I'm Erin. I help teachers save time and enjoy teaching with practical, creative resources.

My name is Erin Sponaugle, and I am a 5th grade teacher and children's book author-illustrator. I have taught 5th grade for 15 of my 17 years of teaching, all in the same classroom! Fifth graders are my favorite because they are independent and are developing personalities and character traits that will follow them into adulthood. My favorite subjects to teach are social studies and writing. Our world is a fascinating place to learn about, and now more than ever our students need to understand how history repeats itself. I also enjoy integrating technology into my teaching, which has come in handy during this season of distance learning in education.

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:

© 2023 Erin Sponaugle - Next Chapter Press LLC. All rights reserved.