Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser owns the Curriculum Solution Center where she does teacher professional development, consulting, and peer coaching.
Your Side Gig?
I own the Curriculum Solution Center and have a Teachers Pay Teachers shop.
Tell us a little about your work.
My home is my office, but consulting and training take me all over the place. I do traditional face-to-face professional development, online learning, and have been piloting a blended PD–coaching model for Pennsylvania teachers. I primarily work through contracts with the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
What led you to work outside the classroom?
I was raising two small children and wanted to be able to still teach, but also be a mom first and foremost.
What advice do you have for other teachers who want to do what you do?
Just jump! Also, humility is nice, but you have to be a bit braggy and overconfident to make it as a consultant. So submit the conference applications and own your knowledge and expertise.
What's the biggest mistake you've made and what did you learn?
Oh boy… I think the biggest mistake was that I was asked to teach a course on a topic that I didn't know enough about (supervision regulations in childcare) and I took the job because I needed the money. I think I really hurt my credibility because I couldn't answer questions about some of the more particular nuances.
If you could go back and give your 20-year old self some advice, what would it be?
Roll with it and trust that you will land on your feet. I've taught in schools that have closed and then worked for a non-profit that closed. Those transitions were scary when the future didn't have job security. It's okay.
If your FUTURE self in 20 years could look back at where you are today, what advice might the Future You offer the Current You?
Love the moment and don't sweat the small stuff.
Which resources do you rely on the most?
NAEYC books, ASCD books, and Better Kid Care courses from Penn State for my work life. For my personal life, I love getting reassurance from mom bloggers that it's okay to feel overwhelmed and crazy. I also rely on a good bottle of wine from our local business, does that count as a resource? ;)
When are you the happiest?
Sitting on a beach, book in hand.
Do you have a favorite quote or expression?
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
What 2-3 Books Do You Consider Must Reads?
Coaching with Powerful Interactions and Teach, Reflect, Learn have been pretty transformative for me in the past two to three years. I also still love to revisit Teacher Talk by Chick Moorman.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do, be, or try?
I think the crazy missteps were learning opportunities… so even though there were moments of frustration and tears, they were worth it and I'm better for it.
What are the 2-3 most important work-related purchases you've made in the last year?
My ZTE Spro 2 projector. It's great for an itinerant teacher to have a projector that fits in your purse! Also, I ordered a lot of awesome STEM materials from Ward's Science and Lakeshore Learning.
You're being shot at dawn; what's your last dinner request?
Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizza, Yeungling beer, and then IHOP crepes for dessert.
Are there specific resources you use that you'd recommend to others?
YouCanBookMe.com is great for having clients schedule.
What's your next goal?
Immediately, probably to organize the tubs of teaching supplies that are taking over my basement. A bit more long-term, I really want to get back to work on my doctoral degree.
Anything else you'd like to share with other teachers who want to follow in your footsteps?
Find your tribe to support you. Whether it's local colleagues or a social media group, you need to find the people who are doing the same thing and have survived.
What's one additional question we should ask and how would you respond?
Why do you think so many teachers are branching into blogging and selling lesson plans? I think one reason is that this isn't exactly a lucrative field, so money is one incentive… but I think another big drive is that teachers are just naturally gregarious with sharing their amazing ideas. The best teachers I have known are the ones who are also the most supportive and helpful towards their peers.
This teacher profile is part of SimpleK12's Extra Teacher Income series, where we interview educators about the things they're doing outside of the classroom, for both enjoyment and also a little bit of cash. To read more in this series go here, or to suggest your own story and a possible profile, go here.
If you have any questions for Leigh Anne or anything else related to this topic (and there will be more extra teacher income profiles and stories coming soon), please leave them below in the Comments.
For a different extra teacher income story, check on what Heather Brandon (blogging and educational consulting) is up to.
Or, follow along with full-time college prof, Dustin York, and his many side gigs.