7 Things You Should Do In 2017

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In this New Year things will be different for some people, will remain the same for others, but it will ultimately represent completion for the risk takers, over-achievers, and GOAL DIGGERS!  I am a few months shy from the rebirth of my blog and with all of the things I have done with writing, experimenting, and finding my niche, I am moved by LIFE!

So as I was sitting home on New Year’s Day I had a burst of energy and the title, 7 Things You Should Do In 2017 popped in my head.  So here goes…

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Turning 35 in December put me smack dab in the middle of my 30s and Lord it hit me and I wasn’t READY!  But now as I look at my career over the past few years, six years in the military, a near year of working at Child Support Services (Not ideal for the working man), and in the middle of my ninth year in the traditional classroom (middle school teacher)…I am ready for something different.

I have earned multiple degrees (A.A.S., A.A., B.A., MPA, Ed.S., and Ed.D.), so now I want to transition into Higher Education.  So on with the pursuit!  If there is something that you want to do, the worse that can happen is being told no, but that does not mean give up.  That just means pour yourself into your pursuit.  It’s time and I feel in my gut that it is going to happen. This is my year!  So follow your instincts and take a leap, you just might enjoy the ride.  *Refreshing my resume, LinkedIn, Higher Ed. jobs account, and EVERYTHING else.*  Wish me luck!

Plan the Vacation You’ve Always Wanted to Taketaking-a-vacation-in-the-middle-of-a-class

I found, booked, and fully paid for a cruise to Jamaica in 2014, but due to extenuating circumstances I was unable to go so I loss $1500.  Sounds like chump change right?  No the hell it don’t.  But after sitting at home these past two holidays…Thanksgiving and Christmas… I have decided I bet I won’t be here next year.  It is time to plan my trip to Jamaica and anywhere else I want to go.  I will escape my home life and you should too.  Whether it’s domestic or international, invest in yourself, your peace of mind, and take yourself somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go.  Jamaica…Aruba…Virgin Islands…Turks and Caicos… I swear I must have been an islander in my past life and thank goodness I already have a PASSPORT.

Write and Publish Your Own Book61yromeb5hl                                                      Everyone has a story or two to tell.  We are all made unique and our life experiences shape us into divine individuals.  For some my life as a country girl from a single parent home that has grown up to do the things I have done is inspiring and for some it might be a bore.  But what I know is that regardless of your backstory, somebody is interested in reading it.  Writing My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching was extremely personal because it was my journey into teaching.  It’s not about the money; it’s about sharing my words, my talent, and my expressions.  So I challenge you all to put it on paper and watch it grow.  Tell your story…someone needs to hear it.

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Being recently separated after being married for a couple of years, I am suddenly facing no longer being married (I’m not mad, I’m GOOD and so is LIFE).  Oh My Goodness I was blindsided by some things but clearly it was time to let go.  But there are some really good looking men in this world so when a man steps correctly-spend time with him, get to know him, Netflix and Chill with himJ  Ain’t nothing wrong with kicking it with the opposite sex…respect your space…set your boundaries….but be an adult about all of that.  Have a crush, get you a kiss, hold hands, go to movies…throw on some Xscape and Just Kick It! YOLO! LOL!

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I have decided that I will purchase gift cards each month leading into the holiday season, but I need my NEST EGG to be back where it used to be.  Don’t get caught up in helping others (the parentals are not included) that you tell yourself NO.  I used to be able to have a few thousands in my savings but when you HELP someone too often you end HURTING yourself.  I don’t know anything about 501ks, stocks, bonds, cd’s…so that is going to be my next INVESTMENT…  I need my duckets lined up in a row.  My teacher retirement is one thing but the way my mind set up… Give Me More!  I’m trying to save enough for all of those rainy days…besides by the time my rays of sunshine (Lil Phil and Pressy) go on to college, I’ll be paying out of pocket! Jesus Fix It!  I need and you need your savings to match your mortgage and car note for at least three months.  I’m Just Saying!

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Blogs are the new diary.  Everybody can become Bridgette Jones.  Yes everyone has one but what is the message in your blog?  Crazily everyone is taking this blogging business haphazardly as I look around at people with profitable blogs.  You may not be looking today to express your thoughts, share your life, or build your platform but you have something to say and share.  I love my journey.  I love my blog and the feedback I get from it lets me know that I am reaching further than I imagined.  I am not really stuck on lifestyle, spirituality, or beauty…but now people are turning their personal interests into a business, and so should you.

