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Jenna Leigh Tait

American Ingénue

103

7

Earning through Learning

My Story

I am an educator. I have always been excited by learning (I love to read, explore, and "know things") and I decided at age 5 that I wanted to be a teacher. I bounced around other ideas - like writer, architect, and rockstar, to name a few - because I have always been drawn toward the creative life (though I am not necessarily naturally talented) but I stuck with the "plan" and pursued a degree B.A. in History and later an M.S. in Education. I became a high school social studies teacher and now have five years of classroom experience under my belt. 

I really enjoyed my teaching job but after moving out west with my husband last summer when I was 4 months pregnant, I decided I wanted to stay home with my baby (and any more that are to come). My son was born in January 2015. Although I am at home, I want to keep working for several reasons: 1. I am passionate about learning and education, 2. I want to stay "relevant" to my field in case I want to get back in the classroom in the future, 3. I crave intellectual and creative stimulation outside of my child, and 4. I appreciate being able to contribute to my family financially.

Since I relocated to Colorado in the summer of 2014, I have been working as a freelance educational writer, working on projects as a contractor for two companies. My projects have involved assessment writing, history review guides, and instructional design. I have also been tutoring a couple students for supplemental income, which is something I did while I was a full-time classroom teacher as well. I would like to expand my freelancing business to give me more regular work, since it is currently very sporadic, but am not exactly sure the best way to go about marketing my skills and expanding my client base. I am also hoping to become a bit more focused in what I do (so far I just do whatever work I am offered by the two companies I contract with) so that I can determine where to develop my skills and any education I might want to seek out in the future.

What am I good at?

I struggle with distinguishing between where I am truly gifted and where I would like to be gifted. I have always been a very goal-oriented person and sometimes I set my sights on things that are alluring but might not be the best-suited to my strengths. I have struggled with finding my "true calling" because I have yet to find that perfect intersection of my talents and my passions...I am still a work in progress.

Here are some things I am fairly confident that I am good at: communicating (especially through writing), language, caring for others, learning/absorbing information, organization, lesson planning

Here are some things that I would like to be better at: photography, typography and design (it is something I enjoy and I want to provide more visually appealing products), web design, assessment writing, copyediting

How do I want to spend my time?

I intend to spend a good portion of my day at home playing and exploring with my son, but I want dedicated "work time" in the early morning and at night when my son is asleep or my husband is at home. I will be able to spend more time working throughout the day when my son is a bit older and happier playing on his own. When working, I enjoy sitting with my laptop and a hot beverage in my "thinking chair" or going to a coffee shop. I also need a good amount of time to read and to "brainstorm" for my job, which I like to do while on a walk or hike. Though there will be times that I need to collaborate on a project, in generaly I expect (and prefer) to work on my own.

What do I want to produce?

As a professionally trained and experienced teacher, I believe I am qualified to provide high-quality educational content. This includes curricula, lesson plans, readings, activities, and assessments. The companies I contract with have me creating materials that will be accessed by a very large number of people, but I would also like to work with smaller clients (individual school districts, for instance) to provide more specific content that will be used in classrooms as opposed to online or through major publishers. 

How will others benefit from working with me?

I believe that my experiences, along with my natural talents for communication and organization, help me to produce materials that are stimulating, standards-aligned, and accessible to teachers and students. Others will benefit from working with me because I can provide content that will engage students while helping to address learning goals. I can alleviate some of the pressure on teachers to create exciting, appropriate lesson plans (especially new teachers who are creating plans from scratch). I can give school districts access to curricula that is standards-aligned yet tailored for their specific needs. I will provide students with readings that are informative but also fun to read and easy to understand. 

How will I make myself known to others?

This is one of the areas I find most challenging. As a freelance contractor, I am currently handed projects by the two companies through which I work. I would like to branch out a bit on my own to find projects that are more specific to what I am looking for and enjoy, but I have no experience with marketing other than through word of mouth. I am slightly intimidated at putting myself out there and am also not exactly sure the best avenues to do this as an educator. I have a website (a blog) but it is currently geared toward personal/family content. I would like to create a separate professional website and also to offer products through TeachersPayTeachers.

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