5 People to Follow When You're Getting Started

I asked a question a few weeks ago on my social media about what podcasts do you listen to and I got some really great responses. So I decided that I would compose a short list of people that influence me and a great place to to look for inspiration. I know when I was getting started I was so overwhelmed and was in information overload. I know you may be wondering who to listen to so here you go because it took a minute for me to find what I needed. I was so glad to find encouragement and motivation from these amazing female bosses because they sound like me. Now my list is short but packed full of power because I need the in your face type of energy because they speak hard facts and truth.

Maya Elious

(1) I needed a starting point and the first personal branding strategist that I took to was Maya Elious. She is a personal branding strategist helping female entrepreneurs monetize their expertise. I used her Narrow your Niche workbook even when I didn’t have a clue as to what it meant to niche down and purchased her Content Creator Starter Pack that included 150 Blog Post Topics. As a beginner she helped me paint a clearer picture and I still use those resources to this day. Visit her site to subscribe to her newsletter for FREE business advice.

Nicaila Matthews Okome

(2) SideHustle Pro is my personal favorite podcast to listen to and is known for being the first and only podcast to spotlight bold, Black women entrepreneurs who have scaled from side hustle to profitable business. The founder of SideHustle Pro (Nicaila Matthews Okome) shares her personal story of trials and triumphs and what she learned when she began to entrepreneurial journey. She interviews other female bosses and share actionable tips on being productive and running a business. Visit her site to subscribe to her newsletter and learn how to grow your business fueled by your passion.

Jasmine Womack

(3) As a teacher that wants to change the trajectory of my career within the next couple of years, I find Jasmine Womack the example. The cool thing about her is that she has worked with Maya Elious who has also appeared on SideHustle Pro. She has managed to turn her experience in teaching and writing her book into a profitable business and she shares her expertise along the way. I actually stumbled across her because a friend of mine tagged me in a post on instagram about the release of her book and I subsequently enrolled in The Author’s Bootcamp when she offered it for free on Facebook. It has been a year of following her and I see so much of my journey that resembles hers. I’m so ready to get into the business behind the book with the self-publishing expertise that she shares. Visit her site to learn how you can work with her and participate in her programs and courses.

Sharon Beason

(4) When I want a good laugh and sound advice with in your face realness, I turn to Sharon Beason. Now I follow her primarily on instagram and her different entities, @SharonMayBeason, @womeneur, and @InstaGSociety and all of her posts give me life. She is a startup and strategy boss in these instagram streets and she is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs monetize their social media. Her boldness is what draws me in and keeps me checking back daily. I know that when I am on either of those profiles she is sure to have something to meet my needs or inquiry for the day. Visit her business link for all that she has to offer. She is amazing!

Coach Stormy Wellington

(5) Coach Stormy is unabashedly herself and she magnetizing. She is a true product of her product but her “sister talks” and motivational videos she comes through with are also real to core. She does not hide her struggle or past and let’s it be known that you have to hustle and grind hard to get yourself to the next level. She is not telling people what they want to hear. She gives people hard conversations and she is in your face about business and you continuously have to step your game up to survive, Her daily motivation will give you the kick that you need. Hate it or love it, she just keeps it real. Visit her business link for her motivation and coaching.

As a mom first, author and teacher on this entrepreneurial journey I have to feed my mind the things that will help me along the way.  These women are my good buddies in my head and I look forward to the jewels they drop each day. Be mindful of what you consume. Everybody ain’t for you.

~LaTilya


5 Mistakes I Made as An Entrepreneur

Starting Without a Vision or Strategy

In 2016 I thought that this mompreneur thing would be easy and my oh my was I wrong. I was just winging it until I realized that my vision was too broad and I had not niched down enough. Yes, I am a teacher but my skills as a mom are what help me organize my day to walk into my classroom more prepared. I need my working women with business aspirations to know that while you are working, raising your children, planning a wedding, or being a wife, you can still chase your dreams. Life happens and even when you survive divorce; knowing your mission and why will carry you farther than the obstacles that you face. Those trials become a part of your story and fuel your purpose. So be clear when you set out to make a difference. Be the problem solver to those that need to hear your voice and don’t give up until you make an impact.

