Get to Know Me Q&A!

Get to Know Me Q&A!

What’s up, teacher-friends?! Long time, no post!

When I first made this blog, I had such high expectations for myself. Well, reality set in REAL quick & I abandoned this blog. People frequently ask, “How do you do it all?” Reality is that I don’t. I am really good at saying “yes” to everything & I constantly have a new project I’m working on. (Everyone has their flaws, right?!) This school year has also been super challenging for me with all new curriculum. My number one focus has been on my classroom and my students. Unfortunately, that means that my Teachers Pay Teachers and blog have been slacking. (Just a friendly reminder that nobody can “do it all” and we are all human!) My goal for 2019 is to post 2-4 times a month! Keep me accountable! Let me know in the comments what posts you want to see!

Let’s play 20 questions! I asked you guys on Instagram to ask me “Get to Know Me” questions! Here we go…

The Basics:

What do you teach? 6th grade science

How long have you been teaching? This is my 4th year

Do you coach or sponsor anything at school? I coach 8th grade softball, high school softball, & am in my last semester of my Master’s Degree

Let’s get a little more in depth:

Did you always know you wanted to teach middle school?

Nope! I majored in elementary education & was determined to teach Kindergarten. Yikes! In college I started working at an after school program & was a camp counselor in the summer. I quickly realized that kindergarteners can’t tie their own shoes or cut paper?! I started gravitating towards the older kids & realized middle schoolers were for me. I will never look back!

How did you come up with your Instagram handle?

“Maniacs in the Middle” was born 2 & a half years ago. I lived with my two best friends, Kelli (@sandersinsecond) & Lisa (@abcswithmissc). We all just ended our first year of teaching & had been following/stalking teachers on Instagram all year. We made a deal to all make one at the same time so the people in our real lives wouldn’t make fun of us as much, & if we fail, we all fail together! I knew I wanted something about middle school. Whenever I tell someone I teach middle school they always say, “You’re crazy! You’re a maniac!” So, Maniacs in the Middle was born.

How tall are you?

I am 5’9’’. This surprises everyone who meets me in real life. The number one comment I get when someone meets me is, “I had no idea you were so tall!” Apparently Instagram makes it look like I am short?!

Advice for a new teacher searching for a job?

Breathe! Apply for everything you are interested in! People told me to just “apply for everything” but I knew I only wanted middle school science. I only applied for middle school science jobs. After you apply, email the principal introducing yourself. Connections, connections, connections. Unfortunately, most people get hired because they know someone who knows someone. During student teaching, make as many connections with teachers, administrators, and parents as possible. You never know how that could help you! Stand out! My resume was not a “traditional” resume. It had color, was 2 pages, & “looked like me.” When I was in my interview they said they knew I was creative by the look of my resume. Make a website about yourself that you can put on your resume or in the email to the principal. Job searching is stressful! Be you & you will rock it.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? You look so put together!

I’ve always lived by the motto, “Look good, feel good!” I HATE pajama day because I feel so comfy & so unmotivated to do anything besides watch Netflix all day. When I am dressed nice & look presentable, I am motivated & ready to conquer the day! On school days it usually takes me about 10 minutes to do my makeup & 10 minutes to do my hair. On non-school days, I love to take my time getting ready & watch YouTube tutorials as I’m doing my makeup. Hair & makeup is a fun hobby of mine!

What’s your workout routine?

OrangeTheory!!! I have been going to OrangeTheory for 2 years. OrangeTheory is a 60 minute workout class. It is 30 minutes of treadmill & 30 minutes of weights, rowing, & TRX bands. I go about 3-4 times a week. I burn an average of 500-600 calories each time! This is the first workout routine that I have stuck with EVER. I love going & it kicks my butt every time, even after two years of going. Yes, it is expensive, but as I said before, it is the first workout that I actually enjoy & have stuck with. The coaches are so nice and really push you. It is such a positive environment & it is truly for all fitness levels. I have seen such a huge change in the toning of my body. This could also be a totally separate post. Go try OTF & let me know how you love it! You will be hooked!!

What are your favorite places to buy clothes for school?

