So last month in June I did a thing…I spoke at a conference for the first time and I will have the opportunity to speak at the Total Belle Royal Retreat this month and I’m so excited.
For the past four weeks I have been doing “Motivation Monday” on my FB Live and IG (@latilyarashon) because I find that while people are following others on social media, there is disingenuous interest in creativity. People are looking beyond the message and offering unsolicited criticisms about things not even associated with a persons vision and brand.
I felt triggered in a conversation one day and it spawned three thoughts in my mind that some people need to hear. Let’s just face it, if we spend so much time focusing on the mistakes of others there is truly something wrong with you individually on the inside.
First of all, stop letting people play in your face with their backhanded compliments. There is no sincerity in being fake. People will watch you long enough to figure out how to tear you down. Don’t let people trick you into thinking they have your back. The truth is unless they are “like-minded” as you, looking out for yourself is your best bet.
Secondly, in this new month of discovery and endeavors, you have to Be Diligent in everything you set out to do. It takes planning and commitment to get to the next level. In the process of planning, you have to be willing to learn something new daily and make sacrifices of your time. As you are working, be sure to research but don’t try to implement everything that you come across. You will wind up overwhelming yourself and stopping before you ever get started. So in your research, keep what you need and use it, but toss information that you find to be not helpful.
Lastly, Figure It Out! There is no blueprint or shortcut to you reaching your next level of success. Learn what you can and set your own timeline. There is no rush. Create your content, write your business plans, develop your marketing strategy, and most importantly…Be Yourself!
I have rebooted my drive monthly as a self-published author and I continue to nervously step out of my comfort zone. I’m doing what I can and I’m keeping people out of my face. LOL!
The many misconceptions about teaching is that the career field is easy. I have written about the 9 Reasons Education is Confusing but right I want to tackle a topic that is close to home, “teacher burnout”. Inside the walls of a school, there are decisions being made that rattle the adults more than the kids and it makes completing your tasks each day extremely difficult. If you ever wondered why teachers throw in the towel to an easily assumed career, this blog discusses the 4 reasons teachers face “burn out”.
Each academic year is started off with a big meeting, “Convocation” in most places where teachers get a pep talk and inspirational thank you’s for their commitment to the school district and profession. Some teachers are engaged in the long, drawn out meeting, some steal away to the restroom midway through the keynote speaker’s address because the formality of convocation is boring, and new teachers take it all in as an exciting experience.
Convocation is the first of many meetings to come. At your school all of these committees and teams are formed, in conjunction with content area meetings, district level professional learning and training, staff meetings, grade level meetings and school-wide professional learning; teachers begin to ask when will they have time to work on content that they were hired to teach. Meetings and micromanagement does not work for teachers that want autonomy of their classroom.
Lack of Support
When problems begin to arise in the school, teachers think back to all of the meetings that have been held about procedures. There are protocols put in place that tells you how to handle situations. But when you see that disturbances are handled on a case by case basis and situational depending on the involved parties, there is a breakdown in how teachers feel supported. When teachers feel that they are not being supported based on what they have been told, more and more teachers walk away from the profession.
Paperwork/Documentation: Teachers and Students
The amount of paperwork that teachers are introduced to makes you wonder what exactly have you signed on to do. The universal screeners, individual education plans, behavior intervention plans, red tabs, discipline trackers, and parent contact logs must be in place to make sure students are receiving the right services required of teachers. But if teachers are negligent in their duties, they are tracked by means of code of ethics violations and personnel files that are kept at the school level, that then can be turned over to the local board of education for termination issues. It is a bit cumbersome to progress monitor behavior issues in a classroom where multiple behavior issues exist, and teachers are drowning in lesson plans and parental contact. One false statement or wrong signature can cause you your livelihood.
Staying in the same place for too long can be detrimental to one’s mindset and causes lack of motivation to stay in the profession. Change is good for anyone, and in this generation of students, the complexities that they face in life are far more different than what educators ever imagined. In at-risk, poverty stricken, low-socioeconomic status populations; homelessness, abuse, death, and previous retention of students consume work environments. Sometimes students have experienced so much, they come to school as a formality just waiting to turn 16 and dropout.