My Mission: I help working moms find balance between their career and home life as they gain clarity in pursuit of their dreams.

Once I sat down and did a business plan and really thought about what I was trying to do and my message, things began to click. Even though I have been trying for a few years now, once I gained clarity, I can better see the direction I’m heading in for 2020.

Branding Myself Properly

I thought that by merely saying, “I am my brand” was enough but I was wrong again. My personality, my quick wit, my authenticity was going to set me aside but I was nobody in the realm of blogging and entrepreneurship. Now don’t get me wrong, I have some faithful followers and listeners but as I aspire for a further reach I realized that I had to do more. I had to figure out I wanted to be recognized. Yes, I’m the tattooed teacher in my building as I teach throughout the day, but that’s not my ideal for my Mom|Author|Teacher (mompreneur) brand that I am working to establish for myself. And guess what, even after I find some comfort in my visibility, branding is ongoing and may even call for a re-brand down the road. So, LaTilya Rashon is my name in real life. So I did not over arch with something off the wall because my approach is to just be real with my message and what I create. Pieces of me will be ingrained in everything that I do. In these internet streets I will show you my dedication, my authenticity, and my perseverance (D.A.P.) through my storytelling. I love acronyms so you’ll see more of those in the future because they are easy to remember. Make sure your brand attracts your tribe. That’s the whole point!

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Ya’ll there are levels to being in business for yourself. Being a NOVICE, brand new and not knowing what to is the very first level. Your eyes are bigger than your follow through and you are more busy than productive and you just know you are getting things done. I had to tell myself to have several seats plenty of times between 2016 and 2017 because I didn’t have a clue.  I was not creating anything of value outside of my first book (My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching). Once those wheels starting turning, you are now in the DEVELOPMENTAL stage of business where you are connecting the dots and things are beginning to make sense and you have a better understanding of what you are trying to do. Your growth is beginning to show. Then ultimately, the EXPERT. We all aspire to be a household name in these internet streets because of our extensive knowledge and expertise. But you have crawl before you walk. Maintain your own lane and know that everybody has different skillsets so processes are not one size fit all and we are all essentially running our own races. Focus on what you are creating and less on others.  What you have inside of you is just as needed as to what the people around you are doing. NOTE TO SELF!

Taking on too Much

When you don’t have a vision you will easily take on too much too soon and it will leave you overwhelmed and ready to quit. You need clarity and this can’t be emphasized enough to avoid repeat failure. Now this does not mean that some things won’t launch as successfully as others, it just means that we will eventually get it right. Even if you plan properly it’s a 50/50 chance of things going wrong, so we have to prioritize our tasks as to not give up before we ever get started. What is urgent versus not urgent then go from there. Decide what you can DO now, what you can PLAN to do later, who or what you can DELEGATE, and truly ELIMINATE. We are what holds us back when we are sure, so be intentional.

Failing to Invest in Myself

Listen, you can google until your finger tips hurt but pretty soon you will find that in information overload, everything will start to look the same. I have downloaded so many free worksheets, ebooks, tuned into LIVE training, you name it and none of them gave me the clarity that I needed. Then I started making small investments in resources because I needed to streamline my message and my business. Find someone that speaks to your style and let them coach you.  I have following one particular author/coach for the past year and I am ecstatic about my latest investment of myself. You have to do your own research to determine who is best suited for your needs. You can only Free.99 to a certain degree but when you want results, you will begin to make the right investments. Even when you think you don’t have the money, you will find a way.

So with all of that being said… I decided that I no longer wanted to function in mediocrity. I want to scale up my message and visibility so that I can do great things in the months to come. I have set some very intense goals for myself and the steps I’m taking along the way have me very excited. Let’s just say as I’m approaching my 38th birthday, I have for certain two years to make some things shake and that is exactly what I plan to do.