Don’t Dwell on the Past

No one cares about your past unless you make it a reoccurring topic.  You have to ask yourself how am I going to build a brighter future.  Dwelling in the past does not propel your future.  Jobs/careers are not always dreamy, relationships fail, and life is always a battlefield you just have to decide to have faith or stress about what you can’t control.  Everyone has a past.  Live for today and take nothing for granted because your life has already been designed, outlined, and determined.  Because of my faith I am where I am supposed to be and I don’t REGRET a single thing.  Let Go and Move On!

In this New Year, I will strike out like never before and accomplish more.  I saw a meme that said it nice to see girls names on degrees rather than club flyers…check my resume…check my LinkenIn… these 7 Things You Should Do in 2017  will most definitely help me and YOU #BragDifferent

 ~TilyaRealEyes

35 Random Thoughts on the Eve of my 35th Birthday

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I’m sitting here under my chocolate, velvet throw blanket on this gloomy day one day before my birthday.  Tomorrow is MY National Holiday and I have the most random, sincere, thought-provoking and heartbreaking thoughts running through my mind.

35. The holidays have seemed to go by in a blur since 2009.

34. This is the first Christmas that my children have gone without seeing their father. (I’m sure someone will make sure to tell on me for this one… good for you!)

33.  My children really do have everything they could ever ask for…go karts don’t count because they had gas powered four wheelers when they much younger (like 5 and 7)

32.  How is the world did I manage to forget to renew my driver’s license the day before my birthday.

31.  My husband’s problems overshadowed my graduation in June… I got my Doctorate, he lost his job shortly after.

30. One of my older cousins was murdered Mother’s Day weekend…we weren’t close but my mom was one of his favorite aunt’s.

29. It took me five years to complete my degree…Doctor of Education…I’m so damn proud of myself.

28. I self-published my first book and what an experience that has been.  I’m proud of myself.

27. My babies are growing up…Lil Phil will be 13 in March, I’m not ready.

26. Preston is going to be in the 6th grade next school term; I am going to cry my eyes out…he’s my heartbeat.

25.  I’m ready to transition into Higher Education…

24.  One day I have got to make it to Jamaica…that is my dream trip. (Who’s going with me?)

23.  I got so focused on someone else that I forgot to keep my “star player” in check…#LIFELESSON

22.  I decided that I really like Patron…Anejo (the orange box)…it’s so smooth

21.  I need a new hobby…I’m considering couponing (my children eat a lot)

20.  I binge watched the third season of Power and it was alright, Angela really upset by turning on Ghost in the end… I blame Tommy!

19. I really have been living separately from HIM since July…trying to support his job opportunities.  Now it’s a permanent separation! (Someone else will tell on me for this one too… Good job to you too!)

18. September introduced a shift in the atmosphere and I realized I had to get some things in order…your gut don’t lie.

17.  It was time to lose weight, and I lost 20 lbs.  I guess a little stress and watching what you eat does that to you.

16. I know most of these things on this list are not directly about me but they consume my thoughts.

15.  For the past few months I literally have been waking up at 3:30 each morning, praying then going back to sleep.  I can’t explain it, but my spirit just wasn’t resting well.

14.  Some people think that I am strong because of the things that I have experienced, but most days I feel so anti and want to stay home because I get tired of PUSHING through the BS.

13.  I have stopped trying to see the good in everybody…I either fool with you or I don’t…and if I don’t trust me, you’ll know.

12.  Football season for my son’s was LIT!  Preston got faster…he’s a beast…Young Primetime…Randy Moss in the making.  I just adore him.

11.  There is nothing wrong with coming home to the confines of my four walls and not fooling with people.  I’ll socialize when I’m good and damn ready.

10. Being friends is better than relationships sometimes because as friends there are no lines to worry about crossing…laugh, have a good time, go your separate ways until you connect again!  I Will Sing Sing this with a smile on my face!

9.  Next year my plans will be laid out clearly and I will accomplish all of the goals that I set for myself…2017 is going to be EPIC!

8.  God told me to sit down and not be so busy… I did then I was able to see.

7.  God then told me to be quiet so I did then I was able to hear.

6.  God told me to be honest so I was, then my heart became lighter; I was no longer caring the burden of unfulfilled love.