As an educator this is heartbreaking, and witnessing so much tragedy, and seeing the generations of students diminish in talent and respect, you find yourself wanting to do something new. Teachers may not be able to control the environment, but they leave it behind in pursuit of something better.
Ironically, a lot of teachers are taking their skills and transferring them to different fields such as writing books and other entrepreneurial endeavors. I myself am working on my third book on the ways to survive teaching your first year as a newbie. I love what I do, but I’m feeling the burn.
One of the realest things I read so far on this road to entrepreneurship is that THERE IS A LOT OF BAD INFORMATION OUT THERE!
Now one would think that with 10 years of traditional classroom teaching, six years of active duty military service, and six degrees (2 associates, B.A., MPA, Ed.S. and an Ed.D.), I should be where I want to be. Wrong…Wrong…Wrong! I’m trying to crack the self-publishing market and offer a message to aspiring and new teachers (THAT IS MY PURPOSE—To Inspire!)
I would attribute writing this book to being just like the formative years of education because in my first three years I learned A LOT. Mostly through trial and error and faulty circumstances. But in those first years I found my purpose and knew that I have a lot to offer as an educator. As an individual. As a person who is not afraid to make mistakes and take a risk.
Since the release of my book in July 2016, I still want to do more with it. I am almost desperate to do more with it because I know that there is some really good information embedded inside to keep teachers motivated. Now I’ll be honest, I have definitely taken some heat for my book but this was about some real stuff that I experienced as a new teacher. Much like my recollection of a having a teacher tell me I’d never be successful; I never wanted a child to feel that way about themselves in my classroom. I do not want new teachers feeling left out and ostracized unnecessarily… even with the good support of my mentor teacher, I felt alone when I started teaching. So I ask myself, was I supposed to paint a pretty picture of the people that were hard on me or was I supposed to tell my TRUTH.
Year One: This was the toughest year ever and I remember feeling like I was being tested to see if I could really hang in there with my high poverty stricken kids. But the thing about the students is that once I won them over, they were not the problem. IT WAS THE ADULTS. I cried a lot that first year because I felt like I was failing miserably at teaching. During pre-planning I had been whispered about because of a skirt that I thought was appropriate, but clearly it wasn’t. I felt so embarrassed by my assets…the skirt was long but that wasn’t the problem. I was body shamed before body shaming was a thing.
Dealing With Divorce: My first marriage fell apart during my second year of teaching. I was holding on by a thread. I had had a huge fight with my husband, got a mugshot for bursting out his truck window, separation, and watching the security I once felt in my marriage be shattered. All of this was going on while my boys were toddlers (Lil Phil-5, Preston-3). I was home alone with my two boys, cooking for them, dropping them off at daycare, working my full-time teaching job—stressing and wondering when my husband was going to come back home. HE DIDN’T! The divorce was finalized September, 2011!
Is This Really Happening: So many things happened to me in a few short years that I am blown away at the fact that I’m still in the classroom. I admit my very first administrator was hands down the bomb. She had very high expectations and as a new teacher I had no choice but to meet them. I’m extremely proud of my results after my first year of standardized testing…I can boast that 97% of my students passed the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (Phased out CRCT). But I dealt with a different administrator my 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of teaching that was so passive, it was difficult to feel productive under his leadership. I dealt with my car being stolen from the school campus my 5th year and instead of being sympathetic his reaction was, “It was a simple repossession.” That made my blood boil, and I knew it was time to GO!
A Different Perspective: Transferring to a different school was what I thought I needed and while I was yet again able to foster relationships with my students…I also had to deal with adults. I will say that I am brash and unfiltered at times, but I’m committed to my stance on things, and that doesn’t make me wrong; it makes me passionate about my kids. I respect other people’s opinions, but I think I have run into others not really respecting mine. In my ten short years, I have dealt with court cases with my now second ex-husband in 2014, the murder of my half-brother in 2015, middle of the year moves from one content/classroom to another in 2016, and truly feeling undervalued for my experience and knowledge. In a one on one conversation about leadership I once told an administrator, “Your perspective is skewed by what you think you know about me. Until you see me or in action, you have no idea what I’m capable of. I take my content very seriously. I’m not changing! But you’d have to talk to me to know that.”
