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!

51-ykyw6rfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

4549909730_542d6bc1d3_z

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

Advertisements

Now I Understand Why It Was Time To Move On

2214327028_55640546a9_oI remember as an 80’s baby wanting to dress, sing, and dance like Janet Jackson.  “I Miss You Much” and “Rhythm Nation” were bomb ass videos but I was always stuck on Janet’s wardrobe.  My mom actually bought me a pair of black patent leather police shoes, with a gold clip on the tip of the toes, and black ribbons as shoe strings.  You couldn’t tell me a damn thing when I got those shoes and when I wore the soles almost out and outgrew them, I knew it was time to let them go and move on.

My love for Janet Jackson in the late 80’s and early 90’s is like my love for my career.  New students and academic gains always excite me.  I’m like a mom each school term ready to see her new babies, but after repeating the same routine year after year, I felt began to myself at a standstill.

I refer often to my past blogs, but the 7 Things You Should Do In 2017 is in the top five of my favorite post because I knew that coming into this new I was going to have to do some things differently.  Therefore when I wrote 3 Step To Living A Better Life blog and did a vlog for it, step two brings me full circle in my understanding that it was time to grow past middle school.

In 2013 I transferred to a different middle school, same population of kids, but the family atmosphere and new leadership was what I was craving after being at my first middle school for five years.  I had not mastered every single teaching strategy, but I had done enough to be considered an exemplary teacher in the English/Language Arts (ELA) content.  In all honesty I just did not want to work under the same principal for a fourth year, and I was over him especially after my car was stolen from the school.  I was finishing up my last two classes towards my doctorate but as I was finishing those classes, my attitude began to shift.

Since my first year of teaching in 2008, I always gave my students 110% of my energy in the classroom because I was eager and wanted them to achieve academically.  Well I felt my fire burning out, and the quality of work from my students began to diminish.  The last thing I wanted to do was give up on my students or my career.  The wheels in my head began to turn and after two years in my new school then the merge, I found myself right back in my old school removed from ELA but teaching reading.  In my heart I was unfulfilled.

There was a lot of miscommunication the year of the merger and even though I was able to get my proposal approved and move to the next step working on my Internal Review Board (IRB).  I felt like a zombie going into year eight.  Nothing felt the same and I had become complacent.  Waking up each day, driving thirty minutes to my school, just feel more tired inside of the building than I did after a full day of teaching.  Something was not right, and I could not put my finger on it until I made up in my mind it was time to move on.

I had been in place long enough finish my doctorate and decide what I wanted to do next.  Much like when I bought my home, I had outgrown my duplex.  It was time to move on and plant my feet firmly in something I would call mine.  Even when I faced my separation then divorce, it was time I chose my happiness and not hold on to something that was keeping me sad and confused.  I no longer wanted to dance through the halls and have fun with the kids.  I barely wanted to be in the building because in maintaining the status quo, I was not teaching with the same zeal I once had before.  So at year nine in middle school, post-doctoral graduation, I understand why it was time to move on.

I had grown too comfortable that even with the teaching I was doing, my heart was not there.  I wanted to be somewhere else.  Any place than my current setting.  It was not about my timing.  It was about a higher plan that I had no say-so in controlling.  I will miss middle school but I am so happy to be moving on to high school.  I will find my rhythm again and I will teach with the same tenacity I initially started with.

On the halls of my new school, I will dance like Janet Jackson again, in my patent leather police shoes.  I will be as sharp in my movements and well organized for execution on the day school resumes.  I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and I’m walking in my authority into the new.  I’m so excited!

I’m pushing myself to do something different and enjoying each moment that I learn more about myself that makes me tick.

~LaTilya Rashon