5.  I got the toxic people out of my life and I’m still standing.  Who cares what other’s think?  People are going to talk anyway and only understand from their level of perception.

4.  As hard as I work, I will never let another person bring me down again…I’ve accomplished too much.  My resume looks GREAT at 35…IJS!

3.  My heart is not hardened but I will guard my heart because it is the source of life.  Love can come later…I’ll pass for now.

2.  Who would have thought that three years after meeting someone they would become a distant memory.

1. 35 is another milestone.  In my new year the goals I have set for myself can only be deterred by me and I am too ambitious to let myself down.

Happy Birthday to Me! 35 is year of dreams come true! 2017—7 the number of completion…I can’t wait to see what I will complete in the new year.

Leave People Where They Are

Sometimes you have to leave people where they are so that you do not stunt your growth.  Take a look around you, take in the faces you see, the many people you encounter in a day are fighting battles beyond their control.cc489911048d3d6ee19e0e528fa64722

It is easy to tell someone to give their problems to God, let go and everything will work itself out but what about the advice given that is the complete opposite.  Your closest friends, family members, and spiritual family will pray for you as you pray for yourself but as you pray, you feel your flesh becoming weaker by the day and you lose faith.

In an interesting roundabout of conversation I have communicated with people with various perspectives on love, relationships, and life and I learn something new each time these topics come up.  The issue of marriage is always a hot topic because most of the people that I am around daily are married and have been for a few years.  In a wide range of two years on up to 20 years or more, listening to these people speak on the topic, as I also contribute to the discussion, we hear each other saying the same things but how we deal with each situation is completely different.

Conflict is always the laughable stories.  Communication in relationships causes unwanted stress.  The discussion on finances always arises and figuring out how to balance it all is our common denominator.  But what do you do when all of this breaks down?  Do you throw in the towel or hang on and let the relationship take its course?

The idea of moving on is tough especially when you have completely invested yourself in the relationship and know that once you get over the hump things will get better.  I personally admire marital relationships that have lasted 20, 30, or even 40 plus years.  The relationships that have lasted that length of time show commitment to one another to see each obstacle all the way through together.  They didn’t just walk away because things got tough and almost unbearable.  They worked through the conflict and heartbreak in order to mend the connection they share.

However, on the flip side of working things out I was introduced to a different perspective.  Ironically people that are single want to be married, and married people want to be single because marriage takes a lot of work.

I heard a guy say in a discussion once that you don’t have to get married because that is what society expects you to do.  He said that people treat marriage like a trend, and after they see what it’s like and decide that they don’t like it, people just walk away.  He also said that people don’t take love seriously anymore.  He had a point because I know women including myself that have had to cope with failed relationships time and time again.

Now the guy was not bashing marriage and relationships but he said sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered.  He’s right! Ignoring your significant other makes matters worse if there is already tension in the air.  But he went on to say that relationships take a lot of work, almost too much work if you asked him…LOL. He was dead ass serious.  He set this scenario:  If your significant other is having a bad day, you have to put your feelings to the side, take on their concerns, sympathize with them to make sure they are okay then do something for them to make them feel better.  He didn’t say that he would have a problem doing it, he was simply saying that at the end of the a bad day, he likes going home to confines of his four walls and not dealing with anyone if he doesn’t have to.  That sounds easy but when there is already a breakdown that is not easy to do.

That’s not a selfish thought that is just where he is in his life and that is respectable.  At least he’s a man that knows who he is and what he is and isn’t ready for.   When he does finally decide to settle down I am sure the women he gives his love to will be truly adored.

All too often we jump into relationships, the new feelings and attention gives you goosebumps then the infatuation wears off.  The kind words turn into periods of silence and every conversation has a slither of conflict attached to it.  The roller-coaster of emotions is ushered in and you find yourself at an impasse.  Women are emotional creatures and internalize the breakdown and will see things for what they are while remaining optimistic.  Men will walk away using their heads and not their hearts not realizing the hurt they are causing.  This is not all relationships, but I have talked to so many women that have loved with all of their heart and still got handled badly.

If God is not at the center of these relationships, most times these relationships are failing.  Moving on sounds easy in theory but it’s a lot harder to do for some more than others.  Eventually you have to move on and leave people where they are.