Even through all of that I have experienced, the nonconstructive criticisms, and being told I’m not qualified or experienced enough to be an academic coach I still forge ahead. I’ve also been told I’m “social media heavy”, whatever that means. I mean, is this the wave?!?!? Criticize others for the moves they are making because you are not making them yourself?!?!?
Yes my career is teaching but my vision is much bigger than being in a classroom forever. I refuse to be one dimensional. Just as I heard today…not everyone wants you to be successful. I’m building my platform one blog, discussion, experience, post, and video at a time. I am not a traditional teacher…I have a bit of an edge about me and I’m not afraid to share my experiences.
As I’m figuring this all out I know that the LaTilya Rashon brand and PSB2 Publishing will rise as I coach myself through the necessities.
To learn more about my self-published titles please check me out here. Be sure to connect with me on social media.
Be sure to share and leave a comment. Thanks for reading.
I have not neglected my teacher hat by focusing on self-care and writing more consistently in other areas of interest, so today I will chat about my transition to high school. I’m undecided about writing a book about this experience. Maybe after a couple a years I may do a follow-up to my debut book.
Based on my experience in high school and having the deep rooted thought that I would be a high school teacher, it took me nine years in middle school before I leveled up to high school. I must admit that I LOVE IT! Even as I’m asked how do I feel about being at my school I tell people that’s not a fair question because I have been in my particular zone for 10 years, so these are MY KIDS!
I admit it’s a different world teaching in my area because I live 30 minutes south of my zone and it’s like night and day. But I often say that if I was anywhere else I would be bored out of my mind because my kids are very entertaining. Now much like with my first book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, there have been some bumps in the road, but these minor detours have been more manageable than they were when I initially began teaching in 2008. I think it’s safe to say that I have reached VETERAN status…LOL!
I didn’t know what I was embarking on when I decided to step up but I see from the whispers, uncertainty, questionable approaches, relationships, and sticking true to who I am and I how I teach…I’m Good!
For starters, in my sixth year of teaching, the current seniors in my building were my 8th grade babies the 2013-2014 school term. The current juniors in my building were my 8th grade babies the 2014-2015 school term and we packed up and shut down the old middle school at the end of that year. Recombining middle schools the 2015-2016 school term, I taught some of the 8th graders through my reading connections class, then the 2016-2017 academic year I taught half of the 8th graders after abruptly being moved from the reading connections class into the English/Language Arts classroom. But that is another story for another day. It turned out to be a good move even though the way I was moved was not handled the best way in my opinion.
I knew that when I graduated from Nova Southeastern University with my Doctor of Education degree in 2016, it was only going to be a matter of time before it was time to move on. I thought that my interview went fairly easy, but to move up with my kids was a big blessing for me. I was ready for the challenge and to be a familiar face for my students that gave me a greater feeling. To be honest to see the students that have made it to their senior year warms my heart because so many students get lost along the way.
My classroom management has not been an issue since my first year of teaching so that was the least of my concerns. But building relationships and reestablishing relationships with my previous students has been so much fun. The junior class of students have a very special place in my heart. So stepping back into their lives daily even though they are not in my actual class, seeing them, and having them visit my class as often as they can has been the warm welcome that I needed for high school. It’s also safe to say that building relationships has not been an issue for me in the least bit.
This is year 10 and there is still a lot for me to learn. I enjoy being an English teacher, and adjusting to the curriculum was more of a matter of the content versus the standards. The great thing about my content is that the standards are the same, but I admit I have enjoyed the stories we read in class and the dialogue that was created. “The Gift of the Magi” and “Everyday Use” have been my absolute favorites. Aside from teaching though the only thing that blows my mind is where colleagues place their value when it comes to teaching the kids.
There is no denying the fact that I have favorite students, but what teacher after years of building relationships don’t? There are children that seek genuine support while in school and that very often misunderstood connection students establish with certain teachers is shamed. Everything is not always fair and as a teacher my only conversation majority of the time is what can I do to better myself?