~LaTilya

A Journey Into Creation

So back in September I thought that it would be a great idea to really map out my business and the direction that I want to go. I completed a full business plan and everything then I feel like I hit a brick wall.

My big picture is being able to run a successful business online and become my own boss. Creating ways for people to expand their creative abilities, speaking when given the opportunity and ultimately enjoying the things that I love doing.

2019 put a little bit of a fire under my ass, especially back in June when I spoke at the Teacher Self-Care Conference. I transferred schools. I became the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) Coach. But I also began to experience the growing pains of raising teenage boys. They are night and day.  Needless to say I feel like I am behind, but then I think about all of the work that has been accomplished behind the scenes that I actually have to stop and give myself a break.

I have planned my brand content and though I am not as confident in it at times that I should be, I just ask myself a lot of times if I am doing the right thing. I totally get that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, but damn they make it look easy. So I hit the reset button and told myself to not let the internet rush me. After all, this blog has been up for three years, semi-consistently. I have written three books. I do freelance academic writing and editing. I have been busy. But self-doubt creeps in and make me question everything.

I’m not experiencing burnout or anything, I just want to begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  That is such a cliché. And even though I’m building my own table and opening my own doors, the truth is that entrepreneurship is hard as hell. Luckily for me I have decided to partake in a “Secure the Bag” webinar because 2020 is the year to erase the doubt and just strike out.  I’m thinking “The Journey to Here” which is a compilation of themed story telling that explains my journey of living, reflecting, writing, and learning.

I told myself that I would devote six months to one book and I have been focusing on 12 Ways to Survive Your First Year of Teaching since June. It was a follow-up to My Fourth Year. I’ve enjoyed this ride, but I want to talk about some other things and I think now is the time.

I have dumped my brain a lot over the past few months and I am passionate about writing of course, goal setting, African-American youth (I don’t want to see them get lost in the system) and of course being a successful author with a message that I get to share through speaking engagements. I’m not stalling anything, I’m just being careful as I go back to look at drafts of all of my book titles. I have a couple books I need to finish or put the final touches on. I am definitely going to make it happen.

These are just my Tuesday thoughts as I prepare for my conference in the meantime. I’m a lifelong learner. So this journey continues.

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Got To Go Harder

You have permission to tell your story and your story only. Your story will inspire people that can relate to your trials and your triumphs.


Moment of transparency: This time last year I said I’d be teaching somewhere else, and in the spring I interviewed and got the job. I had been in my old district since July 2008 so I knew I was ready for something different. Today I will be introducing our new behavior matrix to support our P.B.I.S. initiative because I stepped into the coach position when it was in need of a new one. It’s a lot of work but I’m doing what I can, and the leadership team will receive this information in today’s meeting.


So I’m giving myself 90 days to cement some other ideas because I want to see more results on the business side of what I do. I wrote a couple of books, I’ve spoke a couple of times, so now I want to do more with all of my experience and be a full time mentor, speaker, facilitator because I KNOW I can do.


I’m trying to secure my own bag. I’m not concerned with what others are doing around me that does not feed this mindset and place in my life. I was going hard, now I’m about to go harder.

~LaTilya

Tip Tuesday

Listen teacher moms… you have a whole life outside of the classroom so some days it’s going to take a little more effort. I mean let’s be honest, good teachers obsess about observations because they want everything to go perfect: students engaged and on task, even transitions from task to task and a positive learning environment.


We spend countless hours planning engaging lessons because we want leave a lasting impression. Then on the day of observation nothing goes as planned. On the flip side of this is that good administrators understand which is why they randomly visit your classroom to catch you on your “good days”.


So here are more tips on surviving:
1️⃣Being observed comes with the profession. At times you will have multilevel leadership in your room, It happens.
2️⃣Show your students that you are human; you don’t have all the answers. Sometimes you’ll learn from them.
3️⃣Some days you just won’t feel like teaching, and that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect‼️

Check out my ebook store latilyarashon.selz.com for my tips on maneuvering the classroom as a newbie teacher or even a veteran teacher.

