Thoughtful Thursday

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

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Moment of transparency: I know that my books are not for everyone one. Everyone does not need what I have to offer nor want to read what I have to say. However, my personal journey into teaching was my opportunity to shed some light on the highs and obstacles of teaching. I talk about my first few years often because whew child, #theghetto.


Seriously though, all jokes aside my first three years in the trenches were difficult but I learned a lot about myself and the population of students I served and I loved my kids.

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So I said all of this to say that my experience as a teacher is part of my story. Those lessons, those transitions, and those realizations happened. I learned how to support other teachers due to the support I received.

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Mothers, authors, teachers need each other. We can not do our jobs alone because a lot of times, or specifically in my case, these are my three jobs.

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Check out my ebook store: latilyarashon.selz.com

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

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

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

LaTilya Williams, Ed.D. (Professionally)

Committing to Leveling Up

I am really late with this update and post but I have been so busy trying to plan out other things in my life, my blog took a back seat.

Back in 2016 when I began revamping my blog, I just knew that I was going to take off, monetize, and be the best in the game.  I wanted to take over in my niche—education and lifestyle— and set the internet on fire.  Guess what!! I fail at that.  It’s not because I feel that the blogging market is saturated, I just truly have yet to establish my fool proof systems.  There are a lot of things I’d like to do with my blog—I just need to take some time to refocus my energy on my leads and stick to them.  To be honest I just felt like a lot of the stuff was too gimmicky and I had completed so much “research” I was stressing myself out.  So I have decided to return to just simply being me and telling my stories my way.  Sharing my trials and triumphs and perhaps along the way help someone.

I have to take a second and laugh at myself because back during Christmas break I completed an online Goals Success Coach certification, and I have content I just need to put that content into action.  Back in 2017, I wrote a cute little goal setting book, Brown Sugar Magic as a personal challenge and really truly had no strategic plan on how to market it.  Anyway, since completing that book I have dove into other endeavors and book writing is still calling my name.

See when I published my first book, I began to realize the power of telling my story and being unafraid to face the criticisms of others.  I took a few hits, but my stories from my first book are truly a testament of how far I have come.  Not only did I want to take the world by storm and create a gravitating blog, I also wanted to be set apart as an author.  In an effort to be completely transparent I have had people try to use my words against me as if my story is not mine to tell, personally and professionally.  I am at a point now in my career where I have to level up all the way around in all of my work, because people are taking notice and I have to show up.

Yes, I thought my first two books would fly off of the shelves and be a continuous stream of downloads but I have realized that my inconsistencies in my writing have been my down fall.  So now I have to do everything in my power to extend my buzz and capitalize off of my name and who I am setting myself up to be.

As I am completing my third book, 12 Ways to Survive Your First Year of Teaching, there are some logistics to be laid out as Dr. Williams prepares to shock this time around.  After turning 37, I have wanted to venture out into other things and I’ll be speaking that Teacher’s Self-Care Conference in June and I can’t wait.  I’m in my 11th year of teaching and this by far has been my most difficult year to date.  I’m not motivated and I am sure that that energy is transferring into my delivery, but at this point, it is what it is.  The plan is set in motion, between my books and defining my systems, I have three short years to transition out of teaching and becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

No matter what, at this point, I just have to keep telling my story and demand that people take notice.  I have been saying this over the years and it’s beginning to sink in, “Being me is my super power!”  I try my hand at a lot of different things.  I’m willing to take the risk and try something new because I am not afraid of challenges.  After all I did seek to get a Doctorate in Education for the thrill of seeing if I could actually complete the degree.  It may have taken me five years, but I know that my credentials can not ever be stripped from me.

I have sacrificed so much of my time into fruitless things that I have decided to change the trajectory of my existence.  I will be that woman….every woman…I’ve realized that many people will question your choices in life while they are too afraid to DECIDE which direction their life is going. Success is not determined by the opinions of others, but the self gratifying feeling you get when you DECIDE to LIVE.  I will continue to build my resume and level up in all areas in my life.

~LaTilya Rashon

Figuring This All Out: Brand, Business, and Marketing

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!

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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!)

When I initially wrote my first book, My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, I was and still am completely behind on not doing enough to properly market my book to get it into the hands of the people that I feel could benefit from it the most.

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.