Now I had a mentor teacher when my journey began and she was absolutely the best and very supportive. I have been lucky enough to work across the hall from a “football mom” and friend that I’ve known for years and she has been my rock. We truly have a safe place in her room as we “debrief” from the daily shenanigans and goings-on in the building.
The take away I have for this year is that I must continue to always take care of me first. Students are still going to twist the events of the day. Some adults around me will question, “Why I’m still the favorite?”, “Why do kids like to come to my room?”, and a multitude of other things but that will not deter my purpose for my classroom and why I love doing what I do.
I’m still trying to figure out my next move beyond the high school classroom and ultimately would love to be a Dean of Student Affairs because my strength lies in being among people. I don’t ever want to lose touch with what is going on in the classroom and trending in education period. It only takes one child to show you that you are doing something right. But when I look around at all of my students at my high school I have reached a lot and I’m glad to have had partial impact on their educational journey.
This is only year one with a few in me left to go. High school has been a hoot with 12 days left until graduation.
I am often asked my age and when I boldly say that I am 36 years old I am then told that I don’t look my age and I have accomplished a lot to be so young. Now when I think about being four years shy of 40 I feel like that I need to have more of my life in order. That’s a lot of pressure I put on myself after already having two self-published books and a doctorates degree in the field of education.
Yes I know that I should chill out but I can’t!
I have also been told that there is no way they (individuals) could do what I have managed to do over the past 10 years. I birthed the idea in me that writing is my purpose and I plan to pursue writing fiercely and fearlessly.
I have candid conversations with my friends about life, relationships, children, and my self-published books I still find it rather amazing that those that inquire the most have never peeked at my blog or downloaded a book, but I digress. I wholeheartedly believe everyone has a story to tell, but I share my story with hopes to inspire.
All of my life I have written things down. I have notebooks and old journals full of ideas that I keep telling myself I’m going to turn into books. However right now I’m honing my writing skills to write with more emotions and not so scholastically. Quite frankly I want to be a bestseller and one post at a time is going to get me there.
My first book which I playfully refer to as my baby is about my teaching journey. I highlight in detail in my recollection of how my teachers treated minority students in the classroom. They were unfair and outright disrespectful at times. Going to school in the mid 1990s versus now is very different, but let’s just say my brown face in a merged school system was not kindly welcomed with all of the questions I posed on a regular basis.
I write to share my story because when I stepped into the field of teaching I was all the way GREEN! I had no idea what I was getting myself into and found out very quickly at my inner-city middle school. So here is the story that I want to tell!
Ironically, my stream of consciousness when it comes to writing in to unveil my truth, my background, my passion, and my drive. I share my own life experiences and as a certified teacher this is my approach because I want people to learn from my risks and mistakes. I feel that every lesson that I have learned over the years from my career, divorce, and relationships are teachable moments.
My blog serves as an extension of my mind as I search myself and relive the many places that I have been and recall some of my most painful truths. It is no secret that I have been married twice and each one shaped a different part of my continued existence. It’s no secret that my sons are the absolute loves of life and there is nothing that I won’t do for them. But a lot of times the journey that my life has taken has opened my eyes, made me extremely happy at times, and reclusive in some of my darkest moments.
My writing process is a self-healing process that takes me back to my feelings of the exact moments that I choose to write about. Some days when I’m recalling love I feel so vulnerable, uncomfortable and exposed. I often ask myself am I sharing too much? Am I being as transparent as I proclaim to be?
I have had the idea about a new book, and I read and reread my work often to channel my likeness and flow of my chapters. I have a black and white striped journal notebook that I jot down my many thoughts and ideas then revisit those jots and plan my attack to my project. My sole purpose is to share my experiences and offer encouragement.
My newest project I want to launch without a hitch and really step my game up as this will be my third book. I write nonfiction and I feel that the thought-provoking inspiration and realness that I’m serving will be around for a long time.
I find the most time to write while I’m in school. Being an English teacher, when my students write, I write too. I am really taking my time with this next project because the content that I choosing to put into this book is the back story to who I am, my thought process and why I want to continuously share my story and my life. I’m real life thinking beyond the books and want to be center stage encouraging, inspiring, and motivating.