So I have a question, do you think it is easy hang on because relationships have seasons or should you move on?  Leave a comment, I’m interested to know what you think.

I Inadvertently Took Some Time Off

I inadvertently took some time off from my blog because I wanted to see what all of the email courses and other “blogging” tricks were about.  I completed an eight day email course and learned some valuable things but most importantly I learned that she (course creator) began in this industry not really knowing where it was going to take her either.

I did learn from her though that if you are going to write blogs, make them epic, make them insightful, make them relatable, make them as long as you want because if people are really liking the things you write about then they will continue to come back looking for more.  Point well taken!

Keeping with the lessons that I have learned, I am now etching out my next steps because I would like more control in my life, career, finances, and creativity.  There are so many elements to the blogging business that I know now that I WANT A PROFITABLE BLOG.  So now as I think about my niche, I will keep that to myself until I am ready to…GUESS WHAT?

RELAUNCH!

 Can you believe it?  I am going to be relaunching…how soon, that’s a secret too! LOL!

I have also ultimately decided to switch directions a little bit because I want to be KNOWN for what I do.  I am grateful to the followers that I have, but I also want to grow my audience.  I am inspired by the many TOP NICHE bloggers that exist, but I am not comparing myself to any of them because my thoughts are mine, my ideas are mine, and my future is bright as I realign my goals.

There is such a thing as being epic and simple!  I don’t need a bunch of categories to write on…I need to just focus on my passion as I move forward.  Yes I had bright ideas of being the best right out of the gate, but as I see, this is an ongoing process that will be tweaked, revised, and prioritized many times over even after today.  My passion is WRITING so I VOW to be good at it if nothing else.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have considered what types of consumable products I could possibly create, and I banged my head because I was not sure if I wanted to undertake such a large task.  That was until a few weeks ago while at work…FULL-TIME TEACHER…a colleague was talking about all of the ideas they had for a book project.  I told my colleague I would help them figure it out just let me think about it.  On yesterday I wrote them a quick checklist on how to organize their thoughts as it was very SIMPLE.

  • What are the themes of your project?
  • Where did you draw your inspiration…quotes, scripture, etc?
  • What is your backstory to why you feel passionate about your chosen themes?
  • What impact do you want to have on your audience?
  • What is holding you back from writing? START NOW!

My colleague looked at the quick list and said four words, “You are the bomb!”  I smiled because I don’t mind helping a creative outline their next step, if they are serious.  Then that got me thinking, I really do like to write.  I want to write books!  I want to be behind the scenes helping make things happen.  I don’t know how good I’ll be at creating products, and even though it seems like everyone is doing it there is room for everybody to WIN.  Helping my colleague turned into an AHA! Moment…This REBRAND is going to be BANANAS!

I’m not keen on the idea of email lists…but I know once I create stuff that other creatives want for free…I am sure the list will begin to build.  So that is kind of where I am at.  I have to roll up my sleeves and do the work…try some stuff…think bigger…create some stuff…and if all else fail…scrap that stuff and start all over again.

So of course when you see my blog now, I am kind of all over the place…not really…but somewhat.  I tried just writing from the heart, but I didn’t want to seem redundant.  I did the short lived, Meaningful Monday, Truthful Tuesday, and Thankful Thursday, but that format didn’t really work for me either.  Switching gears I tried the topic creator and was able to come up with the 5 Things My Single Mom Taught Me, I Have Not Always Been a Wife, I Don’t Want to Coach: I Just Want to Write, and one of my most well received blogs-What No One Tells You About Blogging.

Pinterest had even hoodwinked me into writing some of those broad blog post embedded in those blogging challenges.  I liked my blog, The Meaning of TilyaRealEyes “The Educated Butler” but it wasn’t enough.  Now I am not even sure if “The Educated Butler” is going to make it into the new year.  It was an idea but with this impending relaunch, I feel like that tagline will not be a part of my niche.  I even had a buffer account, until I got a new phone which was where I scheduled most of my buffer posts.

I didn’t get tired of that account, but once I repeat myself 20 times, even I get bored.   Yes I know I should trust the process, but I didn’t feel too impactful.  I could grab my Chromebook and start scheduling again, but that is just not what I feel like doing.