God is Helping You Write Your Story

Photo by Courtney Watkins Photography

God is helping you write your story and share your gift with the world. Be less concerned with the people that won’t like it and focus on those who will embrace your work of art.

Let’s just be clear. If you are sitting on your skills and talents and think opportunity is going to find you, you are sadly mistaken. It may be a cliche but well behaved people seldom make history.

If you’re afraid to use your skills and talents then you’re blocking yourself from creating the life “you say” you want to live.

So even if you feel you’re in the right track, I know for a fact Closer to Purpose Than You Think can help you stop second guessing yourself and start creating the life you want to live.

Head over to my ebook store latilyarashon.selz.com or even read my first book My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching for free on KindleUnlimited.

It’s time to level up!

Freedom Friday

Want to be an author’s friend?

➡️Buy their books (ebooks $9)

https://latilyarashon.selz.com

➡️Like their post (Algorithm)

➡️Comment in their posts; engagement

➡️Share their posts for more exposure

Some things are free!

But businesses costs! The right people will find you and I’m thankful for the teacher moms that support me.

Woman Boss Wednesday

For National Boss’s Day just know I salute myself as I work hard each day to become my own boss. It is so hard and takes discipline to take your entrepreneurship to the next level. Even when you are being your authentic self, people are still not going to understand you and your perseverance to continuously push yourself out of your comfort zone. God gave me this life because I was built to handle it and so are you.

Check out my ebook store: latilyarashon.selz.com

(1) Closer to Purpose Than You Think (goal setting)

(2) 12 Ways To Survive Your First Year Of Teaching (teacher focused)

(3) My Fourth Year In Middle School (teacher focused)

Teacher Tip Tuesday: Own Your Curriculum

Teachers get frustrated with teaching, new initiatives and things changing constantly but we continue for the love of the profession. As a veteran teacher more has to be done to bridge the gap between experienced and new teachers to create a common ground for growth.

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Sadly the teacher turnover rates increase by the year resulting in 50% of new teachers leaving the profession within five years because they experience burnout.

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A common pedagogical phrase is to begin with the end in mind. However, for a new teacher, to begin with the end in mind is difficult because they’re just getting started. It takes time and effort to get procedures, routines, and structure implemented succinctly in the classroom.

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This is what beginning with the end in mind looks like:

1️⃣ Take ownership of your content and your classroom. The more knowledgeable you are, you can plan easily. Own your curriculum.

2️⃣ Instructional planning and Classroom Management are a perfect pair. Establish order and structure from the start.

3️⃣ Education is a continuum of change. Be flexible!

Check out my ebook store for more books about teaching and balancing your life within this profession.

latilyarashon.selz.com

Teacher Tip Tuesday

I’m sure all educators can attest to the obstacles they faced when they first began teaching. Taking a walk down memory lane I can laugh at the good times and bad, as well as put things into perspective about approach, instruction, and impact.

#FirstYearTeachers and #VeteranTeachers learn that:

-Finding balance in your work and home life takes time. Each class, month, year is different.

-Finding solutions to instructional planning and classroom management is individual. Your approach determines your effectiveness.

-It’s bigger than oneself. Teacher are preparing and educating the future of our society. We must add compassion to our skill set.

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1️⃣My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching (Teacher Focused)

2️⃣12 Ways To Survive Your First Year Of Teaching (Teacher Focused)

My books give insight on how to teach with fidelity, be your authentic self in the classroom, and finding balance in your career.

LaTilya Williams, Ed.D. (Professionally)

Social: @drlatilyarashon

Check out my ebook store: latilyarashon.selz.com

Monetize They Said…

Stay strong. Make them wonder why you are still smiling.I focus a lot of my time and energy on being a mom which author ambition while being in the classroom. That’s already three full time jobs in itself. Now if I make it look easy, trust me it’s not.

Through every transition in my life since separating from active duty Air Force in 2007, the title of being a mom has been staring at me through my rear view. I can’t escape that responsibility. I’m not trying to, I’m just saying.