Now my first book My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching went live by mistake and from that point forward I want to be more intentional with my products/books/minibooks/ultimate guides/etc. Creating the the superb writing environment requires a little bit of white noise and spiral notebooks everywhere. I write when the urge hits me and lot of times I save notes in my phone and refer back back to them when my ideas begin to connect.
I do not have a set time to write because I write part-time while teaching full-time. I find myself admiring the writers with bigger audiences. I’m not comparing my work to theirs, I just know that in due time it will be my turn.
I have a lot of stories to tell and whether I’m balled in the corner sitting on my feet at the end of my couch, sitting upright on the chaise lounge in my bedroom, or sitting in a meeting at school typing away; I’m moved by my thoughts and the words that are burning to get out at the moment.
Writing is one of my favorite things to do. I can be as candid with my words as I choose and dare someone to hold my words against me. I’m having fun on my writing journey. I am discovering my voice. I am developing my flow. Most importantly I’m taking my time and I am having fun.
I’m doing my personal best even with the amount of pressure I put on my shoulders to be a great writer. I feel like I am getting better each day and I know for those that follow me they can see my growth.
Whenever I’m asked what is my dream job, I say to sit on someone island writing books because I want to be a well known author. I’m continuing my journey to writing greatness.
Leave a comment if you like what you’ve read so far and visit Amazon to check out my book reviews.
March is a new month for new beginnings, new goals, and new focuses. I’m challenging myself to focus on one thing this month and that is my personal branding. To be honest I cringe at that word because it is thrown around so much online and on reality shows that I’m literally confused every time I hear a different person say it. Nonetheless, my goal this month is to set myself aside and become more identifiable and produce quality work. That’s what BRANDING is all about right!?!
At one point when I began this writing journey I was on blogspot because I was using my blog as an online journal. I wasn’t really focusing on the big picture. All I wanted to do was share my experiences while entertaining the idea of writing a book. I was second guessing myself!
I switched over to wordpress as I was completing my doctoral program with Nova Southeastern University and my blog then took on a life of its own. While my education and credentials would have me considered an expert in the field of education: Dr. LaTilya Williams—Doctor of Education: Higher Education Leadership and Master’s in Public Administration; I find myself coming up short in the blogging/self-published/writing industry. Oh to be an expert in this field would be a dream come true!
So what must I do? Yea, you got it! WORK ON MY BRAND!
I have read so many blogs from the experts and they all have this one tagline or statement in common: “I AM MY BRAND!”
Well there you have it! But not so fast.
While I sit and read, subscribe to mail listings myself, subscribe and listen to podcasts, and emulate the things I see, I know I am closer to hitting my mark and finding my sweet spot.
This journey has been eye-opening because in my research and studying some of the experts say that there is not definite formula to success and making a big impact. Others say develop a plan and work the plan. I still stand my truths about blogging because there are some things you discover. Go check out my epic blog, What No One Tells You About Blogging. It is one of my favorite blogs and one that I see lasting for years to come as new trends arise.
Now reexamining all do the Dos for content creation and personalizing your brand, all of us side hustlers are told to FIRST BE CLEAR. I can’t any clearer about wanting to make an impact on new teachers with my book,
I truly want to help change the narrative about teaching so that the newbies learn that in order to truly be successful in the classroom there must be a complete understanding that what you learn in traditional training is helpful. But what you do in the classroom from day today is what’s going to shape your approach, career, and style of teaching. Now if only I could attract the right audience and individuals invested in my book, I could really make gains as an educational expert.
DRAW PEOPLE TO YOU: It is difficult to create a consistent buzz as a newbie blogger and collecting emails is a task. Build your brand! Create the leads! Magnetize your audience! That is a lot easier said than done. As I look at my social media networks…
I have learned that my friends are not my target audience and I actually get more feedback from people that don’t know me personally. Now I do have some friends that purchased my book, left a review on Amazon, or told me personally what they thought of my work but I’m hungry! I want to grow in my efforts and reach the masses that I know could benefit from my experiences.
I want to see my follower numbers convert to sales. Another one of the DOs that we must be mindful of is CONTENT CREATION.