Here I am being authentically ME.  Yes this is from the heart!  This has been on my mind, I just had to clear my mind of all the other clutter to write.  This is who I am.  My personal life even took a hit which also stagnated my creativity.  The only thing I have accomplished since mid-September is redoing the cover of my book.

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Amazon Kindle and Paperback

So keep reading through my old blogs while you can…I’m working on other projects that I can’t wait to share as well as new business ideas.  It’s weird; turning 35 in December has me reorganizing my life again.  All of my 20’s I said that I wasn’t business-minded.  Now I’m striving to create my own quality business as an Independent Author, Blogger, and ________________. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching

I am learning a very invaluable lesson since the accidental release of my first book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching.

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Available on Amazon

 

Although this book is my first literary baby I see that regardless of my effort to produce quality writing about my journey into teaching, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes.  I did not set my sights astronomically high, but I did hope that it would be better received by my peers.

Now this is not a blog about “whoa is me”.   I am merely noticing that in this self-publishing world in order to be noticed, your platform needs to be larger than your Facebook friends. Perhaps my chosen genre of nonfiction is not as entertaining and interesting as fictional stories.  My intention was not to entertain, but to provide a heads-up to new teachers that teaching is more than lesson plans and pedagogy.

To read more click here!

 

I Don’t Want to Coach, I Just Want to Write

I Don’t Want to Coach, I Just Want to Write

 I’m not anti-coaching, but I know that’s not for me.

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Photo credit: Dave Morrison Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND             

Yesterday I compiled a list of bloggers, networks, and websites and I am blown away.  Everybody has services and products they are offering and as I read all  I say to myself is,   I want to write.

Literature is my thing.  Books, words, life, and processing all of the above.  I think about my journey and my writing as a way to provide insight about my career field (teaching), and my personal struggles (life).  I by not means am trying to coach anyone through their profession or life decisions.   So why does everyone want to be a coach?

I must reference StephRoyalty because there are just some things you should not be paying someone for.  I think experience is the best teacher, because if you never make mistakes, you will never learn.  I can honestly say that I write down many thoughts, and blog ideas, revisit those ideas, then write.  But today’s blog came on a whim!

This morning when I prepared myself to visit and register with blogging networks, I hit up twitter and was immediately shocked, maybe not shocked, but just over the coaching aspect of blogging.   I admit, I just don’t get it! You either want to write or you don’t!

I do feel however that once people gravitate to your work, you find ways to keep them engaged, but how is coaching someone through creativity the way?  You need coaches for competition! Is there a blogger olympics that everyone is being coached for that I don’t know anything about?  Who’s coaching the coaches in this industry?

Now don’t get it twisted, a workshop on monetization is a necessity.  A webinar on strategies and networking will give you key ideas and points to ponder.  We all want to make money, but what happens to the creative writers that blog because they have a constant stream of thought?  What becomes of the writer’s that publish books and write just to relieve tension?  What about the people like me that really don’t offer services and just want to WRITE?

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Photo credit: MyEyeSees via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m not knocking anyone’s hustle because we all want to get “PUT ON”.  But if everybody is offering coaching services at competitive prices, are we “one upping” the competition?  There are some really amazing bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs out here and I’m losing track.

I can’t focus on my brand long enough to see if I actually have one, because everybody trying to assist in branding!  Now does that make sense?  It does and then at the same time it doesn’t.  My message is so simple…

Discipline…I am focused enough to make this writing career happen. Authenticity…I am staying true to myself in the midst of this blogger world pandemonium.  Perseverance…I am willing to stay the course as long as possible, to see my words come to fruition.

Let me reiterate!  I don’t want to coach, I just want to write.  If I happen upon an audience that likes my honesty and transparency, then good for me.  Now let me get back to my compiled list, and let you get back to your regularly scheduled program.  Tootle Loo!

What No One Tells You About Blogging

What No One Tells You About Blogging

When I made the choice to dedicate my time write more, work on building my brand (which I’m still sorting through TilyaRealEyes “The Educated Butler”), publishing my book, and networking, I had no clue about the amount of time I would spend obsessing about the details.  For a creative with a fluid stream of thought, bottling up my emotions into multiple blog posts is delicate.  When I read numerous social media posts about brand building, mail list, and content launching, I begin to ask myself “Am I doing something wrong?”  So I decided to cleanse my mind to tell you all what I am learning so far about what no one tells you about blogging.