When I entered the classroom in 2008 my children were toddlers. When I wrote My Fourth Year In Middle School, my sons were a great push for that. When I completed my dissertation, The Impact of Computer Assisted Writing Instruction for Improving Writing Scores for Urban Eighth Grade Students, I said yes mom, I made it, I’m not an expert but that was the turning point. I may have had quality education but very few are checking for the quality of my words so sharing my voice is the only way as I continue to build.

Being a mother with a millionaire mindset is grueling. Someone once said that you very rarely find balance in the things you set out to do, you just have to do it. There’s no wonder people say, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. That’s a dark and twisted thing to say, but I get. We are all grinding for the pending success that’s just on the other side of the roadblock. Delayed is not denied, but sometimes as an entrepreneur you want the gate of opportunity to open up just for you so you can experience the rush of accomplishment beyond the present.

Write the book.

Launch the blog.

Create the online course.

Start the podcast.

Host an event.

Facilitate a workshop.

Have a book signing.

Turn your hobby into a money maker. It’s far more easier to say than to actually do when life happens and your time is limited. We can monetize everything, but when you are a one man team and trying things out, failures knocks twice before success enters. Metaphorically speaking.

I’m the authority of me and my blog and my books are my life. If I managed in between two divorces and two advanced degree programs all while teaching and being a mom to things done. I’m simply saying, you can too!

~xoxo

LaTilya Rashon

Writing to Heal Parts of Me

I have been asked how to write books, how to start a blog and my simple response is just to start writing. This is not my first time putting my story into the atmosphere, but this the space that puts the pieces of me together. I had a beloved blogspot but when I decided to step things up a notch back in 2016, I was not clear. I was simply stringing thoughts together and calling it a blog.

It was not until I sat down and outlined my first book that I realized I was diving into territory that was uncomfortable but was my wholehearted truth. I was nervous but I shared the tragic dissolution of my marriage in my first book and that was a huge mountain to get over. See, in my second year of teaching, I had only been separated from the Air Force a little over a year, I was still a new teacher, finishes up my alternative preparation program, and sadly my life was in turmoil. I was separated from husband of six years, and I was completely devastated. In the midst of all of those emotions, I still had to be a mother and figure out what I was doing in the classroom. I cried a lot that year, and simply felt like I had no control over anything in my life at the time.

I felt misunderstood by coworkers and even judged at times. I was completely ostracized from spouse’s family, and the only person I relied heavily the most on was my mother. She struggled with watching me deal with pains of my marriage because it was an pain that she had never experienced. She could’t tell how to fix things or how to navigate through the problems because she had never been married.

I was separated for two years before the divorce was final. We tried briefly to try to reconcile, but one day I asked him, “What are going to do?” He looked at me and said, “I don’t even like the word marriage.” That is when I knew I had to let go, as hard as it was. The reality of that pain is that I survived. Dealing with personal problems outside of your profession surely is a test of wills and each time there is a set back and life gets in the way, you learn how to bounce back. Of course at that time I was 30 years old, finding my voice as a woman and refusing to be treated as less than an equal partner. Now my tolerance for things that aren’t conducive to good vibes, I gladly shy away from.

Sharing my story, my ups and downs have become my survival guide because just when I thought I was ready to give up, my strength takes over. I know that I am strong but sometimes when I’m tired, I want to be able to be vulnerable in the arms of someone that will be my strength when I feel weak. We will lose ourselves many times in life but it’s always worth it to see the pieces get put back together as if they were never touched.

My heart as a mother will not let my children down because everything I do is for them. They make me better. My love for writing as an author gives me the ability to share my trials and triumphs. Some days are better than others, so I focus on the good even when I don’t feel like it. When I am in my classroom, teaching continues to add layers to my life and give me experiences that I would not trade for anything in the world.

The parts of me that make me unique, I gladly share and each time I reflect on my trials and my blessings, I am eternally grateful.

