Thursday, March 12, 2015

Amanda's First Post

A little over a year ago, my husband and I decided to try our hand at a Teachers Pay Teachers store. As teachers we all spend hundreds of hours each year above our contracted time to create activities for our little learners. We don’t think twice about the extra time because we love the kids. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for them. At the same time, when 5:30 comes around and we find that we have been at school for 10+ hours and just want to get home and get dinner made, we start to question how we are utilizing our time. 

 Why is it that some teachers are able to leave at 4:00? It was around this time that I was starting my second semester of masters classes. One professor continually told us to work smarter not harder. Leaving from work in the pitch black of winter I thought about this and how it relates not just to being a student, but also to being a teacher. We all have hundreds of great ideas that we have worked hard on, why not share them? So that is just what Andrew and I did when we started Teacher Treehouse. 

When summer came around and we were ready to put our feet up for a bit we began reflecting on Teacher Treehouse and felt we were not reaching many of the teachers who would benefit from the products we had created. We started this blog with the intentions of bringing our everyday struggles and celebrations within the classroom to life. Obviously, we haven’t gotten too far! There is something so intimidating about getting started. We create lessons, worksheets, and activities constantly as teachers so it didn’t seem like a big deal to start Teacher Treehouse on Teachers Pay Teachers. But writing blog posts- or writing for anyone other than children seemed very overwhelming.

 I am currently in my final months to finish my masters degree in education as well as my fifth year of teaching. The time demands of those first few years of teaching are still fresh in my mind, but I have learned a few things along the way that I am hoping can cut down on your after hours time wherever you are in your career. I still consider myself a new teacher. I am blessed to be in a school district that offers immense amounts of staff development. However, we all know that there is no one right answer in education and best practice is constantly evolving. 

 I am in no means an expert, but hopefully by working together we can best meet the needs of our little learners as well as have a little time left at the end of the day to enjoy with our friends and families.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How To Start Getting In Shape

We have all likely come across information, via some media outlet, whether it be television, internet, magazines, etc. on how to eat well, lose weight, and achieve our physical fitness goals. In fact, our media is saturated with health tips and advice. Yet, most of us struggle to adopt the lifestyle habits that are conducive to achieving optimal health. 

At a time in human history when we have more information at our fingertips than was even conceivable just a few decades ago, why is it that many of us have still not solved the issues related to our physical health?

I believe that our shortcomings are not a result of lack of advice or information. Most of us already know WHAT to do, the problem is that we fail to do it.

We all know that in order to lose weight we need to eat well and exercise. So why aren't we all eating healthy diets and exercising daily? Because we are human. We are not robots that can be easily programmed to operate in a specified way.

For me, physical fitness tends to come in waves. I get really motivated for a few months and I eat well, exercise and lose weight. Then the pendulum swings to the other direction and I go right back to a sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor eating habits.

Then, when the clothes start getting tighter and I begin to realize that I want to get back in shape, my initial tendency is to exhaustively research exercise programs and diets. I convince myself that I will be healthy once I figure out how to be healthy.

The truth is, I already know how to lose weight. There is no magic formula. I just need to get exercising, cut out the junk food and replace it with healthier options. Telling myself that it is a lack of knowledge is nothing more than a form of self-deception to aid in procrastinating the inevitable discomfort of breaking unhealthy habits.

Developing a sophisticated theory of healthy living is insufficient unless the theory is transferred into application.

So, I already know what to do. . . the question is, how do I get off of my butt and start doing it?

The answer: START SMALL

Sometimes our physical fitness goals can feel like a giant mountain looming in the distance. From the bottom of the mountain looking up to the peak, it can feel discouraging if not altogether impossible to get there. This discouragement can prevent us from ever taking the first step.

But remember: Rome was not built in a day.