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The Experts

The first thing no one tells you is that the blogging industry is full of experts that have been around for YEARS!  And I do mean they have been building steadily for five or more years and somewhat already had a platform when they began.  Their platforms from corporate America, pageantry, and other connections already created a buzz, so people that have worked closely with influencers already had a captive audience.  That does not mean that in the blogging start-up market you do not have a chance.  It just means that you have to work harder to meet your mark.

Workbooks/Workshops/Webinars

In information overload keeping up with the trending concepts is overwhelming.  Lifestyle, fashion, inspirational, relationships, everyone is offering advice.  There is tons of help being offered at low and high prices.  Oddly, in start-up, investing in books, workshops, webinars, and other online content comes with an expensive price tag.  It is exciting to see gifs dancing all over your screen, then as soon as you decide you are interested, you are hit with costs ranging from free to hundreds of dollars.  These resources are helpful, but the information is recycled and tweaked to individual liking from author to author.  It is true, you have to spend money to make money.  But don’t go broke investing, take it one day at at time (note to self).

Social Media

It is up to you to separate your personal life and your business life.  Presenting your content on various sites is time consuming and confusing.  Trying to follow a content checklist to be sure to share, tweet, stumble, tumble, press, and pin is both beneficial and aggravating at the same time.  It’s worth it if your followers engage in your content.  But no one tells you that you need to recycle, update, and revise your content continuously to make it more appealing.  So next time you see your favorite blogger, note that they aren’t creating new content as often as you thought.  So your content should be consistently impactful each and every time it is shared because impressions really matter.

It Is Not Easy

In the beginning of the week, your ideas are fresh, your journals are attached to your hand, and your fingers skip along the home row keys on your keyboard as your ideas flow.  In the middle of the week none of your ideas are formulating and you think that your writing needs an overhaul.  By the end of week you are in tears because no one seems to be paying attention to your work.  It is discouraging!  But be reminded that plenty of others have felt this very same way.

I am learning that there is no true right or wrong way to launch, and that consistency is key.  Bloggers write to establish their platforms, create useful products, and produce content driven to keep their audience engaged.  No one is telling your the perfect formula for creation, because you have to do the work!

*image from wordpress.com*

The Meaning of TilyaRealEyes “The Educated Veteran”

The Meaning of TilyaRealEyes…“The Educated Veteran”

TilyaRealEyes has been around for a long time since my first blog when I was registered with blogspot.  I had so many things going with me in 2010 that I needed and outlet because I was beginning to realize a lot about my life, about myself and about my situation.wp-image-2072040792jpg.jpg

When you look at my first name, LaTilya, I just decided that TilyaRealEyes was befitting because I was also seeing the transformation in my thought processes, my level of maturity, my growth as a woman, and facing divorce after accepting my separation for what it was.  I was realizing that my life was going to be what I made it.

I began writing as my escape to unload my feelings out into the atmosphere to begin my healing process.  I was devastated by the events of my marriage and I had to find a way to let it all go to an unbiased, listening ear that would not hush me or tell me that I was being overly sensitive.  Tilya, as is I, was realizing that I had to take care of me or the anger was going to consume me.  I was seeking God, I was venting, and I was secretly hoping that my estranged husband would stumble on my words and see my hurt.  Through TilyaRealEyes, I established my voice and realized that I had the strength to take control of my life and turn my life into a platform free of judgement filled with encouragement and transparency to others who have experienced loss and humiliation in life.

I initially bared my soul and deepest thoughts into my blog, but I became stagnant and the blogspot went to the way side.

Now as I have revamped my blog, I have moved past the heartbreak and now I want to use my platform to speak and write about persevering through tough situations and hardships.  I want to talk about having the discipline to stay committed to your endeavors no matter how overwhelming life gets.  The reality is, “Shit happens!”  Everyday will not be glittery rainbows, and you will want to cry and just throw everything down and walk away.  TilyaRealEyes snatches you back to reality and encourages you to stay true to yourself, your goals, your ambition, and recommit to your life.  I share my struggles and how I have grown to represent the best authentic version of me.  Free of crippling insecurities and full of thought-provoking vulnerabilities.  20151208_083123

I want my readers to feel inspired and keep checking back for updates and inspiration for their lives.  I would like my audience to know the woman behind the words.  My writing demonstrates my emotions as I work on other things such as books and various ideas that float through my mind.