~xoxo

LaTilya Rashon

Mother.Teacher.Author

Taking a personal inventory of myself and my skills, I knew that I wanted to do more than ordinary things. Ever since childhood I have had words floating around in my head that I have forced out onto paper over the years. Recently I sat down and faced my business, my approach to book marketing and my journey into entrepreneurship and realized I needed help. Furthermore, I needed to help myself get better positioned and edpreneur.

I base a lot of my writing on education because I began teaching in 2008 when I was over halfway done with my Masters in Public Administration. I had a plan for how my career would go as I completed requirements for my new teacher portfolio for the TAPP program. When MGRESA changed the submission dates for program completion, I was already a month into my Educational Specialist program because I had no traditional training or pedagogy. I set goals early in my teaching career based on where I would be in 3 years, in 5 years, and even 10 years. I met my 5 year goals within 3 so I know the power of manifestation.

https://LaTilyaWilliams.selz.com

By the time I had completed my educational specialist degree in 2010, I was ahead of my 5 year plan. Towards the end of my 4th year of teaching I had the bright idea to pursue my doctorate and from there my idea to write my book was outlined. It was not until 2013 that I put my most memorable experiences onto a word document and I began sifting through the details. I have always been ambitious and in between a divorce in 2011, school transfer in 2013, getting remarried in 2014, and stalling on my dissertation proposal I managed to graduate in 2016 with another degree, Doctor of Education with an emphasis in Higher Education Leadership, while simultaneously self-publishing my book.

Being a mother is my single most important job in my life but offering ebooks online, becoming my own boss, creating helpful content for other moms, teachers and ambitious individuals infusing my passion for writing and helping people together. Through my education, mixed work experiences, skills and training I’m confident that’s reading my books will help with personal development of individuals who struggle with finding balance in their careers and personal lives.

I have journaled and set new goals for myself my whole life and made the necessary adjustments when needed. Being asked was getting my degrees hard, do I like teaching, if I weren’t teaching what would I be doing, and are you going to keep writing is the reason I keep creating.

There’s no one size fit all but I like to think that I have a way of naturally understanding people and not judging their individuality. I have something for everyone!

I Brag Differently, You Should Too!

So you want to start a business?

Write a book?

Host events?

Let’s begin with the end in mind.

Knowing who you want to teach, reach, and speak to is a crucial part to how impactful you will be. So let’s brag together!

Take a sneak peek into how I set my goals, crush them, then clap for myself with this Brag Sheet freebie⤵️

Subscribe to my list and get more sneak peeks:
http://bit.ly/ConnectWithDrLaTilyaRashon

Closer to Purpose Than You Think

Are you feeling overwhelmed and need to realign your goals?  Do you need help identifying your strengths to take control of your life and push pass your fears?

I am the coach for you and together we will do the work to help you recognize your self-worth, prioritize your goals, and speak life into your aspirations.  It is important to LOVE yourself intensely, create opportunities for growth, and step into your purpose with authority.

Working with me will help you gain:

1. Clarity as you position yourself for greatness.

2. Love for yourself through affirmations.

3. Purpose as you set attainable goals.

4. Understanding as you reflect on your life.

5. Sense of self as you CELEBRATE you!

Being You is Your Superpower

By definition pedagogy is the method and practice of teaching.  Regardless of your training as a new teacher, being you is what will make you relatable to students.  Books give you the idea of student-centered and teacher-centered instruction, but as the facilitator of you classroom you have to use common sense.  I say use common sense because teacher approaches and style is not one size fit all.

Using your superpower in your classroom means to tap into your strengths and your opportunities to grow as a teacher.  Your personality should be heavily embedded in your lesson plans and teaching style because that becomes your voice. Your style of teaching becomes your trademark.  Ironically, when out your strengths and personality together in your classroom, that becomes your brand as a teacher and no one can take your style away from you.

I personally am known for being firm, loud, and serious about my content.  That is my classroom persona because while I want my children to have fun in class and engage with me, I still have to let them know that I am the boss.

