Virginia-based kindergarten teacher Mr. Chris Heath is a veritable overnight social media star—and for all the right reasons! Take a quick scroll through his social feeds and you’ll see why he’s racked up more than 40K followers and 65K followers on two different social media platforms in a little over a year. Not only is he a beloved teacher to kids attending school for the very first time, he also has lots of brilliant ideas to share.
As creative as he is welcoming, it’s clear that Mr. Heath’s mission is to create a supportive and fun learning environment for his newbie students. In fact, he’s so gifted with his DIY classroom resources that he’s begun offering them to other teachers. His love for crafting must run deep because Mr. Heath also designs and prints inspirational custom stickers in his Crafted By Chris Co shop.
We recently had a chance to chat with Mr. Heath about what makes teaching little ones so rewarding, how he’s able to juggle all of his daily responsibilities with enthusiasm and grace, and where he gets the ideas for his inspirational stickers from.
Q: You’re a social media star! You have over 40K followers here and more than 65K followers here. To what do you credit your social media success? What content do you think is the most inspiring to your followers?
A: “You know, the social media side of my teaching wasn’t really something I had planned to do. When I was setting up my first classroom, I took a couple videos and shared them on social media and they got some traction. I was like, ‘Oh, okay. I could actually see myself doing something like this.’
I have always wanted to help other teachers, so my ‘Teacher Hacks’ or teaching ideas tend to inspire my followers the most. I get tagged in photos or messages all the time of people sharing one of my ideas being used in their classroom. It is still so shocking to me that people are interested in my ideas. I attended a professional development conference over the summer and I was actually recognized by a couple of teachers that follow me on social media and it absolutely made my day!”
Q: You recently said that you were both excited and nervous for the return to school this year. What excites you the most about back-to-school and what makes you nervous?
A: “I am so excited because I am teaching my dream grade of Kindergarten! I have always seen myself as a Kindergarten teacher and it is where I am meant to be. I was nervous just due to the change. It was an entirely new curriculum, procedures, and tricks that I had to learn and I’m still adjusting to.”
Q: From the time you wake up until when you go to sleep at night, what does a day in the life of Mr. Chris Heath look like?
A: “After I wake up, I prefer to have a pretty calm morning. I always pack my lunch and lay out my clothes for the following day the night before – it really helps me because I am not a morning person.
My drive to work is one of my favorite parts of the day. I love to start my day by listening to the radio and talk shows on my local radio station. I try to get to school around 7:00 a.m. or 7:10 a.m. I always prep the room and get last minute things ready for the day – it is always so peaceful in the mornings!
After that, I pick up my students in the cafeteria and we start our morning meeting and reading block. Then, I drop my students off during my planning time and I normally plan with my teaching partner or complete my other teaching tasks like paperwork. During the afternoon, we squeeze in some more reading instruction and touch on our math skills. The day normally flies by. It’s dismissal before you know it!
After the students leave, I try to leave right at contract time. I make the short drive home and I try to focus on things for myself. I tend to relax by watching my favorite reality TV show. I also work on my small business and social media. Then, I head to bed and do it all over again!”
Q: You have a radiant personality! What are your go-to self-care habits—wellness strategies, positive affirmations, health routines—that help you to stay so upbeat and manage a busy classroom even on more challenging days?
A: “I try to prioritize my mental health by taking time for myself. My family and friends deserve the best version of me, just like my students. I also try to remember that I am a teacher, but a teacher is not the only thing I am. I am a brother, son, grandson, best friend, etc. By taking a few hours to do things that make me happy, I get to enjoy my life and my career. The work will always be there tomorrow and NO ONE can always have it together.”
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized that you needed to become a teacher?
A: “My middle school math teacher Miss. Hobbs was so full of joy and personality that she turned my least favorite subject into my favorite class. She is an amazing teacher and I knew I wanted to convey the same excitement to my students. I also feel like God placed me on the Earth to be a teacher. By teaching, I can care for and inspire kids that may not have a positive influence in their life.”
Q: You’ve been known to frequent yard sales for supplies. Thrifty and resourceful! Do you usually buy a lot of school supplies for your classroom?
A: “Most of my classroom is 100% funded by me. My district gives every teacher $150 to start the school year off, which is amazing! But, teachers spend so much more. I actually love creating engaging spaces and lessons, it’s what makes me happy as a teacher. Teaching is my creative outlet.”
Q: You also have an inspirational sticker side hustle, which is just so cool! What inspired this side business, how do you come up with your ideas, and what do you hope to achieve with it? Tell us all about it!
A: “I started my small business a couple years ago when my parents got me a cutting machine for Christmas to use in my classroom. During the pandemic, I started creating stickers and it kinda took off unexpectedly. I sell locally in some merchant stores, but also wholesale to boutiques all over the United States.”
Q: Your gift—and profession—is to teach young, expanding minds, but surely they have taught you a thing or two as well. What’s one of the biggest lessons your students have taught you in your time as a teacher?
A: “You have to meet the students where they are. Learning cannot take place until they are ready. Plant the seeds and you will see the blossoms in due time.”
Q: What would you say is your teaching superpower?
A: “Creating core memories for my students! I want to be the teacher that they always remember and come back to visit. I want them to have a great schooling experience and create a love for learning.”