Blogger Spotlight: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
February 13, 2012 ~
In February, we’re shining the Blogger Spotlight on Crystal, the mind behind Surviving a Teacher’s Salary. Crystal has made it her mission to help parents and teachers find the best deals on educational and family needs that will help every family live happy, healthy lives. We took time to talk to Crystal and learn more about her experience as a blogger, mother and teacher’s wife. She also shared tips for running an efficient household, in the spirit of this month’s theme. Enjoy reading, and be sure to check out her blog!
Tell me about yourself — family, interests, etc.
I am currently a stay-at-home mom of two energetic little boys and wife of a second grade elementary school teacher. We love the outdoors, geocaching, going to the beach and reading books! I am a huge supporter of good education for our children and am secretly dreaming of traveling the world!
If someone only looked at Surviving a Teacher’s Salary once, what would you want his or her impression to be? What would you want them to take away from your blog?
I would want them to know that you don’t have to have a lot of money to live happy or to educate your children. Yes, providing them high-quality education can be rather costly, but there are also so many ways that you can help your children learn just from your own backyard. Be creative and proactive in your child’s education and saving money for your family. A little effort goes a long way!
Our theme for February is Efficiency. What’s your best tip for keeping your house and family working efficiently?
1. Cut out the things that eat up your family time and decide what is really important. You don’t have to do everything!
2. Put a calendar up where everyone can see it and use it. If it’s not on my calendar it doesn’t get done!
3. Delegate! Even though my children are young and my husband works, everyone has a job and pitches in.
How do you keep your kids focused and efficient when it comes time for homework?
We set aside a time for homework — after dinner when they are not hungry and they’re not sleepy! If we need to, we take short breaks in between bigger assignments.
Why did you start the blog?
I initially started Surviving a Teacher’s Salary just for a few teachers at my husband’s school. I was teaching a few of his co-workers how to use coupons and save money, as the pay in our district is pretty low. I never intended for my site to be a real growing blog. I’m not even sure when or how but shortly after I started my site it turned into much more than a little blog for just a few teachers. It turns out there are a lot of us in the same boat! You wouldn’t believe how many people are typing into Google “surviving on a teacher’s salary” on a daily basis just to find ways to make ends meet! Soon after I realized that my blog could be used to help not just a few teachers, but thousands of teachers and moms at home just like me, my mission quickly became clear. I wanted to help other people learn to live on their salaries and find better ways to stretch their budgets as well as incorporate a good solid love for learning for their children and students.
What’s your inspiration to continue blogging?
My inspiration to continue blogging comes from my readers. Hearing stories from my readers about how they were able to give their children a nice Christmas or birthday from the deals they found on my blog really makes me realize that I am making a difference for a lot of families. Helping teachers learn about new products for their classrooms that are either a great price or that are worth the investment. Hearing about parents incorporating educational technology and learning into their children’s everyday lives — it gives me hope for our children. Just knowing that there are many families out there like ours trying to make it from day to day really develops a supportive online community.
Juggling blogging and family can be difficult. How do you make time and prioritize?
It is a never-ending battle, to be honest. I try to preschedule my posts and my work when I know a family event or vacation is coming up. I’m always looking ahead and making a list of what needs to get done so that I can give myself guidelines and priorities. I have to stay very focused on exactly what I want to accomplish; otherwise I get a bit scatter-brained! In the end, though, my family always comes first, no matter what. I try to blog while the kids are sleeping and when my husband gifts me with extra time, and I juggle everything else the best I can! Sometimes I just close the computer and walk away — that can be the hardest part, but oftentimes the most rewarding! Blogging can be addictive — you always want to do better. And to be honest, there are many things that you’ll miss out on if you’re not right by the computer 24/7 — but there are also more important things that you’ll miss out on if all you do is stay online! My blog helps my family in many different ways, so it does keep me very busy, but by spending time with them, it sends an even bigger message of how much I love them.
Do you have any personal connection or experience with Kumon? If so, what are your experiences?
We LOVE Kumon workbooks! When my son was younger he had a fine-motor delay of 18+ months, which is a lot for a little kid! I discovered Kumon through their Maze workbook, which made a HUGE difference for my son. He absolutely loved the characters, which made him work really hard to get to the next fun maze. I found the increase in difficulty to be perfect for our needs and was thrilled that I never had to nag at my son to spend some time working on his fine-motor skills by using the Kumon Maze workbook! Since then Kumon has been our “go-to” brand for workbooks!