Show your human side to your students because that is what they will respect the most.  For instance, during my fourth year of teaching my students uncovered an invent from my past while browsing the internet.  See the misconception about teachers is that we are always in teacher mode and we do not have a home or personal life. Also before getting to the point of being you, please know that your students and administrators will search for you on social media and the internet just to see what will come up about you.  So with that being said, I had assigned my students a tic-tac-toe board of assignments to complete that went with a novel study we were doing in my class. One of male students quietly called me over to his computer and began to whisper.

“Hey Ms. Bird look what popped up when we tried to find the page to complete our work”.  I had not thought about my students finding a mugshot of me from years before but they did.  The student went on to explain that he was not sharing it with anybody but the majority of his classmates knew about it.  I did what I felt was right in the moment and said to him, “Baby that is from three years ago, it is a matter of public record so I’m not embarrassed.  Just know that it did not affect my job.” It was a lot to say, but it was a teachable moment for my students and I felt the need to address it with all of my students class by class because I wanted them to know that I had nothing to hide.

It completely had escaped me when I gave my students the assignment.  All I knew is that I wanted them to have a discussion board about posted topics and blog posts created by me that were book related.  See I used differentiated instruction to get my students involved because technology is the way of the future. I just did not anticipate that piece of personal information popping up on them.  Even though I gave them step by step instructions on how to access the assignments through my schoolwires page, my students opted to just google me and go from there.

I became a hot topic for a couple days but it died down and we got back to the business of teaching and learning.  One of my strengths based on skillset was to face the problem head-on and not sugar coat a thing. Students respect your truth as a teacher over perception.  Now adults on the other hand go by perception and do not care enough to ask for your truth. Knowing who you are and what you are comfortable sharing about yourself adds to you invincibility as a teacher.  Theoretically, you are a superhero to your students and they like when you put on your cape in chaotic situations. Your life is the canvas for your classroom.

Being you goes a long way when you are trying different approaches and instructional strategies in your classroom.  Students pick up very early on when you are nervous about doing something new in your classroom and they will exploit that opportunity.  This brings me back to not being a pushover in your classroom. There will be times where you have to walk students through assignments and tasks one by one.  There will be other times that as you set the expectations for the lesson students will be able to shift without disrupting the learning environment. Honestly there will be times you have planned a great lesson and after couple of attempts, you strike the whole idea.  

You decide what best for you in your classroom and when your students understand the method to your madness, it makes for a shared learning experience.  There’s a quote that says being transparent and vulnerable keeps you transparent and vulnerable, so be open anyway. So try not to doubt yourself and your ability because the students will only know how far to push you if you know how far you are willing to stretch yourself.  Be you like no one else can inside of your classroom. Staying true to who you are is the best approach to teaching because no one will have the ability to manipulate your style.


The Reason Behind “12 Ways to Survive Your First Year of Teaching”

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Walking around my house at the very end of the summer I could not find rest for my hands or my thoughts as it hit me that teachers would be returning to work very soon.  I was not ready and I could not wrap my head around why I was reluctant to return then immediately it was revealed to my psyche that the start of a new school year is always rough.  New rules, new administrators, new colleagues, new initiatives, and new students. In 180 days we all are supposed to work miracles and pat ourselves on the back at the end of the school year and say, “Job well done”.

See when I entered the field of education I had a five year plan which was quickly exceeded due to my determination and commitment to teaching.  I entered into the classroom not having the slightest clue about what to expect from my students but I learned very quickly.

I was certified through the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GATAPP) and I was taken aback by the amount of work that I had to do in order to gain my certification.  Let’s just be clear, there is a major difference in being traditionally trained through brick and mortar colleges of education and alternative programs.

I have developed a sense of humor about teaching and I just want to be real and say it louder for the people in the back that, “There is nothing easy about the first year of teaching”.  I have been through enough first days of school to know that as an educator we walk in hoping for the best then find ourselves overwhelmed and maintaining the status around mid-year. So yes, I learned to march to beat of my own drum and do what works for me.  