I love immediate gratification as much as anybody. But any goal worth achieving is going to take time and patience. It is natural to start an exercise regimen and diet with a ton of intensity. We have all heard the phrase: "No pain no gain." The logic would follow that the harder I push myself the quicker the results will come. This is true. However, if you push yourself too hard in the beginning, you are going to lose your motivation. It is difficult to sustain. Therefore, I would suggest substituting intensity for consistency.

I have seen it repeatedly not only in my life but in the lives of those around me. We get extremely motivated to get back into shape and we shoot out of the gates at full speed. Then, we wake up the next day sore and fatigued and decide it is too much work to endure.

Let me give you an example of using the alternative approach of starting small.
Several years ago I was really out of shape. I was overweight and miserable. I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to start taking care of myself. So I got on the treadmill and jogged (slowly) for 1 entire minute. And that was it! That was my entire workout for the day.

Now, you may be thinking that it was a complete waste of time. And you know what, you might be right. Was that one minute of slow jogging going to transform my body that day? Absolutely not. But did I successfully complete the workout? Absolutely. Did I wake up sore the next day? Nope. Did I have the motivation and confidence to repeat the exercise the following day? You bet!

So the next day I got back onto the treadmill and ran for another minute. I did this every day for a week or two. Then, one day, I decided to go two minutes. Then, eventually, three minutes. Slowly, over time, I built a habit by being consistent. The intensity was low, but because of that I was able to sustain my motivation. I knew that developing the habit would be most beneficial in the long run.

Over time I slowly and consistently built up my confidence and endurance. 8 months after that first day on the treadmill I ran and successfully completed my first marathon.

Me posing with my dog after the marathon

In the spirit of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. Consistency is the key. And the key to sustaining the motivation to be consistent is by starting small and gradually building over time. Remember, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing! And if you climb a little each day, then one day you will reach the peak of the mountain!

In the comment section below, what helps you get motivated to workout and eat well?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Changing Education Paradigms

If you haven't seen this video, it is full of fascinating ideas.

In the comment section below, share what you think.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5 Surprisingly Great Supplements For Teachers

Have you been feeling tired lately? Stressed? Is the morning coffee just not giving you the boost of energy that you need? Ever wondered if there are any supplements out there that can reduce stress and give you energy? Well, you're in luck! Here is a list of 5 surprisingly great supplements for teachers!

(Link to the Amazon Product Page)
1. Green Vibrance

My wife makes us morning smoothies for breakfast each day. After some research I decided to purchase a container of Green Vibrance to add into the recipe. This stuff never fails to give me a boost of feel good energy that lasts for hours. And unlike coffee, there is no crash. I cannot rave enough about this product!

(Link to Amazon Product Page)
2. Vitamin D

Sometimes lethargy is a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Especially if you live in a colder climate, you may not be getting the sun exposure you need to regulate healthy levels of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D is great for bone and immune health, but most importantly, it makes you feel good. I find that this sunshine vitamin brightens my mood and gives me energy!

(Link to Amazon Product Page)
3. Vitamin B Complex

If you've ever looked at the nutritional facts of those popular energy drinks, they are loaded with B vitamins. That's because B vitamins give you energy. 

However, energy drinks also have a lot of other ingredients that aren't very healthy. So why not just supplement with vitamin B and eliminate all of the other stuff? Also, it is immensely more affordable than living off of energy drinks!

(Link to Product Page)
4. AdrenaCalm

Most people have never heard of this stuff. In fact, before it was recommended to me by a chiropractor, I had never heard of it either. 

This is a homeopathic cream that you rub on the back of your neck. Yes, I know, it sounds kind of ridiculous. Believe me, I was skeptical too. But when it actually worked, I became a believer!

This product provides the quickest way to reduce stress that I have ever tried.

(Link to Product Page)
5. Xtend (BCAA's)

A couple of years ago I was really into P90X. I noticed that I was constantly physically fatigued and I needed a way to recover faster from constant high intensity workouts. I did some research and discovered Xtend by Scivation.

