Live~Reflect~Write~Learn

I was asked the other day when was I going to drop another book.  Standing surprised by the question I asked, “What book?”  My colleague looked at me and said, “The one you keep dropping snippets of on your blog.”

THANK YOU!

 

Hearing these words of affirmation for my writing gave me an ounce of energy I needed because this school term, my son’s football schedule, and tending to all of the other things I have to do is a bit cumbersome but I make it work.  I’ve been told I make what I do look easy, and I resent that statement sometimes and want to throw in the towel but I am reminded that I have two little boys (even though they are not so little anymore) that are depending on me.life-is-the-word-typography-1024x576

Today’s journey is about living~reflecting~writing~learning~

LIVE|Sometimes you have to live a life uninterrupted by fear.  It is something about that damn comfort zone that will make you second guess everything you contemplate doing.  But risks are worth taking because there is truly a reward for everything you set out to do.  In all sincerity you learn what you want more in life by taking risks and you walk away from risky situations that could cause more harm than good.  You simply cannot be afraid to live because of fear of failure.  We are all going to fail at something at some point in our lives, so the lesson there is to not make the same mistake again that will result in failure.  We fail at school (academic probation was my dismissal from the University of Florida…LOL), we fail at career moves (the wanderers), we fail at relationships (friendships, family, courting, and even marriage), and we fail sometimes at realizing our greatness.  However, we can’t let the mistakes of our past or even the unsteadiness of our future keep us from moving forward in our sometimes awkward realities.  It has been said that fear means two things, face everything and run or face everything and rise.  I CHOOSE TO RISE!

REFLECT|A lot of times I think about my right steps.  Other times I reconsider my wrong moves and see where things went to the left.  We cannot predict the future.  We have no idea from day to day what to expect or the results of each forthcoming day.  It is not a bad idea to reflect on self and how you have handled situations in your life because there is always a better way to handle things in hindsight.  Your growth is contingent upon what you can withstand, endure, and at all cost opportunities to better yourself.  There are truly going to be many “not so” proud moments in your life but were those moments fueled by malice intent?  We will all be good in the end especially if our hearts are good and our intentions are pure.  Reflect on your true self and if you like what you see, keep being you because somebody is going to feel it.

WRITE|I celebrate my glows and woes of life to create a trail of things I did to the best of my ability and my opportunities to grow.  I literally write down everything.  I have journals that chronicle my high school years, one for each year.  I have multiple notebooks that have chronicled my life from marriage to childbirth, career moves, and book outlines.  You have a story to tell.  We all have a story to tell.  Writing becomes an outlet as you see your words take form and manifest into your life.  Setting goals, making a list, and checking it twice becomes empowering when you see the things you have ventured out to do come to fruition.  Writing is therapeutic and it is a process.  My writing takes on many forms and inspires many people (they inbox me and tell me so).  Celebrate the good and the bad because no experience is ever a waste.  Write until your heart is content and you get your story out, even if you don’t share it.

LEARN|Life will grab you by the neck and make you immovable.  Everyday will not be a cake walk and we will face many obstacles but we must learn how to navigate through them.  Navigate life in such a way that we respect our setbacks but embrace our triumphs.  Through trial and error I discover things about me that have been hidden in my heart that makes me susceptible to the truth.  We all have to be willing to learn more about ourselves in order to reach our fullest potential.  You have to work hard for what you want and learn how to turn every no into a search for a yes that creates an opportunity for you to dig deeper into who you are.  Life is about learning and truly for the living…so are you alive or among the walking dead?

~Live~Reflect~Write~Learn~ is more than a logo or mantra.  It is how you survive.  It is how you thrive.  Those four words govern your existence.  You have the right to live the life you want to live.  Reflect on the divine individual that you are ever evolving into. Write down your goals because the plan for your life is predestined, nothing is going to happen that is not supposed to happen.  Learn more about who you are because being you is your super power.

We will take many paths and detours in life but we should not be deterred by what does not happen.  So if a book derives from all of this, so be it.  Right now I’m just living, reflecting, writing, and learning.

~LaTilya Rashon

 

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Create Your Vision

I would be remissed to say that the recent release of my second inspirational book, Brown Sugar Magic: Goal Setting and Reflections Journal has been met with lukewarm acceptance and I want to change that reception.  Receiving the “likes” on my social media is okay, but in true entrepreneurial spirit I would like to see those “likes” convert to sales.