My first year of teaching almost broke me in half emotionally and mentally.  Emotionally because I was no longer behind the security of a military base and cypher locked door.  I was now a civilian facing a world I had no idea how to maneuver in comfortably. Mentally I was not prepared to teach while learning how to be a teacher through my teacher alternative preparation program, so at the first thought of hostility, I was ready to say goodbye to the profession.  It was a tough first year for me which is what prompted me to write this book. The simple fact is, that rookie teachers need support and not be ridiculed. They need true mentorship and guidance, not to be picked on for what they do not understand.  

My first three months into teaching looked vastly different from my third year of teaching.  And even now here in my eleventh year of teaching I’m still learning things but coping with the copious changes and trends in education by the day.

As a new teacher it is very easy to become overwhelmed with lesson plans, professional development, additional duties such as being a club sponsor or coaching, but I had to take care of my mental stability at the same time.  No one told me that in the beginning there are long hours and none of those hours are paid overtime. No one told me that I would be in a meeting almost daily. And lastly no one told me that I had to learn how to separate my home life from my work life and focus on them one at a time.

Needless to say in my second year of teaching I grappled with separation and divorce and my two young sons were on an insane schedule that shifted them to daycare by 6:30 a.m. while I had to be to school by 7:15 a.m. daily.  I cried so much this particular year of teaching but I had to find balance.

I had a job to do and I had to do it despite my emotions being all over the place.  My family was a priority and so was my career. I found my balance in letting go of the things out of my control and let all of the work I was doing speak for itself.  My school obstacles became the backdrop to my career which led me to want to help new teachers.

People think teaching is about holidays and summers off.  But a lot of times we become second parents to the children we teach and have to fight off jealousy from other teachers in order to be effective.  My students always showed up for me because I never not showed up for them.

I walk in and stand by my truth that though my method is questionable for those outside of my classroom, and the least liked; people will have to respect what I do. I am guilty of telling new teachers not to follow my example when I’m marching because my teaching style is different but yield results. I laugh a lot at myself because the things that I took so seriously my first year are miniscule in terms as I reflect on my years of teaching.  Perhaps I should take everything seriously but that would make teaching boring and being in my district is far from boring.

By year ten of being a traditional classroom teacher, I had seen enough to know that as long as I followed the rules and did not color too much out of the lines, I was safe.  I spent nine years between two middle schools, five different principals, and a lot of misunderstandings before deciding to move up to high school. Moving up to high school was the best decision I could have made, I felt more at ease in my classroom and besides I knew the student population well.  I did not leave my zone. I pretty much looped with them.

Now after a decade of teaching, I feel that it is time to reinvent my identity.  Yes I have multiple degrees, all the way up to my doctorate, but I will not hide behind my degrees and be defined by the titles.  I would rather display my hard work by doing what I love doing. I love to write so I’m channeling my energy into being an educator, author, and entrepreneur.  Just call me an “edupreneur” or a “bookpreneur” because I’m not a one dimensional person.  

It is good to find your voice when you know who you are as a teacher.  I know that my first book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching made a splash, but I’m sure that the 12 Ways to Survive Your First Year of Teaching will enlighten my readers in a completely different way.  I’m not out of colorful stories to tell. My approach this time is to offer tips to make that first year a little more manageable. 

Realistically, a bad first year contributes to teacher turnover rates.  As veteran teachers, we are responsible for helping our new colleagues adjust just like we are responsible for teaching our students.  

I feel strongly about mentoring new teachers because even though I was blessed with an awesome mentor teacher, everyone is not fortunate enough to have what I had.  Sure, things have changed as far as brick and mortar training, and even alternative preparation programs but teachers come into the profession to become stable. Surviving the first year lies heavily on the professional development new teachers receive and the support they have as they are learning their true duties and responsibilities.

I want to help new teachers acclimate to teaching and not be overwhelmed by the daily tasks and responsibilities and it is my hope that the lessons I’ve learned along the way will be helpful. Teaching is a great career to have and I want to tell you how to survive.

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