Diving Into My Brag Bag To Be More Creative

I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth so everything I got in life has been because I’ve worked hard for it. Growing up in a single parent home the odds were stacked against me. If society had it’s way I would have been another statistic as a teenager; teenage mother, living off of government assistance, and quite possibly a high school dropout. My mother was not having that for me at all. I knew my father but he was not an active part of my life, so watching my mother work various jobs to always provide for me was the best example of hustle and heart.

We lived in the family house until I was four and starting head start.  We moved across the street to Fort Bailey housing projects.  Walking to the store for a bag of pink cookies and a cream Ritz soda was a treat, now I live for my crab legs and moscato…LOL!  I was a project kid, with a key at the age of five letting myself into the house each day by myself then waiting for my mom to get home.  Life was sweet in the 80s.  Now it’s not that easy to leave kids home alone because too much can happen with predators lurking at every turn.

I grew up being very independent and doing a lot of things for myself because the fact is I spent a lot of time by myself.  My mom worked and that was understandable, so throughout middle and high school, during my mom’s off time we spend time together, then when she was gone, I’d read a book or watch t.v.  So by the time I graduated high school in 2000 having worked at Wendy’s and Shoney’s I could make a little money for myself but in the back of my mind I always wanted to just write.

I went off to college to the University of Florida and partied my life away.  I was introduced to beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., met some amazing people but ultimately blew it.  I joined the United States Air Force in 2001, lived in New Jersey my entire enlistment, got deployed to Bulgaria and Italy, got married, had my two sons, then separated from active duty status in 2007.  My background had set the tone as I share my story because it was not easy being active duty, married, tending to babies, and pursuing my studies all at the same time.  I was very overwhelmed and emotional a lot of times but I pushed through anyways.

By the time I relocated to middle Georgia, I had acquired 3 degrees and had multiple ideas of starting a women’s magazine, writing a book, short stories, or just something creative because I have always had the passion to write. By the time I began teaching in 2008, I was halfway through my Masters in Public Administration program and still had no idea what I was going to do next. But the yearning for more was peeking over my shoulder and in my subconscious. I kept digging until I outlined my first nonfiction title. In 2013 I said to myself that my book was going to be great and everyone would want to read it… Well that didn’t happen. See I wanted more but I didn’t have a plan. Now the plan is for me to TELL MY STORY, so people really get a true idea of who I am, what I represent, and what I’m all about. I defied the odds and I have a story to tell.

Achieving my advanced degree in 2016, my Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership was personal.  It was a checkmark to be place of my list of life goals and accomplishments.  There have been others that did it younger than me, but see at the age of 34 with two kids, a second marriage, six years of honorable military service and eight years of teaching, I was doing damn good for myself.  So where is my POP?!  When things got rocky and I thought I had a clear vision of what I want to have happen, a second divorce happened on 2017.  I wasn’t devastated, but I was derailed so my goals for pursuing speaking and writing more took a backseat.

Now here I am 11 years into teaching, having taught roughly 2000 students, each year I wonder who will or who has been that one?  I have highlighted some of my most memorable students in My Fourth Year, but beyond that when students come into my room to hug me midway through a lesson, or stop by my door during transition to class it has been too many to count or name.  My colleagues are hit or miss, but some of them know where my heart is.  I simply refuse to give up on my population of students, but good God some days it is hard.

When I look at my mixed career I have done a lot and take a stand for individuality. I’m often confused and people like to put other people in a box and you shouldn’t. Creativity is an extension of who a person is and you have to tap into your greatness better than anyone else can and tell your story.

Be vulnerable because someone needs to hear from you.

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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My First Year In High School

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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!

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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!

Now in 2008 when I took the steps to get certified to teach through the old Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GaTapp) I thought I wanted to start off at high school, but I’m so glad that I took my time getting here.

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.

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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.

20 Facts About Me

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