H&M, Old Navy, Loft, Madewell, JCrew, JCrew Factory, Apricot Lane Peoria. I am starting to find boutiques that have cute & reasonable clothes for school too. What are your favorite online clothing boutiques?I love places that give teacher discounts too! Madewell, JCrew, & Loft all give teacher discounts with your ID! We can’t talk about clothes for school without talking about teacher tees! Lipstick Littles, Berteau & Co, Our Elementary Daze, Teach Create Motivate, & Cutesy Class are some of my favorite teacher tees!

What do you give students who can’t have Jolly Ranchers due to braces?

Y’all know I LOVE JOLLY RANCHERS. When I was in college, I had a professor who was literally Mr. Feeney from Boy Meets World. He told us, “Kids will do anything for a Jolly Rancher. Go buy Jolly Ranchers.” I have never heard more true words. I could do a whole post on Jolly Ranchers (#sponsorteachersplease). For students who have braces, I simply give them a LifeSaver mint. Works the exact same!

Am I your favorite student?

Obviously this was asked by a student & my students CONSTANTLY ask this question. I have the same response every time that initiates the biggest eye roll from them: “I love all my students the same!”

Where do you get your ideas for all of your engaging lessons?

I would say about 50% of my lessons come from something I saw somewhere else. I always start with Pinterest, blogs, & websites when looking for an activity on a certain topic. The majority of the time, an idea is sparked from something else that I saw and I just adapt it for my content and my students! I also have a pretty awesome resource who I can text at any point in the day with: “Hey! I need an activity for _____. Any ideas?!” She will send me 5 links in 10 minutes. I call her “mom.” She taught for 39 years and was actually my 6th grade science teacher. It’s in my blood. I also get ideas from Instagram, TpT, & Twitter. Always give credit where credit is due!!! Anything I use from others, I always share.

What are your guilty pleasure tv shows?

I am the BIGGEST fan of any reality TV show. It all started with The Hills & Laguna Beach in middle school. The Bachelor is my #1 reality tv show. I watch all of them every year from Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, & Bachelor Winter Games. Give me it ALL. I also love anything on Bravo such as Vanderpump & Real Housewives. My all time favorite tv show is FRIENDS. I can quote every episode & have watched the entire series all the way through one too many times. (I’m definitely Monica too so I’m not sure what that says about me..)

How are you so positive & energetic all the time?

When I am at school with my kids, I want to be the positive person in their life that they can count on every day. I am that teacher yelling “good morning” in the halls at students as I chug my coffee & walk to my classroom. I am overdramatic, loud, & outgoing with my students. I do believe that teaching is a little bit like acting. If I am sick, upset, or not myself, I put on my energetic, happy face anyways, because that is what my students need and deserve. (But believe me, I am only human and I love my alone time on my couch, watching Friends on Netflix, & taking naps on Sunday). For the positive part, it’s all about who you surround yourself with. Find your people & stay close with them.

What are some of your go-to classroom management strategies?

Routines, routines, routines! Bell ringers that students immediately work on when they walk in the classroom. Call & responses to get their attention. Class points system which can be seen on my Instagram story highlights! High expectations from the beginning & make them re-do things if they are not up to your standards!

Do you have a boyfriend?

This question caught me off guard because it was so popular! (Surprisingly it wasn’t my mom or my family who asked it either!! #loveyoumom) Here’s the “tea” as the kids say these days. I am 25. Guys my age act like my 12 year old students that I am with all day. I seriously love my students, this age, & their immaturity, but I am not trying to date a 25 year old who acts like my students… That’s not too much to ask for, right?! So no, I don’t have a boyfriend and until a guy makes me happier than chips & queso, I’m staying single. I also made a deal with my friends that if I am still single at 28, they can sign me up for the Bachelor (#sorrymom).

What’s your Starbucks order?

I need to work on this one because everything I love is so bad for me!!! I love a good Caramel Macchiato or an Iced White Chocolate Mocha. Trying to be healthier in the new year so what are your healthier Starbucks orders??

How did you decide on teaching as a career?

I really never thought of anything else! Actually, that’s a lie because in 4th grade we had to do a career project & I chose WNBA basketball player. We can all see how that turned out…But really there was no other career that crossed my mind. My mom was a teacher for 39 years and I was known as the “school rat.” I was constantly begging to grade papers or write on the board. My brother is a high school PE teacher. It truly runs in our blood.

