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

My First Year In High School

img_4751

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!

51-ykyw6rfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

palm-beach-banner

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.

*Two Years Ago*

img_4305

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.

cropped-20170110_153240-e14840823819536.png

I Have A Story To Tell

img_4251

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.

img_0742

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.

image

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.

3 Lessons I Have Learned Since Becoming A Teacher

img_3764

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:

51-ykyw6rfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Kindle Edition

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).

Grab a book, leave a review.  Feed a writer!

51-ykyw6rfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Kindle Edition

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