So on one layer I deal with life, the good the bad and the ugly.  The unpredictable, mundane, and the melancholy.  But on a philosophical note, I am also “The Educated Veteran”.

The Educated Veteran is my teacher hat where I systematically discuss issues that arise in education that I see daily as a classroom teacher.  It is a play on my profession and legal last name combined.  As an educator I hear the complaints from teachers, students, administrators, and parents and this drives me to be the non-standard leader. I will rock my hair shaved on one side.  Be down to earth with my colleagues, but wear my professionalism where it is needed.  I don’t like the feeling of my hands being tied with the constant reforming of educational policies.  So I’m taking it upon myself to share my perceptions about new teachers, classroom management, teacher retention, and all things related to education.  I’m striving to be a change agent, reshaping the look of leadership.

Since receiving my Doctor of Education degree, people look at me like I have three eyes, waiting to see what direction my life and career is about to take.  Ironically, my drive makes me want to inform others of the ills and wills of education.  I love my career, and I’m a firm believer that I am most beneficial to students whom I identify with.  Until I have a major career change, I’m satisfied being The Educated Veteran due to my various degrees and my quest for knowledge. 

cropped-20160718_120948.jpgCheck out my debut book My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching which gives your personal stories of my teaching journey so far.  I bring relevance and credibility to The Educated Veteran.

Now you know the meaning of my site.  I am TilyaRealEyes, The Educated Veteran!  Ask me anything and I will gladly help you realize your truth.

20 Facts About Me

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  1. I am my mother’s only child.
  2. I have half siblings on my biological father’s side.
  3. I was in a secret relationship my Junior year in high school. (I hate him now!)
  4. I began my college journey at the University of Florida.
  5. Seafood, specifically snow crab legs and shrimp are my favorite food.                       
  6. I have attended 8 different colleges and universities from 2000-2016.                  University of Florida, Burlington Community College, Western International University, University of Phoenix, Community College of the Air Force (A.A.S. 06’), Thomas Edison State College (A.A. and B.A. Liberal Studies, 07’), Bellevue University (MPA 09’),  Nova Southeastern University (Ed.S. 10’ and Ed. D. 16’) img_20160518_110904.jpg
  7.  I am from Waycross, Georgia, Home of the Okefenokee Swamp. 
  8. I joined the United States Air Force in 2001, and served until 2007.
  9.  The first time I got married was in 2003 until I got divorced in 2011.                                                                                                                   
  10.  I have visited 12 United States and 1 U.S. Territory:  Florida, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and U.S. Territory-Puerto Rico
  11.  I am a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.20160116_112608-1-1.jpg
  12.  I have been on 3 Carnival Cruises: Bahamas twice, and Cozumel/Key West once
  13.  I worked for the Office of Child Supported Services for 8 months, and hated it.
  14.  I love the The Real Housewives Franchise, except for the Miami cast, they don’t do anything for me.  The Real Housewives of Atlanta are my favorite since I’m a GA Girl.
  15.  I have twelve tattoos…three of them are butterflies that represent the changes in my life.
  16.  I have two wonderful sons, Phillip who’s 12 and Preston who’s 10.
  17.  I have been a middle school teacher since 2008.
  18. I got remarried in 2014.wp-image-1457144966jpg.jpg
  19. I have played tennis as a hobby since 2012.
  20. I self-published my first book My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching
    20160702_170048Comment and let me know what you find the most interesting, I’ll be sure to respond.

9 Reasons Education is Confusing

9 Reasons Education is Confusing by LaTilya Rashon

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I attended Center Junior High School under the esteemed Dr. Robert T. Bussey, who was my mother’s principal when she was in school.  The city of Waycross  schools and Ware County schools merged the 1994 school term and contrary to some of the horror stories of that merger, middle school in 1996 was way different than middle school now in 2016.  Other than being two decades apart, I will explain the nine reasons education is confusing.

9. Grading System Changed: Before teachers had more autonomy of their grades because simply speaking, students either completed their work or they didn’t.  There were no categories like Assessment of Learning, Assessment During Learning, Homework, Classwork, Test/Quizzes/Projects or anything else for that matter.  There were no percentages for the categories such as 50% classwork, 40% assessments, 10% homework.  Teachers graded work as it was assigned, recorded it in the grade book, averaged the all the grades and that was what went on the report card.  Now, teachers have a certain number of assignments per category so now it’s almost impossible for students to fail a class unless they choose not to complete any work.