Visiting my blog is rich and full of experiences that I feel provide knowledge and inspiration. I think about the goals I have set for myself and reflect on my progress over the years.
Content creation is one thing but the focus must shift to…QUALITY CONTENT in the form of books (Check Me Out On Amazon), videos especially if you are on youtube: check my sidebar 🙂 (Subscribe to me @ LaTilya Rashon), and of course while you’re here browse around read my blogs, comment on what you like and most importantly
Brand clarity is an ongoing process! Content creation takes a lot of work. I have only been serious about this for the past two years because I know I have message of inspiration. I’m sure my audience will change by the day but I plan to be authentic and transparent in my approach. I don’t have it all figured out but I’m figuring it out.
March is not the month for stagnation! New goals! New insights! New material!
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 Alterative 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 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.
Today I am going to share my experience as I transitioned into teaching and how I found my calling in the classroom. Come along for the journey!
Lesson 1: Transitioning Careers
In the back of my mind even in high school there was a thought that I would become a teacher. I thought that I would major in English when I first went off to college and minor in Spanish because I had big dreams of completing a semester abroad in a Spanish country and broaden my horizons. My educational journey didn’t quite happen that way. I graduated high school in May of 2000, attended the University of Florida for a glorious year (July 2000-April 2001) then took a six year detour in the United States Air Force from August 2001 to August 2007 before ultimately landing in a middle school classroom.
I had big ideas when I first got out of the Air Force but much to my dismay those plans went to the left and I found myself unfulfilled in the civilian sector.
I’m a people person and while at times I can be off by myself rarely interacting with others and enjoying my life when I first got out of the military working for the Georgia Department of Human Services, that career path was not the choice for me. So it made sense to plan an exit while still performing my duties as a Child Support Enforcement Agent. I will be the first to say that the system is not fair and I saw a lot of struggling fathers do the best they could while some fathers simply dropped off the face of the earth.
Some of the noncustodial parents I encountered were decent in their efforts, but the office politics was enough to deter me from this career field and really put my education to work. I knew that in the classroom I must showcase myself as a lifelong learner, and acquiring my master’s degree was a necessity.
I knew that my willingness to continue to learn was heavily influenced by my past teachers, and in transitioning careers, I wanted to give back to students what had been given to me in a positive way.
In my book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching I share an experience I had with a middle school teacher and a high school teacher that fed the fuel inside of me to let education be my escape. I learned that education was my stepping stone to a better future and I wanted children to believe in themselves the way I had while matriculating through school.
When I found my way pursuing a teaching career the natural leader in me accepted my calling. Read an excerpt of my journey hear:
Lesson 2: Maintaining Balance When My Life Was Falling Apart
My first three months into teaching looked vastly different from my third year of teaching. And even now here in my 10th 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 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 school me and I had an at home me. At school I didn’t talk about my personal life with anyone really other than my gracious mentor because I didn’t want pity or for anyone to feel sorry for me. But my face was telling of my troubles at home. At home my sons watched me cry often then wipe the tears away and carry on with my day even though I was screaming on the inside.
I had a job to do and I had to do my job 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.
Lesson 3: I Found My Purpose and Niche
Over the course of the years of teaching, I have acquired multiple degrees. As mentioned I exceeded my five year plan which was to obtain an educational specialist degree. I completed that degree program entering my third year of teaching. I had no educational pedagogy so I wanted to learn more about curriculum, instruction, and assessments. Being a lifelong learner propels my energy to help, teach, speak, and write.
As a blogger and teacher, my journey inside and outside of the classroom has been impactful to those that have sought my help. Writing is my purpose and education/teaching is my niche. My platform is my classroom. And my audience is those that want to hear my stories and follow my career and I surge into a bigger light.
My book, my journey, my transitions in life give me a story to tell and I want to share my story and experiences as often as possible. I am my brand. My career and writings are my baby. New teachers, old teachers, brick and mortar schools and alternative preparation programs need a voice that speaks from experience. I have not degreed myself out of positions. Being a lifelong learned has positioned me to take the stage.
I love teaching and it is in my DNA. Go read a free sample of my journey and share my experiences. My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching is a worthwhile investment found on Amazon ($4.99 Ebook or $7.99 paperback).