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I have been dealing with so much lately over these past six months, between a divorce being finalized, regaining control of my finances now as single mom, and closing out a school year, I’m surprised I got this second book out, but it was something that I HAD to do.

Yesterday after feeling like I had hit a brick wall emotionally and feeling a twinge of being burned out I laid across my bed and began listening to a couple of podcasts by Cara Alwill Leyba.  Her message is clear and distinct and it pushed me to look back at my “do what you love” notebook and really plan out my course of action for these next few months.

I have to remind myself that yes it has only been a year, and my need to be good at everything I do is taking over my thought processes and essentially making me overthink EVERYTHING in my life.  I had taken to Facebook and joined all of these groups and I find that this blogging industry is SATURATED.  Everybody is creating a lot of the same things and the competition is STEEP.  Even though regionally everyone is spread out, and there are some small hubs of creators in the same area, I see why now more than ever I must stake my claim in this creative industry and CREATE MY VISION!

So I see for myself in my vision and my future:

BROWN SUGAR MAGIC

I want Brown Sugar Magic to be my main inspirational platform.  Creating my vision started with setting some realistic and achievable goals for myself.  Through planning a course of action to take and being unafraid to put my words on paper, self-publishing my first book was a personal goal that I accomplished.  My education was not pursued haphazardly, I was deliberate and intentional as I attained higher degrees of education.  I know what it’s like and even sometimes find it overwhelming to want to do one thing but then have to revamp that objective or goal to take care of smaller things first.  God planned my path for me and he innately gave me the ability to aspire for great things and become successful in my own right.

If I can inspire someone to be SMART about their choices in life as they design their future, be in touch with their needs and take care of themselves before they have nothing to offer to the people around them; I take on the role.  Additionally, I want to help African-American women and girls build themselves up to only rely on their independence to see them through life.  That’s not to say that having help in life is not good, but this is to say be able to help yourself so that if you are ever in the position to have to do for yourself, YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS!  As I walk in my purpose, my dream, and define my vision; I will celebrate my setbacks, imperfect moments, and my growth.  I see this as a way to encourage many others.

SPEAKING AND HOSTING

All throughout school I was constantly reminded by my teachers about my continuous talking in class.  I was a fast learner and completed my work often times ahead of my classmates so I was always looking for someone to talk to.  It could have been the fact that I was an only child but that would be an excuse.  I simply just love to talk.  The cheerleader in me wants to be in the limelight spreading inspiration, joy, and motivation.  I have a lot to say about coming from a SINGLE parent home and PERSERVERING through the STEREOTYPES that were placed on me.  I have had to be disciplined, make tough decisions, and show my resiliency to get to this place in my 35 years of life.  I say this time and time again, I DEFY stereotypes and my authentic rawness at times is just the dose of reality people need to know that LIFE
AIN’T FAIR! Put me on a stage…I will rock the party, keep you engaged, but most importantly MOTIVATE!

BOOKS AND BLOGGING

Ever since being told by a teacher my senior year in high school that “MY PEOPLE“ need me, I get tickled at the thought of her saying that often.  I love books and have read what I like over the years and always knew that one day I would write a book of my own.  My flagship book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching chronicles my transition into what was spoke on to me at the age of 18.  If my people need me, whether it be teachers, African-American women and girls, writers, or whomever feels inspired by my words, I’m glad to be of SERVICE.  I have always wanted to write, and the urgency I feel to be great will take time, after all, I teach full-time and pursue my writing when I am not in the classroom.  I blog as much as possible and I am continuing to find inspiration and write what I think people need to read from me.  Writing what I consider to be my first epic blog, What No One Tells You About Blogging, was the tip of the iceberg.  One day my persistence with pay off!  I am establishing my voice.  This creative journey is personal.

THE EXTRAS

If an ebook, writer’s apparel and other products surface as I make my stamp then so be it.  Anybody can make a t-shirt, cup, bag, and other doodads and it will sell, but I want to be as consistent with my message that I anticipate being with these other endeavors. The ones that are selling everything under the moon, make it look easy from books to lip gloss.  However, I’m learning that when you have a concrete audience, it is doable to make those kinds of sales.  Because I’m still new to this I will limit my conversation on that.

