About Me: Who is the Butterfly Teacher?

Hey teacher friends! My name is Tanya G. Marshall also known as The Butterfly Teacher. I help teachers get organized, master small group instruction, and teach more effectively. If you want help in any of those areas, let’s be friends!

I’m thrilled you’re here…let me give you a tiny tour on my teaching and life journey.

My Personal Journey to Becoming a Teacher

A little history about how I got to where I am today.  It’s been a beautiful journey, but the struggle has been real.

I first stepped foot inside the classroom as a teacher four months after my husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

We had just graduated from college together almost two years prior to this.

Our son Caleb was only five months old when this happened.

So here I was, a clueless first-year teacher, a 24-year-old widow, and a single mother of a very strong willed baby boy.

When I say that the struggle is real, this is not just a clichรฉ for me.

I never felt like I had enough time or money. I wanted to be a good mom and a good teacher, but I felt like I was constantly messing up.

But that was several years ago.

Thankfully–because of my spiritual faith and a strong support system–I didn’t give up!

Since then I have taught mainly 2nd and 4th grades, plus worked as a literacy tutor for 1st through 8th grade.

Credentials and Education

I received my Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.

Thankfully, I was able to begin my teaching career on a temporary provisional license after passing my state’s certification test.

While working full-time as a teacher and raising my son, I went back to school for my Masters degree in Education with an emphasis on Instructional and Curriculum Design from Columbia International University in Columbia, SC.

This also allowed me to become fully certified for 4th through 8th Grade ELA instruction.

From there, I also earned my TESOL certification, then spent two years teaching reading to ESL students one-on-one or in small groups across grade levels.

It is an understatement to say that I LOVE teaching ELA and reading!

Not only that, but I’ve spent many years attending professional development on topics such as:

  • racially and culturally relevant teaching practices
  • literacy centers and small group instruction
  • reading instruction for upper elementary students

One of the best things about being a teacher for me is that I also get to be a student learning new things every year to improve pedagogy and curriculum design.

My Educational Philosophy

Students should not be anchored to desks all day!

Engaged learning involves movement and collaboration. This is why I love small group instruction.

Even for older students, they thrive with hands-on learning activities. I am not against whole-group instruction, as long as it is balanced with centers or station work.

In addition to this, I believe that relationship is king in the classroom.

Rules without relationship leads to rebellion. When children feel left out in the learning experience, they mentally and emotionally shut down.

Which is why I believe that all teachers and learning spaces should be:

  • anti-racist
  • inclusive
  • celebratory of cultural diversity
  • and equitable

These make learning fun…as it should be!

How I Serve in Education Today

After 12 years of teaching, I was given the opportunity to step out of the classroom to create curriculum and deliver professional development for elementary educators.

I deeply miss working with students every day, but I feel beyond blessed and excited to help teachers.

Through my YouTube channel, I have reached 40,000 views so far with videos offering practical teaching tips, resources, and ideas to educators.

My curriculum, social media, and published articles have helped over a million teachers worldwide.

It brings me so much joy to use The Butterfly Teacher resources to make learning fun for students and easier for educators.

Published Author and Educational Consultant

Not only do I engage with teachers through this site, YouTube, and social media, but I also published my first book in 2021 for teachers and homeschooling parents.

The Vocabulary Workbook for Grades 3, 4, and 5 empowers upper elementary students to grow stronger with ELA, spelling, grammar, and reading.

In addition to this, I LOVE attending teacher conferences virtually and in-person. Being a conference speaker allows me to work collaboratively with teachers to help them in the classroom.

Magic happens when teachers get together! I know I’m biased, but I think teachers are rockstars.

So, being a conference speaker feels just as thrilling to me as teaching in the classroom.

In fact, I now consider my role as educational consultant to be my new teaching job!

Working With Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) offers a beautiful community for everyone working in the educational space!

For two years, I served as one of their Seller Advisory Board Members, giving practical advice on how to improve their policies and practices.

In 2022, I was also a keynote speaker for their TpT Forward Conference, which was held in Chicago.

Working with TpT is such a blessing, because I get to share my curriculum and learning resources with millions of teachers all around the world!

Through my work as a teacher, consultant, and curriculum designer, I’ve not only learned how to transform learning for students, but the process of teaching and learning has also transformed me!

Helping You On Your Teaching Journey

What does any of this have to do with you, teacher friend?

The biggest lesson that I have learned is that despite the real struggles of transforming learning in 21st-century classrooms the journey is breathtakingly beautiful.

I felt like a squirmy caterpillar when I began this journey; feeling like I was barely getting by.

Overwhelmed by the daily demands of life, I cried myself to sleep many nights wondering when and if things would get better.

And they did! Which is what I am here to share with you.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for teaching tips and ideas!

Consider this community a garden of inspiration and ideas for your teaching journey.

You will be able to find so many things to help you navigate the beautiful struggles of transforming learning in your own way.

The resources here will help you:

  • become a more efficient teacher
  • save money
  • get more organized
  • teach effectively
  • AND have a blast doing it!

How We Can Stay Connected?

The best way to hear from me weekly is to join my email newsletter list.

But you can also find me hanging out in these places:

Being silly and having fun with my son Caleb!

So let’s grow together!

It’s not how you start, but how you finish that makes all the difference.

Let’s finish beautifully!

The Butterfly Teacher