I'm Erin. I help teachers save time and enjoy teaching with practical, thoughtful advice on time management.
My name is Erin Sponaugle, and I am an art teacher and children's book author-illustrator. I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades for 17 years before making the change to teaching art. I have also written and illustrated two children's books.
My goal is to provide inspiration and resources for upper elementary teachers.
I have been as high and as low as one person could possibly be in the course of teaching career. A lifelong battle with anxiety threatened to derail my journey in education from the start. Regardless of how difficult things were, I held on to the belief that everyone's life has a purpose far greater than we can conceive. I kept learning and striving to be the teacher I wanted to be: someone that inspires others to be creative, resourceful, and motivated to make learning a lifelong endeavor.
The turning point in my teaching career was being named the 2014 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. It allowed me to see teaching from a perspective other than my own classroom. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to speak to countless teacher education students and beginning teachers about what they needed to be prepared to start their careers in the classroom. Suddenly, I saw a new direction and purpose for my role in education: helping teachers save time and prepare their classrooms with resources and guidance for our changing times. I didn't know where to start or even where to get started, but the fact you are reading this right now is that we are all on our way to finding peace and purpose in the profession of serving others.
You're more than a teacher - and so am I.
Another thing that was "awakened" in me in 2014 was a desire to create. I was inspired through a blog I wrote for students to write and illustrate a children's book about West Virginia. Although I hadn't drawn anything significant in over 15 years, I dug out my box of colored pencils from middle school and started Googling how to write a book! What began as a "maybe I can" project turned into The Adventures of Berkeley the Bear and the first publication of my publishing company, Next Chapter Press, to develop children's books and teacher resources for upper elementary teachers.
In 2019, I took my penchant for fun, quirky accessories and established Pencil Pieces, where I take colored pencils and upcycle them into unique jewelry for teachers and artists. Both of these endeavors have added balance and purpose to my life. Often we get so focused and overwhelmed with the role as educator that we forget we are a multi-dimensional person with goals and talents outside of our career. I hope through my blog and resources I inspire you to pursue the things you enjoy outside of the classroom in addition to being an effective teacher.
My wish is for you to find the the inspiration and guidance you need to engage your students and balance your life. Together, we're going to make it. Let's get started!
Some Media Links to Learn More About Me:
WVDE Press Release for WV Teacher of the Year (October 2013)
12th Man in Education Blog Post (February 2014)
EdSurge OpEd on Assessment (October 2014)
Herald Mail Author Q and A on Book Release (December 2017)
Martinsburg Journal Article on Book Release(October 2017)