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If it takes me a few years to get this entrepreneurial niche down pact, I will do what I have do.

~LaTilya Rashon

 

10 Things I’m Proud Of

When you are grateful.  Fear disappears and abundance appears. ~Anthony Robbins

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I have been inspired by list posts and recently took a second look at my 35 Randoms Thoughts on the eve of my 35th birthday and the 7 Things You Should Do in 2017 and my oh my have I enlightened my own self.

I am in such a different space in my life from the restart of my blog (March 2016) as I pursue my writing and grabbing opportunities to express myself (Pursue Your Dream Career).  I love lists….I write everything down and look back at the things I affirm in myself and feel a sense of pride when things come to fruition.

Right now there are so many thoughts in my head about what I’m trying to do and where I’m trying to go and I know that the next few years are going to push me closer to my purpose.  In the meantime I’ll just focus right here at Tilyarealeyes.com and put things into the atmosphere and watch them come full circle.  

So here’s to the 10 Things I’m Proud Of

10.  I began my college journey at the University of Florida the glorious summer of 2000.  My #1 school of choice and I had a blast…my very first Blue & White weekend, being introduced to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. by way of the fabulous Mu Epsilon Chapter…endless memories…oh what a time I had.

9.  Due to the fun I had at UF, I subsequently enlisted into the United States Air Force and spent six wonderful years on active duty.  I met some amazing people…but I also walked away with 2 associate degrees and my bachelors when I separated in 2007…Honorable Discharge…Veteran Status

8.  I have given birth to the most amazing little boys on the side of heaven.  I’m supposed to be proud as their mother…that damn Lil Phil (3.4.04) waited 20 hours to make his appearance into this world…after contracting, I stalled at 5 centimeters so a c-section it became and he’s still stubborn to this day.. #Big   Then came the baby, my Preston (2.9.06) my little genius and scheduled c-section.  He melts my heart…so innocent…so sweet…so caring… #Little

7. My trials and tribulations in life remind me that everyone struggles at times and it is a part of life but it’s ultimately about how you handle things.  I have no choice but to be resilient…I have children to take care of.  I am defined by my experiences and that is what completes me.  db42f1c66ab6b254f78baae55b330a64

Taking a deeper look though, my first name has 7 letters in it…L.A.T.I.L.Y.A.

Loyal…Ambitious…Talented…Intelligent…Loveable…Yummy…Amazing

My journey makes me aware of who I am…7…the number of completion!

6.  I have been in the traditional classroom for 9 years and I love it!  It’s not easy each day or each year.  In time middle school will be my foundation as I move up to the next level.

5.  Five years ago…April 2012 I closed on my first home…ALL by MYSELF at the age of 30. God is so Good!  These past 5 months have shook me up…my marriage ended…a financial setback…but I’m home!  The devil got busy, but I’m grounded in what’s mine and I give it all to God.

4. I have survived what might drive others crazy.  I am not ashamed of my second divorce, nope not one bit.  Marriage 1 changed me, matured me, and birthed me my 2 delicious babies.  Marriage 2 taught me what I deserve and I don’t deserve to be cheated on, lied to, disrespected, or unappreciated.  It was not all bad but the truth of the matter it was a struggle.  I have my dignity and I learned my lesson. I’m not sure if 3 times is the charm… Who Knows…But You Already Knew That…I Want The Magic.

3.  Writing my book, My Fourth Year in Middle School will always be a proud moment.  Personal, honest and something I always wanted to do.  So stay tuned for my next body of work.  Because I’m super critical of myself, when The Journey to Here is complete it will be because I’m ready for you to see it.  Being a creative is not easy…I’m passionate about MY words and how I intricately weave them together.

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2.  My education!  I’m modest about it, but having someone speak life in me and say, “You should introduce yourself as Dr. Williams”, it is a constant reminder of my accomplishments.  Surround yourself with people that SPEAK LIFE into your existence, your being, your soul, your day…those are the kind of people to have on your team. Community College of the Air Force…Thomas Edison State College (now University)…Bellevue University…Nova Southeastern University…Since 2000 I pursued my education and ultimately became Dr. LaTilya Williams.  No easy feat…but yes I did it.