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MY BOOK AT A GLANCE

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.cropped-20170110_153240-e14840823819536.png

LaTilya Rashon🦋

Being self-published and trusting the process takes an extreme amount of clarity, patience, and sacrifice.  I have realized that my “target audience” is not based in my personal relationships but people that actually follow my work in hopes that I inspire them.  If you believe in the LaTilya Rashon brand…purchase your logo series shirt today. Thank you in advance!

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Don’t Be Polarized By Criticism

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“Well behaved women seldom make history.”

I will definitely be the first to admit that when it comes to writing I am extremely protective of my words and the last thing I want to have happen is someone dislike my point of view.  But guess what…it happens and it is what it is.

However, as I continue to move forward with writing and exposure I understand that I must keep writing to getting better as I work on other projects (specifically books) that I hope to engage a greater following.

Diving into what’s socially acceptable or not is a slippery slope and being too careful can make you boring.  But the realistic goal at the end of the day is to create a spark around your name.  I have heard the questions about why I write about the things I post and how my content shifts from branding to personal, but in reality this is my style.  I am working on staging my work to show my progress as a writer/blogger and self-published author because I am my brand.  I want to do things myself (have complete creative control), so as I take my time to get some things done behind the scenes, please understand that this is indeed a massive process.

Some of the blogging experts suggest pushing for tasty content…

What are you trying to teach someone?  What expertise do you bring to the issue and trending topic?  How will your insight transform the minds of those that follow your action steps and why they should listen to you?  I learned the need to be tasty while tuned into a live session one night with one of the notables.  On the other hand there is another expert that simply says all authors should have a blog because it sharpens your skills.  I have negated my ideas of me being my brand…and just when I was supposed to have a photo shoot to do some promo shots for my website and do what I thought was best for my website and image those plans fell through… It Simply Was Not Time!

Socially Acceptable Behavior

I’m glad I’ve taken the time to regroup and reconsider what I need to do for me.  My social media platforms garner attention in several ways and the whispers have spread into full out conversations about my uncensorship in some areas and my overly outright spoken feelings in other areas.  Just yesterday a colleague laughed with me about my snapchat (@tilyarealeyes) diaries.  I use it to vent, to laugh, and to BS my way through the day sometimes.  It’s all in fun.  And as us creatives, business-minded, entrepreneurs work out our niches it is easy to be “polarized by the criticism of others”.  We see it day after day from everyday people like me that create with care on up to celebrities that post a simple picture because they are living their life that keeps us all highly entertained.

I am sure that as I continue to share my voice, my thoughts, my concerns, and my journey there will be someone standing on the sideline with a sign that reads…”Not a fan!”  But I can’t be concerned with the negative questions and thoughts of others because they are not in my shoes running this race.   It would be too easy to just scroll pass what someone dislikes because they feel that their opinion is needed and justified.

I have played around on my platforms and while it’s a process to build my presence online it’s not the people that I don’t know with the questions and fake concern, it’s the ones close by that I know personally that have the most to say about what I’m writing.  I write about my real life and real experiences.  So hearing that I’m “heavy” on social media made me chuckle a little and damn near put me on the defense.  Who are these people to question what I’m doing?  And just to be clear I am too busy building my name to worry about what others don’t understand about what I’m doing.  I have sparked a conversation so evidently I’m doing something RIGHT!

I completely separate my personal life and my blogging life.  What I write about may be influenced by my day to day but my LaTilya Rashon blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will depict what I want to have.  This hat as a writer and continuously improving author is completely different than my everyday job as a teacher.  I can teach people about life (love, relationships, parenting, coping, and simply LIVING) on my blog and how to cope with shit on a regular basis.

The struggle is real when no one understands your vision and what plans you have for your career.   My being socially acceptable on my platforms is for me to decide without the negative criticism of others.  I said a long time ago that people find favor in you when they like what you have to say and represent.  But I’ve also learned the lesson that my friends are not my target audience so I’m never surprised by the local feedback or lack thereof.

I am constantly thinking of ways to be impactful with my writing and the out pour I receive from inbox messages, reshares of my blog post, and new followers edges me along. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement I receive!

I welcome all feedback because I have made up in my mind that nothing will deter me and I will not stop because others think that I should.

If you would like to keep up with me on Facebook please follow me here atimg_4830 LaTilya Rashon “TilyaRealEyes” 

Connect with me!

