Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Dia, I was born and raised in Australia and have a Lebanese background. My parents arrived in Australia in the 70s with virtually nothing but the want to build a family away from war. They worked extremely hard and built a business from scratch. My dad’s work ethics has been embedded within me ever since I was a young girl growing up.
I live in Sydney and have been married to my biggest supporter for 16 years. Together, we have 3 kids, 2 of them are now officially teenagers!
How long have you been teaching for & where?
I started teaching just under 15 years ago – I worked in both the private and public sector. About 5 years ago I took some time off teaching for health reasons. At the moment, I’m currently working part-time at my local public school as the RFF year 6 teacher.
What’s your favourite year to teach?
My favourite year to teach by far is Kindergarten. It definitely is the hardest grade in my opinion, but it’s still my favourite of all. Some students start school without knowing any letters or numbers and some without knowing any English, and being able to unlock the keys to literacy and numeracy is so rewarding. Any kindergarten teacher will tell you how satisfying it is seeing the students’ learning growth blossom throughout the year.
You run your own business on the side. Tell us a bit about that, and why you started it…
I design and sell teacher personlised stamps, stationery and teacher gift packs.
There are so many reasons why I decided to undertake this path. First of all, after 8 years of teaching I became extremely sick and was in and out of hospital due to my illness. I felt my constant time off was unfair to my students so I took a break from teaching. However, my passion for teaching was a huge part of my life and not being challenged in a school environment was very difficult.
After months of thinking, researching and collaborating with other teachers, I realised that the market was calling for something – quality, efficient and relatable stamps!
A lot of the generic stamps you find in stores had incorrect grammar and punctuation (very frustrating for a teacher!), so my first stamps released were aimed at correcting this. I then looked into customising and making stamps.
Another thing that frustrated me was how time consuming signing and dating 30 students’ work, several times a day used to be. After many discussions, it turns out almost every other teacher agreed as well! That’s where I came up with the idea of the original Date & Name stamp.
The response to this particular stamp has been overwhelming and I’ve had teachers from all over Australia and even the world sending through orders for it.
It humbles me and at the same time makes me so proud that I came up with something so useful to teachers at the darkest stage in my life.
What has been your biggest lesson/hurdle in business?
Always making sure client expectations have been met. I’m sure I have made mistakes at the start but as a teacher, that had very little knowledge about running a business, I continue to learn from my mistakes and grow as a person first, but also grow in business.
Part of that is working hard to create new designs and tools that teachers could use but also would want to use! Overall, constantly being creative and unique in expressing my ideas – from one teacher to another.
How do you balance teaching & business?
I’m very blessed to have the support of my family and my friends. That’s not to say that there aren’t sleepless nights thinking of the next big thing – because there most certainly are.
At the moment I’m only teaching 2 days a week which allows me to dedicate a lot of time to Just Stamp It. My passion for teaching is what motivated me to start my business so choosing between the two at this stage isn’t an option.
What’s coming up for ‘Just Stamp It’ this year?
Due to coronavirus and schools working online, business is not as busy as it usually is. Which is totally understandable – stamps are not a necessity. Therefore, I’m focusing my attention on my family in these trying times, but keep an eye out – there’s a few things I’m working on that I’m sure teachers are going to love in the near future!
Where can people find you?