favorite pen EVER is the Pilot VBall Extra Fine Point. I literally am NEVER caught without one. Warning: You will never be able to use another pen again.
Can you recommend any other good blogs for teachers?
Yep! Check out this post for a list of my favorite blogs for secondary teachers – I try to update it frequently! And, if you write a blog for secondary teachers and/or know of a good one I missed, please let me know!!!
***I also highly recommend my friend Linda’s online course, Classroom Management 101, which can be accessed here.***
How do you feel about your students (and other “real life” friends) reading your blog?
This is a tough one. Really, I try not to think about it much and pretend like they don’t. 😉 In reality, I think many of my students (and former students) know about my blog, and lots of my friends in “real life” read it. I try to view that as a good thing and use it as a filter for my writing (if I wouldn’t be comfortable with a parent or my principal reading it, I usually don’t write it) and as an example for my students of authentic writing. (I’m practicing what I preach so to say.)
I’m proud of what I publish here, so I don’t worry too much about who reads it; but, I am careful to be sure I’m always being respectful to my family, my students, my employer, and myself.
*I also made my main Instagram account private recently. Read more about that decision here.
Why do you never talk about your husband?
To be frank, because he prefers it that way! Jeff’s not nearly the “open book” I am, so out of respect for him, I use this blog to tell MY story, not his. Rest assured that he is still a HUGE part of my life, and we are very much a team in everything we do. (He is also a loyal reader and editor of my blog.) *For more on him, our relationship, and my decision to not blog about him much, read this post.
How do you keep up with a blog and still have a job/family/social life/ etc.?
The truth? Not.very.well.
I’m being serious. I’m a firm believer that we make time for the things that are important to us. I really love blogging, so I make time for it. But, I admit that sometimes I sacrifice having clean laundry or getting in a workout in order to blog.
I do most of my writing after my kids are in bed or while I’m eating lunch at school, then I schedule them to “go live” at a particular time (usually early morning). I also try to keep a few posts in my “drafts” in case I don’t have time to blog one day. Ultimately though, I’ve relaxed my standards about blogging a lot, and I don’t stress if I go several days without posting or the blog gets neglected at times. In the end, this is a hobby, NOT a job, and I try to keep myself in check with that. I blog because I enjoy it, and if it ever starts feeling more like an obligation, it will probably be time to quit.
35 Random Facts About Me:
1. I married my high school sweet heart (Jeff) after four years of long-distance dating through college. We are pretty much the epitome of “opposite’s attract.”
2. We live in our hometown and see both of our families multiple times a week.
3. I try to love people like Jesus did – even if they are totally different from me and want nothing to do with Him.
4. My sister called me ‘E’ when we were little. Then, I was reunited with my best friend from preschool (I know, can you even have best friends in preschool?) in college, and she made the nickname stick. I’m pretty sure many of my college-friends don’t know what E stands for.
5. I graduated from Clemson University in 2006 with a degree in communications, then started a Master’s program in English immediately afterwards at Radford University. Now, I teach English in our school district’s STEM Academy Center for Mass Communications – it’s pretty much a dream job.
6. I’m an avid reader, but I’m really NOT that fond of classic literature. (Give me all the Jodi Piccoult and Lianne Moriarty!)
7. I’m still crying about Parenthood ending, and I’m not ashamed (OK, maybe a little) to say I love The Bachelor.
8. Jeff & I have one son, Sam, who was born in 2011 and completely rocked our world and one daughter, Nora, who was born in 2015 and restored our hope in our parenting skills. 😉 They both are the best things to ever happen to us.
9. Before we had Sam, we were totally those people who treated their dog like a child. Addy (the greatest & most tolerant golden retriever ever) is still a huge part of our family, but we feature Sam & Nora on our Christmas cards now too.
10. I have a bit of shopping problem – specifically a stripes, polka dot, gingham, chambray, monogram, statement necklace, and colored pants problem.
11. I stay in touch with 11 of my BEST friends from college. They live all over the country, but we stay in touch via Voxer and see each other every year(ish).
12. Pre-baby, I was extra Type A. Post-baby, I swung to the other end of the spectrum and was borderline train-wreck for a while. I’m trying to land somewhere in the middle now.
13. E, Myself, and I was my first blog love. I wrote there for almost five years until I forgot to renew my domain and someone else swiped it up. This blog is the lemonade of those lemons. (Check out this post for some thoughts on re-branding, starting a new blog, etc.)
14. I tend to over-commit and over-share. Jeff keeps me (mostly) in line.
used to be am addicted to diet coke. Now, I just also drink a lot of coffee with sweet creamer.
16. In college, Jeff and I studied abroad for a semester in London. I fell in love with Shakespeare and travel there.
17. I wouldn’t consider myself a night person or a morning person, but if I had to choose, I’d pick an early morning over a late night any day. I like my sleep and function best on about nine hours. Also, I take a nap whenever the opportunity presents itself.
18. Being on time is not one of my strengths.
19. I don’t usually enjoy crafting, cooking, or couponing, but I seriously admire those that do. (I did win a Frugal Cooking Competition once though. THAT was funny.)
20. I really like to decorate, but about 90% of my furniture and decor is from Ikea, Target, or handed down from my parents.
21. I have neat handwriting.
22. My Myers-Briggs Personality Type is ESFJ. (I wrote about it here.)
23. I have one sister. She’s like my much cooler, much trendier alter-ego. She gives me her old make-up and tells me the truth when I ask if my outfit looks OK. 😉
24. I can quote just about every line of Steel Magnolias and had an armadillo groom’s cake at our wedding.
25. I collect yellow books.
26. I’ve been known to pull an all-nighter at the end of the nine weeks. #Imnobetterthanmystudents
27. I got my “teacher gene” from my mom who is an elementary school teacher. (P.S. I have SO much respect for her – and anyone that does that job – but I COULD NOT do it.)
28. I hesitantly made the switch to a Mac in 2012 and haven’t looked back since. I’m like an Apple-addict now.
29. I accidentally let someone give me bangs when we were in London, and I’ve had some variation of them ever since.
30. My fashion philosophy can be summed up in four letters: WWRW? What Would Reese (Witherspoon) Wear?
31. I am SO much happier when my house is clean.
32. “Running Errands” is one of my favorite pastimes, and my dream day involves Starbucks and unlimited time to wander Target. I don’t ask for much.
33. My family heritage is Irish and my pale skin and freckles are a dead giveaway.
34. According to my students and lots of other people, I say the word “hilarious” a lot.
35. I have time to blog because I let my laundry and papers to grade pile up. 😉