Deep Dive with @JenniferGeigel

For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we’re interviewing teacher and content creator, @JenniferGeigel!

Jennifer shares snippets of her day to day life, her experiences as a teacher, and advice for new teachers. When she’s not teaching, you can find Jennifer gardening and painting! In this interview, we talked with @JenniferGeigel about her advice for other teachers/content creators, her goals for #TeachersofClapper, her experience as a teacher, and more!

Keep reading this Deep Dive to follow this creator’s inspiring story. Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @ClapperCreator account to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live radio show: Clapper Talks.

Tell us a little more about yourself! What does a day in your life look like?

We’d need more than hour, but I’m going to shorten it. My name is Jennifer Geigel, I am from Ontario, Canada, so I do use a lot of #ClapperCanada in my content. I have two children and a husband – we’ve been married for 24 years – and I’m a teacher. I taught art for about 19 years; now I’m a special education teacher and teach children with autism. This is the 10th year of that, and my daughter Emily is what got me involved. She has autism and we did so much work with her because she was nonverbal for a long time. Emily had such great achievements and I knew I could do that with the students at school. I sometimes incorporate art into my current teaching, but I love teaching children with autism.

And I do a lot of content creation on different platforms – Clapper is my favorite! My family is so used to it. They know I’m always trying to get some content and they’re very patient with me. I also have 19 streams of income and everyday I work on 5 or 6 of those things. A lot of my income streams revolved around teaching something or other. I have ADHD and can’t sit still; if I focus my energy on a variety of things, it keeps my mind busy. And if I can keep my mind busy with something that’s money making, it also doesn’t feel like I’m wasting my time! 

You’re such a busy woman. What do you like to do in your spare time, when you’re not teaching or creating content?

I would say that’s where the art comes in. I love painting, I love drawing, and I have my Bachelor’s in visual arts. I’ve always loved visual arts, ever since I was a little girl I’ve been very creative. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m always drawing and painting and coloring. I’ve been creating my own math coloring books and I actually love it. I will sit there for hours planning and creating these books. That’s kind of how I incorporated some teacher materials into things the students might want to finish the math to color the page!

And I love gardening, it’s so relaxing. This is where the sunflowers come in. They’re my favorite flower because they represent growth and happiness and they will always face the sun. They’ll turn their heads to face the sun and I think that’s a reminder to stay positive. Because when my daughter was diagnosed with autism, it was really hard on our family. We could have made it into something depressing, but we turned it around. We made the choice to face the sun, so that’s why I like sunflowers. They remind me every day to look at the world in a positive light. And gardening reminds me of that as well.

What inspired you to start creating content, and why did you decide to create teaching content instead of some other aspect?

My content is a little about everything. It’s a little about everyday life as a teacher and I’ve kind of created the hashtag #TeacherOnVacation to show what I’m doing on vacation. It’s funny because I’m always trying to teach something – even when I’m on vacation! I love adding teacher content, talking about autism and trying to bring some awareness. My daughter loves to add her two cents. And I do have some art posts as well, like recently I did a step-by-step of how to do a hedgehog. Of course, I like to teach about multiple streams of income! A lot of people are interested and want to learn how to get started.

Being a teacher isn’t easy, so can you tell us a bit more about how you balance being a teacher and content creator?

Being a teacher is not easy. I’m often exhausted and that’s where I have to find the time to do some content creation. I have to find these little blocks of time – and when I’m talking blocks of time, I teach in two different buildings and sometimes I’m filming when I’m walking to the next building. And I think that’s the biggest challenge. You don’t punch-in in the morning and punch-out in the afternoon. When you get home you might have some work to do or assignments to grade, your brain never shuts off. Finding those pockets of time are the most challenging part of doing both, because your brain is so full of your days work as a teacher. This is where finding inspiration in every day things can help, but also just talking about your day as a teacher.

So, when did you join Clapper? How did your journey as a creator begin?

I joined Clapper in April, and at first I didn’t want join another app because I’m already busy. But I had a friend that said I had to come on. So I joined and I was so happy to meet the amazing people here. I’ve met amazing friends on here who have become almost family to me. I check up on them everyday, I really care for them, and we became a tight knit group. And people are so nice, no matter if they have 200 or 200,000 followers. The Multi Lives have been so fun to get together and chat. I’m very impressed by the team themselves, that we can send messages, that we can come up here and talk. You guys are so friendly! And I love that we can monetize. It’s giving me the passion to create more than I ever did on other platforms.

You mentioned the hashtag #TeachersofClapper. Can you tell us more about what you’re hoping accomplish with this hashtag?

I noticed there wasn’t a #TeachersOfClapper hashtag, and I thought there needed to be more teachers on here. I’ve been searching for teachers and following them, seeing if we can collaborate. Maybe new teachers are looking for inspiration, maybe people with children are looking for inspiration. And teachers are the backbone of society when you think about it. I mean, those children are going to school 6 – 7 hours a day from the time they’re 3 or 4 all the way until they’re in college. You’ve got this great population of people who depend on teachers to take care of the children and make them grow. So I wanted to add awareness about teachers and our important job of molding all these minds that will be our future lawyers and doctors and construction workers and taxi drivers. And #TeachersOfClapper can help.

What do you enjoy most about Clapper? In what ways do you feel like Clapper needs improvement?

Hands down, the Clapper Lives are my favorite feature. Just to be able to go Live with 9 people is so fun! I’ve been doing trivia nights, painting, and all kinds of stuff on these Lives.

One thing that I would love: when you go into a Live you have a chat, and I would love to see a chat option in Radio! Because right now I don’t know what any of the listeners are thinking, maybe they have a reaction to something we’re saying. It would be really cool to have a chat option in the Radio.

Who would you say has helped you the most on your content creation journey? They can be on Clapper or otherwise!

That’s easy: my husband David! He is so patient with me when I’m like “don’t eat that, we need to film it first – hold this, no hold it this way!” He and my family have been so patient with me and I think that needs to be mentioned. And I also have my supporters, they have had my back. If I post something or need them to check something out, they’re there. I posted I was going to be on Clapper Talks and they were right there! I feel bad if I don’t mention everybody, there’s so many people that have helped me.

What advice would you give teachers that want to be content creators?

What I would say is start even by having a little notebook. Children say the craziest things, and silly or serious things might happen throughout the day. If you just write them down and note it, you can remember to talk about it and make a post about it. We are bombarded by a bunch of content ideas, it’s just a matter of keeping track of them and going for it. I never show my students in my videos, but I’ll put my classroom in my videos. Also, you have to think that you could be inspiring parents and other teachers. There’s a lot of people that are either teachers or parents, so easily you have a really big base of people that might be interested in your content. We are very lucky as teachers to have all of these experiences everyday that make for great content.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Jennifer Geigel– if you haven’t already, give her a follow! To meet @RekaMihaly, check out our last Deep Dive.