I’m excited to start a new and probably sporadic, series on the blog! It’s called “Meet My Friend…” and will showcase some of the amazing people the Lord has placed in my life! I seriously have some incredibly talented friends who are doing amazing things. A few of them even trust me enough to hire me, which is such a blessing! Chandra is a friend I met through Making Things Happen last Spring. I’m so blessed to know her, and am amazed at her talent. I’ll let her share a little about what she does, and I’ll share some images I took of her and her work!
Meredith: Tell everyone a little about yourself… you family, background, what fires you up!
Chandra: I’m originally a Midwest gal being born and raised in small town Ohio. I met my now husband Eric at Miami University (we’re “Miami Mergers”) and we headed south to Nashville so I could attend graduate school at Vanderbilt. We’ve lived here 7 years now and have a sweet (almost) 2 year old southern gentleman named Lincoln. My family definitely lights my heart on fire. But second to that is my passion for education, encouraging other teachers in the profession and a really good food truck (hello to the Grilled Cheeserie!)
M: What is C Jayne Teach?
Chandra: C. Jayne Teach is a blog and a shop intended to give a fresh perspective to our seasoned profession by encouraging all teachers to work hard, organize their plans and processes and focus on making the most out of their time in the classroom. I want to inspire teachers to concentrate on the passion that called them to teach in the first place and use that fuel to inspire their students and the future young minds of the world. C. Jayne Teach is there to offer simple classroom solutions so teachers can focus more on what matters most to them and always make each day count.
Meredith: What made you decide to start an online shop for teachers?
Chandra: I used to spend every evening and every weekend in my classroom. Honestly it burnt me out and made me not want to teach anymore (and I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 8). So I started to create products and classroom solutions for myself to use in order to organize and focus my time in the classroom. That way I could go home and spend time with my family and feel refreshed when I’d head back in the morning. After Lincoln was born I wanted to offer these solutions to teachers everywhere, so I created my shop and blog!
Meredith: Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and products?
Chandra: Most of it was created when I was in the classroom as a first grade teacher. But new things are always being created because I now teach at the collegiate level and I see the need products that will serve new teachers entering into the profession. There is a need now more than ever for teachers to stay focused because things are constantly changing and the level of accountability gets higher and higher each year.
Meredith: What sets your products apart? What makes them unique?
Chandra: All of my products are created by a teacher for teachers. I constantly receive positive feedback from teachers that use these products in their classroom and say that “finally someone gets it”. Because I’ve been there. I’ve felt the pressure of the profession and figured out how to be good and your job and still fill your heart up with your family and friends in your free time. And now I’m sharing it with others. For example, I created the Teacher Anchor™. It’s a planning system for teachers that allows them to streamline their processes and procedures, plan for all their students and monitor each student as an individual at the same time. There’s nothing like that on the market like that. Sure, there are hundreds of lesson planners, but none that are a “system” focused on the sole purpose of being intentional with your time. And that’s invaluable. Teachers see that and the Anchors flew off the shelf last year. They sold out in just under six weeks and I expect that time period to be even faster this year (pre-orders are open right now!)
Meredith: What are some of your favorite things to do with your family?
Chandra: I love to soak up time exploring Nashville. This is such a wonderful city and I know we won’t be here forever (Ohio calls our name louder and louder each year). But for now I love to visit the zoo and the botanical gardens and watch Lincoln explore and learn new things. And when we can sneak out for a date night, Eric and I love to visit new restaurants or see a concert at the Ryman. There is just so much to do here and I love exploring it all.
Meredith: What one piece of advice would you offer to new moms?
Chandra: You are doing a great job. And not every day will be perfect. That’s okay. I’m sure you’ve heard that “the days are long but the years are short” and it couldn’t be more true. There are joys and challenges with every season but you’ve got this.
Meredith: What advice would you give to new business owners or people who want to start their own business?
Chandra: “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” So often we see fancy websites and expensive collateral but try not to get caught up in that. Figure out where you want to invest your money and your time and go from there. You can’t do it all at once, but as your business grows, you’ll be able to add products or services or even those pretty letterpress business cards you want. But for now just start and don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Also, seek out and learn from as many entrepreneurs as you can. Take a webinar, visit a workshop, but learn from others (and pay them to share their knowledge – seriously, no one wants to give away their intellectual property for free! :)) I’ve learned the most about my business from people who have walked this path before me. And it’s been so beneficial.
And aren’t her resources for teachers just incredible and beautiful? I’ll never forget Chandra coming to visit me at my house just a couple of weeks after giving birth to Rachel. She shared those words, “You’re doing a great job,” and that simple phrase meant the world to me as a brand new mom! I’m so thankful for her wisdom as a mom herself and fellow business owner. She is working hard to make life happen and focus on what matters most. So excited about what my friends like Chandra are making happen! Now, go check out her work!