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!

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”

Download Your Copy:
http://amzn.to/2ETDrZg

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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