If you had to move somewhere else to teach, where would it be?

Well I am currently writing this on a “cold day” with temperatures in the -30’s, so I would have to say anywhere warm! I love California & Florida. I LOVE Nashville & the Phoenix/Scottsdale area as well. The truth is, I don’t think I could ever move away from my family & friends so I am suffering through these negative temps!

Bonus Round! My five favorites:

Fast Food: Chick-fil-A

Beauty Product: Dry shampoo

Snack: Chips, salsa, & queso

Artist: Ariana Grande can do no wrong right now

Classroom Tech Tool: Quizlet Live! My students are OBSESSED.

That was fun! Now let me know what we have in common!



  1. Karli
    January 30, 2019 / 1:43 am

    Totally agree with the boyfriend question!! Lol! I hope I get to meet you at GYTO in Dallas this summer! -Karli @hawtwheeels

    • Josie
      January 30, 2019 / 5:33 pm

      Hahaha! I’m glad others can relate! Can’t wait to meet you girl!!

  2. Lorena
    January 30, 2019 / 1:49 am

    Love that you’re getting back to blogging! I love following all your cool ideas on IG.

    Some common facts:
    — I also teach 6th grade science. I am in Miami Fl, and it seems out curriculum is similar in that we teach various science topics.
    — We hace very similar Starbucks orders: love a good white chocolate mocha latte and sometimes I get it iced – definitely guilty about the calorie intake.
    — It is also my 4th year teaching but it is my first year teaching middle school science !
    — which brings me to the similarity of never thinking I would end up doing middle school ! I went to school for Early childhood Ed! I ended up getting offered an upper elementary job (teaching math and science to 5th) and so I got certified in elementary Ed. And now I teach 6th grade science ! Which I am loving !!!
    — && yesssssss!!! Students ask me all the time what is my favorite class along with who are my favorite students. I always point at my letter board which states “you’re all my favorites !”

    Hope to chat with you soon ! You’re a great inspiration for my classroom. Always have your playlists on. Which my students love!

    P.S! Hope we meet at GYTO Orlando !!!!

    • Josie
      January 30, 2019 / 5:35 pm

      I think we just became besties!! We have so much in common!! I can’t wait to meet you in Orlando! 2 weeks!!

  3. Anna
    January 30, 2019 / 10:22 am

    Thank you for sharing and inspiring!! I’m a high school science teacher in Australia and your instagram has inspired me to be a better/more engaging and creative teacher! I love your energy and style! Thank you!!!!

    • Josie
      January 30, 2019 / 5:34 pm

      OMG, Australia?! That is amazing! So sweet!! You are a rockstar!

  4. Yadira
    February 27, 2019 / 2:57 am

    Hey! I think you’re amazing! I was at GYTO in Orlando and I am so inspired! Anyway, I’m starting cells this week and I’m in love with your activities. Where can I find them? I would like to purchase them and get started ASAP. I hope to hear from you soon! Thank you!!!!

  5. JoAnn
    April 6, 2019 / 11:41 pm

    Will you be selling posters of your motivational quotes (“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up,” “Good vibes only,” and “Goals are dreams with deadlines”) at your TeachersPayTeachers store? I could see them in one of your Instagram pictures.

  6. Kelly
    June 13, 2019 / 2:44 pm

    Hey Josie!
    Do you by chance have a layout of how Homeroom Wars operates? I’m looking to do something like this next week- I’m organizing something similar, but I didn’t know if you have an official layout or a template of some kind. I teach 7th grade Science and absolutely love your ideas! I am going to incorporate of a lot of them next year (I just stumbled upon you this year)! Thanks for everything!

  7. Carin Moats
    August 12, 2019 / 2:33 pm

    YOU ARE AMAZING AND SO FUN!!!!!!!!! I would love to know the calls and responses you use. Do you have them anywhere? I would buy them in a hot second but I didn’t see them in your store.

  8. November 11, 2020 / 2:29 pm

    Hi Josie – Thanks for a super awesome presentation on DEMO DAYS. Your material Think Like a Scientist was inspiring. Thanks for sharing your personal blog and Q&A too! You made the right decision to stay true to your passion – teaching science the way you do best! You have a new follower on Instagram! Have a great school year! – Mike

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