*Two Years Ago*

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Two years ago I decided that I was going to revamp my blog and try to be more serious about my writing.  After all, I had received approval on my Institution Review Board (IRB) application for my dissertation so I felt my time freeing up and I was ready to write more creatively.

I felt like all the years of preparing to graduate since enrolling into my doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University in 2011 was finally about to pay off in a major way.  Let’s be real, since graduating from Ware County High School in 2000 and a six year enlistment in the United States Air Force (2001-2007), I had literally been in college off and on for 16 years pursuing various degrees.

*Doctor of Education; Higher Education Leadership (2016)

*Educational Specialist; Curriculum, Instruction, Management, and Administration (2010)

*Master of Public Administration (2009)

*Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies (2007)

Plus two associates degrees, you would think that writing would be the last thing on my mind.  Hell you’d probably even think that I had accomplished a lot in my own right academically but for me that still is not enough.

So I revamped my blog!  I was kidding myself thinking that this would be an easy journey and my name would ring supreme.  I learned very quickly that in this industry building a name for yourself and brand takes times.

I had the obnoxious idea to try to do a blog a day during that summer.  I had lame ideas like Motivation Monday, Thoughtful Tuesday, Wisdom Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, and Short Story Saturday.  I soon found myself burnt out and really not producing quality content.  I thought my posts were decent.  Now looking back it was just a bunch of fluff because I honestly just did not know what to do or what I was doing. I was trying some stuff out to see if it would work.

I managed to churn out chapters 4 and 5 of my dissertation and pick back up on my book project that I had outlined in 2013.  I was feeling like I was ready to put that story out to the world and I did, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching.

Now how does a busy mom like me balance work, school, and writing a book all at the same time is beyond me, but I had an inner strength to get some things done so I did.  I admit it to myself I am a fast burner because everything I set a timeline to do when I began teaching in 2008 was easily exceeded.

Still on the hunt for more, I now ponder the idea of pitching my book to publishing houses because I feel like there is a really great lessons that were learned for myself along the way.  These lessons are sure to touch the hearts of aspiring educators because it’s a lot behind the scenes that you often do not hear people talk about.

So hear I am fully exposed and ready to do the work because after listening to all of the experts, I can’t be afraid to fail.  Everyone of the EXPERTS  have shared a story of an idea flopping so I get it.

I am guilty of thinking that I had to have a logo and a big following to relevant.  But I’m learning that if I continue to be me, put my best effort forward, and stay true to myself then everything will fall into place in due time.

Now that I think about it, this time last year my focus was light and love.  But I’ve had to regroup and think about branding and narrowing my niche.  Yes!  Dare I say it, I truly see why the experts are the position that they are in and I’m striving day to day.

So my third book project is in the works and the personal approach I am taking it is why it has yet to be finished.  Just the other day  I was admiring my 12 year old because he was anxiously trying to print an essay earlier this week that is due tomorrow.  He was so frustrated because there was no ink but the overachiever in him got the best of him and all I could think was that he got that from me.  While on the other hand my 14 year old has a painting from his art class on display at the mall and I am in awe of his artistic ability and how his mind works.

I have taken time to really value the work that I have put into my two books. I have also realized that what I thought I knew two years ago was only the beginning.  I am just now beginning to scratch the surface and walk in my purpose.

Being that I am doing everything on my own as a one woman show, it feels good when the people who genuinely support me tap into my words and tell me how the things I write make them feel.  That is the impact I ultimately want to have.

When I began teaching I looked at each class period and asked myself how did I plan on touching 22 sometimes 27 minds at one time.  Then I quickly learned that if I touched one, then I had did my job.

Now as a writer I ponder the same thought.  How do I plan to reach the masses?  I’m realizing that if I get one new comment, then that’s a new soul that I have touched so I’m growing.

I have come so far to realize that all of this takes time, planning, patience, and hard work.  I am sure when the time is right for my first book to catapult it will.  I am confident that my brand will grow as long as I stick to being authentic and transparent.

Two years ago I made up in my mind that it was time to take my writing to next level.  And since hindsight is 20/20, who would have ever thought that 30 years ago in the streets of the projects, I’d grow up to be this woman on a mission to create the life I want to live, boss up, and be very unapologetic for daring to dream.

Keep coming back for more.

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I Have A Story To Tell

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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.

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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.

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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.