So on March 10, 2016 I revamped my blog, switched over to wordpress after leaving blogspot and a stream of creativity has taken over.
A year ago I was living a life that I was pretty sure was pretty content not knowing that in the months to come that that life would be shaken up.
A year ago I was super elated to find out that my Internal Review Board (IRB) had been approved for my dissertation so all I had to do was edit my chapters four and five and be primed and ready to submit my final report roughly around the beginning of May 2016.
A year ago I hunkered down and decided to finish my first writing project. My chromebook was permanently attached to my hand so everyone around me knew that whatever I was doing had to be serious.
A year ago seems so far away compared to where I am now. It’s been a year and http://www.tilyarealeyes.com has matured into grown woman status.
I look back at my experimental titles and it is clear that I was working on my niche. I was inundated by creating email lists (I finally created the right lead in and magnet campaign), and trying to figure out how to make myself standout in the crowd. I played around with all of my social media and just felt like I was floundering. I even wrote about it in my epic blog turned free download, What No One Tells You About Blogging. I tried several things and now I feel like I’m finding my groove.
So what is my niche?
Interestingly enough writing about life and the realities we face as people comes naturally. There is a lot of experience inside of my compact frame and as I share my perspectives I inadvertently influence streams of consciousness. Everything I share is based on observation, conversation, and my original spin of the subject matter.
A year later, “tilyarealeyes” has expanded its categorical reach. The short stories have peeked interest and needs to be revisited. I’ve just had a lot going on. The List Series is a major hit and because my Soror/Bestie Karimah encouraged me to do videos last summer, and since then I have made 4 in 2017. The 7 Things You Should Do in 2017 has been my signature statement because I have found a new lease on life, and I’m happily divorced and simply living. My soror/lil Tori spoke about seven being the number of completion when I published that blog. Ironically I met a man whose birthday is the 7th day of January on his birthday. He is symbolism at it’s finest.
It’s been a year and I have two books out there that I don’t even think that at the time of beginning to blog again, I would have taken that risk. I play it very safe with my words and my talent. Because I am so hard on myself the thought of someone else criticizing (unless it’s positive) my words makes me nervous. I’m a situational perfectionist. I am very protective of me. However, I am most proud of Brown Sugar Magic because of the message of affirmation, reflection and celebration that I am trying to have women establish about themselves.
A year later I have learned through experience the value of being goal oriented. Had I not established the specific goals I had set for myself, there is no way I could advise my Brown Sugar Sisters on how to be SMART about the things they set out to do.
Writing my second published project I had to be in touch with my needs. Being happy and having esteem of myself kept me focused. Sometimes we get lost in the sauce but that does not equate to not addressing your needs. I had to address the desires of my heart and realize that I needed to safeguard my energy. I can’t afford to get worked up about situation that have already been worked out beyond my control.
I had to rely on the love I have for myself as I wrote part three of Brown Sugar Magic. Loving myself more made room for me to work through my disappointments. My life took a hit, but I forgive myself for my bad choices. I trust that everything happens for a reason. I revamp and revise my goals on the regular. I am able to stay the course because of my self-love.
As I closed out Brown Sugar Magic, my key thing was to highlight the fun you should be having. I am having the time of my life tending to me and not being tied down by titles or expectations. That does not mean I am closed up and living like a hermit. That means that I have the liberty to love who I choose without expectation.
A year later my life has changed but I am living a more abundant life than I ever could have imagined. The things I am experiencing takes me to a different place. My conversation has changed. My ambition is in overdrive. I am focused on building my brand, “LaTilya Rashon”, and being the best “influencer” I can be.
2017 has opened my eyes. I’m walking this walk with my eyes wide open. I am not naive to the negativity. A year later my blog has grown into more mature conversation but so has my mindset as the woman behind the blog.
No subliminal messages. No hidden agendas. When you know who you are, you become a target and a threat. Do the work and reflections in Brown Sugar Magic and you will reclaim your life like never before.
A year ago I was defining marriage. A year later I am encouraging self-actualization. Unleash your magic!
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.
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.
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.
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.