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8. Limited Class Options:  I had the option to Agriculture, Life Skills, Health, and Career Connections with Mrs. Ganas where we learned about the Occupational Outlook Handbook and was able to job shadow someone for a full day and receive a class grade.  Now middle school students are limited to P.E. without the Health class component, Band, Reading or Math/Study Skills class, Technology, and Art if it has not been cut from the budget.  We were somewhat ability grouped, and changed classes by crossing over with other homerooms which made a competitive and productive roster.  In my teaching environment students travel from class to class on their grade level with their assigned homeroom everyday, and the class roster is split into fours assigning these chunks of students to the same connections classes.  There is not enough variety in the day.

7.  Apathetic Students:  I was required in middle school to do a Social Science Fair project or a Science Fair project.  Teachers communicated the expectations to students, sent home parent letters, and gave ample time in school and after school to work on projects.  I was lucky enough to attend the regional science fair at South Georgia College in 1993 for my project, Does Artificial Light Effect Plant Growth?  Now students majorly choose to not complete a science fair project and accept the grades of zero that come along with it.  It seems as if students have given up to the point science fairs are optional.

6.  Standardized Assessments:  The ITBS test is now used for instructional planning and a formative assessment.  It gives your child a ranking in school based on their results, but its an ability grouping tool.  Students did not feel the pressure to test well in 1996 because everything counted, so you were expected to do well.  I am guilty of this, but when my students enter the door I start the year off mentioning state assessments that they know are sure to come.  My class is based on test results, so my students learn fast why they are placed in my Reading class.  It’s tough for students that know they struggle, but are now in middle school trying to play catch up.

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5.  Teachers Are Younger:  Now you would think that age is nothing but a number when dealing with professionals, but I know that when I was in school my teachers were older, or shall I say their dress code was.  My teachers hardly wore jeans, always wore dress pants, blouses, and dresses with modest make-up.  Now when you walk into schools there are a lot children that look more mature than their teachers.  It’s hard for urban middle schoolers to respect someone who is the same age as their older siblings.

4.  Teacher Preparation:  I came in as a TAPP (Teacher Alternative Preparation Program) teacher from a different career field, the military, so I had life and work experience.  A lot f the teacher pedagogy that is learned traditionally is valuable, but teaching by the book is a no-go for middle school.  This works well for early childhood educators, but at the middle school level when students are trying to find their identity, you have to play it by ear.  The bricks and mortar way to teacher preparation gives teachers false interpretations of a classroom, so sometimes at the middle school level, teachers don’t last long.  I’ll touch on this later.

3.  Social Media:  There weren’t computers in the classroom 20 years ago.  The classroom equipped with computers was the computer lab and that was the typing class.  We had the old typing lessons that taught you your home row keys and by the end of the semester you learned basic typing skills.  The only phone you had was a house phone.  Now kids of all ages have cellular phones, and some of those phones are better than adult phones.  Social media is how kids communicate, rather than writing friendly notes.  There is a whole new language (text talk) that is being spoken by this generation.  I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t have social media, however in school it is a major distraction.

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2.  Parental Involvement:  Open house, report card pick-up, parent-teacher conferences, athletic events, PTO meetings,  and awards banquets have low parent participation.  I remember being in school and my mom never missed an event.  Now we can barely get a parent to show up for their highly disruptive child.  New age parents are not like parents from decades past.  It is heart-breaking to know that a lot of the students today are raising themselves.  Schools need parents to meet them halfway.

1. Lack of Consistency: I entered into the profession of teaching eight years ago and I am now on my seventh district superintendent.  I live in one city, but teach in another and I see that changeover is more severe in my district.  From formative assessments, progress monitoring tools, academic expectations, and changes in district wide leadership nothing has been placed for longer than two academic years to see progress.  It doesn’t help that new state assessments have changed, so have promotion requirements.  I’m not a strategist, but it appears that once leaders leave the classroom, they become out of touch with the classroom struggle.  Teachers are now simply collecting a check rather than genuinely teaching.  Education represents stability, but in some cases teachers are providing a disservice to their students.

I’m sure there are more reasons, but these stood out for me the most.