Even though this supplement was created for people to take as they exercise, I find that it works great in the morning or during lunch too. This stuff provides the body with what it needs to function optimally. You will not only notice sustained physical energy, but also improved cognitive functioning.

If this doesn't help you stay one step ahead of your students, I don't know what will. I cannot recommend it enough! Don't worry, there is no caffeine! 

Your students have an endless supply of energy, why should you? Give some of these supplements a try and put a hop back into your step!

Comment below and share your favorite supplements!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

7 Awesome Summer Jobs for Teachers

Teacher's have long been envied for their "summers off" schedule. While many teachers take time to travel and spend time with family, many see it as an opportunity to earn some additional income. Here are 7 awesome summer jobs that you might want to take advantage of this summer!

1. Summer School

After 9 months of intense teaching, some teachers might be turned off by the idea of teaching summer school. But before you pass up this opportunity, consider some of the benefits of this part-time job: 1) You already have the skills 2) the hourly pay is going to likely be higher than most other part-time jobs 3) it will not consume your entire summer 4) and it gives you a chance to make a difference for struggling students.

2. Work at a Golf Course

Let's face it, summer is a time to relax and have fun. If you are looking for a part-time seasonal job that gets you working outdoors, then working at a golf course may be for you. And, the best perk of all is that most golf courses let employees golf for free!

Amanda and I have spent a couple of summers working at a golf course. The hours weren't bad, the weather was beautiful, the tips were surprisingly good, and the free golf was excellent. 

You will find that in addition to teachers, golf courses are also prime places to work for those that are retired and purely enjoy the free golf that comes with the job. Enjoy!

3. Daycare

Most teachers with children choose not to work because they want to spend time with their kids. Well, running a summer daycare could be a great way to make a little extra cash while still getting to spend your days with the kiddos. 

4. Start an Online Business

The internet is full of entrepreneurial opportunities that could potentially provide you with some nice supplementary income. In fact, some teachers exceed their teacher income with side-preneurial projects that take off. 

The problem many people face when motivated to start an entrepreneurial side-project is not having the time available to dedicate to getting it started. What better time to lay the groundwork than during a summer?

TeachersPayTeachers is an extremely popular website for tech-savvy teachers that are willing to share their classroom ideas with other teachers. The beauty of this model is that not only do you get to help other teachers, but you will generate revenue over the course of the school year without having to maintain the working hours. 

Here is a link to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to give you an example of what it's all about!

5. Craft Fairs

It's no secret that elementary teachers, as a whole, tend to be on the craftier side. Well, maybe the summer is the time to put those craft skills to use! 

Summer is the peak season for craft fairs. There are some upfront expenses, such as the cost of materials and price to rent out a booth at a craft fair.

However, if making crafts is already something you enjoy, then maybe it's time to share your passion with fellow craft-enthusiasts. 

And hey, enjoying the summer outside interacting with people that will appreciate what you do. . . could be fun!

6. Babysitting / Nanny Jobs

You're already great with kids, so maybe finding a part-time babysitting position would be fun. 

Amanda and I have both created profiles on, which is a site that helps parents connect with available babysitters. We have both had great experiences with this site.

In fact, Amanda began babysitting for a little girl several years ago that she found through this website and that little girl ended up becoming the flower girl in our wedding. Also, the girl's mom became our Realtor when we purchased our home.

7. Tutoring

After my aunt retired as a teacher, she began tutoring. Turns out she began making more money hourly than she ever did as a teacher.

You could choose to become employed by a tutoring service, or go freelance.

At any rate, you have worked hard this school year. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you give yourself a chance to rest and relax this summer!

In the comment section below, tell us about your favorite summer job for a teacher!

Monday, June 9, 2014


Welcome to the Teacher Treehouse Club!

This site was created to provide helpful tools and practical advice to help elementary teachers become healthier and happier.

As elementary teachers, we believe that when you feel good, you will have the energy and enthusiasm each day to more powerfully impact your students.


Andrew & Amanda

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