In the busy world we live in, I think we all find ourselves juggling multiple roles on the daily. From being a mom or a dad, to a business owner, to an employee, whatever your situation is, we all struggle with finding that perfect balance. But in today’s episode, we’ll be chatting with the amazing Elise, who’s not only an incredible science teacher, but a dedicated mother and a scaling business owner. She’s all about making a difference in science education and nurturing the youth of today in the education journey, but our conversation today goes way beyond just her day job. From the challenges that come with doing it all to what the day to day really looks like to her advice for others wanting to follow in similar footsteps. It’s a conversation I feel so privileged to have facilitated, and I know that you will feel inspired and encouraged. Let’s dive into this conversation.
As a child, I adored science and outdoor exploration. However, my interest in science waned as I progressed through the education system, and I longed for more hands-on experiences. Today, as a biology teacher, I grapple with the challenge of teaching dry vocabulary and diagram labeling. Fortunately, there’s been a shift in education towards prioritizing hands-on learning and student-driven discovery, which I believe is crucial.
My aim as a science educator is to reignite students’ innate curiosity about the world. I want them to have the same fascination I see in my own children, especially my daughter, who’s a budding naturalist. By sparking their interest and encouraging exploration, I hope to not only engage them in the subjects I teach but also inspire more of them to pursue careers in science.
Beyond individual growth, I’m passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields, particularly for women who often lose interest in math and science early on. Supporting and providing a safe space for their STEM interests is vital for a more inclusive and innovative future.
After leaving the teaching profession for a brief stint in cancer research, I felt a strong pull to support science educators even while not in the classroom. This led me to create Keystone Science, my own platform to share the high-quality resources I had developed over the years. Initially, it started as a hobby, a way to stay connected to teaching, but it truly gained momentum when I returned to teaching in the challenging year of 2020.
With the changing landscape of science education over the last decade, I’ve been focused on providing effective, engaging resources to teachers. My goal is to help educators balance content delivery with nurturing students’ curiosity and relevance, making science come alive for them. What began as a small side project has now become a passion project that I’m actively sharing on social media and through an email list, all while continuing to cherish my time in the classroom.
Our typical week is quite a whirlwind, especially during the school year. My day kicks off around 7:15 AM when I have to head out. Unfortunately, teaching doesn’t allow for much flexibility in arrival times, so I need to be punctual. It’s tough, and there are moments when my kids want me to stay just a bit longer, but that’s just how it goes.
My husband, who shares parenting duties equally, takes them to daycare. After school, I stay late to prep for the next day, a practice I adopted since returning to teaching. I ensure everything’s ready to roll when I walk in the next morning.
Once the school day ends, I usually have a window from 3 PM to 6 PM. During this time, I can either focus on my business or take a much-needed mental break. After picking up my daughter, we have a family dinner, followed by the bedtime routine, typically ending by 8 PM.
After that, depending on the day, I might spend quality time with my husband or dive back into my business until around 10:30 PM. Weekends used to be filled with work, but I’m working on scaling back this year, although it’s not always avoidable when building a business. Throughout this hectic schedule, my husband and I share responsibilities and support each other, making it all possible. It’s not always easy, but we make it work.
The most challenging aspect for me is undoubtedly staying organised amidst the chaos. Whether it’s juggling my daughter’s school events or managing my business tasks, I’ve struggled with remembering important dates and keeping everything in order. However, I’ve been actively addressing this issue over the summer break from teaching, focusing on improving my business operations, especially with my recent efforts to scale.
One lifesaver I’ve discovered is Airtable, it’s basically an amped up Google sheet or Excel file that acts as a centralised database for me. It’s been a game-changer in helping me streamline and organise various aspects of my work. I’ve also strated using an AI calendar scheduler that not only places tasks on my calendar but also sets due dates, reducing some of the mental clutter.
My husband and I have also set up a shared Google calendar to coordinate our schedules, ensuring we’re both aware of each other’s commitments and any impact on childcare duties. Effective communication between us is crucial, especially as we both navigate the challenges of scaling our respective businesses.
It’s vital to have a genuine passion for what you’re pursuing in business rather than solely focusing on making money. I really think if you go into a business just trying to make more money, you’re not going to stick with it because it’s not about the product- it’s about the outcome. So you need to find something that you really enjoy doing, that there is a need for. The money will come.
Building a support system is another crucial aspect. As it started to grow, we were out for my birthday dinner and I said to him, look, this is my vision. I really want this to become a thing, and I really, I really feel passionately about this. So for my birthday, he registered my business for me, he bought me a domain for a new website. So you know, you’ve got to find your support system. And they should not only encourage your ambitions but also provide honest feedback.
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