1. My spirituality!  I luh God!  He is the author of my life.  Without him I would not be able to stand strong.  I am where I am in life because of him and I embrace all of my blessings.  My life is changing for the Good…the Great…the Better.

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A New Way to Think About Blogging

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Breaking into a market that is bustling with creativity is not an easy feat once you have decided to share your words and your voice with the masses.  Becoming an author you are choosing to write compelling stories that tell of heroism and out of this world adventures.  As a blogger you cover beauty, inspiration, lifestyles, and other social woes that need a platform.  Some writers are content driven entrepreneurs with classes, tips and workshops based on written curriculum designed to help you grow your business so presentation is everything.  

Writers appeal to your senses and hope to gain respected audiences and followers of their works.  Because writing is personal and is time consuming, there are writing mechanics needed in order to invoke your audience.  You will gain a broader audience when you pay close attention to the five areas writers should focus on that will keep readers engaged.

Choosing a Topic

This may sound very easy, but sometimes writing takes on a mind of its own and very soon you lose your intended direction.  There are a plethora of subjects to cover, but choose topics that you have experience in and can be looked upon as an expert.  Start with your interests, hobbies, your career and look to your family.  The most intimate and exciting parts of your life will help you create a list long enough to generate content for weeks or even months.  Write from your heart. You can always revisit previous pieces and update them when new trends arise.

Hooking Your Audience

No one wants to read boring titles because that directly attributes to boring content.  Asking an interesting question or making a strong statement will immediately grab your reader’s attention.  The purpose behind writing is to hook your target audience and keep them hungry for your work.  Command the reader’s attention by being deliberate with your words.  Reader’s want to be exposed to new ideas, but will never know the greatness of a writer’s words if they are not drawn in completely.  Don’t be afraid to push the envelope and say what everyone is thinking.

Provide Background Information

In order to provide background information you have to draw from your experiences.  Readers do not want to hear from experts all of the time.  Readers want to hear from everyday people, walking through life experiencing some of the same victories and defeats.  They want to know what your experience was like when you tried online dating, they want to hear your quirky first date stories, and all of the other things writers dive into as their niche.  I couldn’t possibly take anyone serious that had no experience in my areas of interest but constantly cranked out material on that topic like a sausage mill.  So be true to what you like and be unafraid to share your feelings.  Readers will always come back for the heartfelt messages.

Establish Your Voice

A writer’s diction is everything!  Your word choice is what pushes as article, critique, review, novel, or blog post along.  The more vivid your words are in your descriptions and explanations, the better your piece will read.  Create a word flow that makes your writing distinctive.  When writers find a format and style that attracts readers repeatedly, they have established their concrete voice.  Readers will be able to spot their favorite writers by the words and tone used in each publication.  Once you have established your voice, test the limits of that voice and you’ll be amazed at how your words come to life.

Write Coherently

Ask yourself if your writing sounds natural?  If your writing does not sound natural when you read it, it is not going to win big with your audience.The writing process is brutal! Be organized going into your topics that way all of your ideas are connected.  Make the points throughout your writing you want readers to pay attention to.  Your details should be specific and thought provoking.  Planning, drafting, revising and editing is necessary in order to get the intended outcome of a written piece of work.  Organize your writing so that it flows easily and does not leave your reader with questions at the end.

Insert yourself into your writing, not being afraid to expose your truth and lessons learned. Let your voice resonate in your writing.  Push the envelope and say exactly what you want to say.

I Don’t Want to Coach, I Just Want to Write

I Don’t Want to Coach, I Just Want to Write

 I’m not anti-coaching, but I know that’s not for me.

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Photo credit: Dave Morrison Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND             

Yesterday I compiled a list of bloggers, networks, and websites and I am blown away.  Everybody has services and products they are offering and as I read all  I say to myself is,   I want to write.

Literature is my thing.  Books, words, life, and processing all of the above.  I think about my journey and my writing as a way to provide insight about my career field (teaching), and my personal struggles (life).  I by not means am trying to coach anyone through their profession or life decisions.   So why does everyone want to be a coach?

I must reference StephRoyalty because there are just some things you should not be paying someone for.  I think experience is the best teacher, because if you never make mistakes, you will never learn.  I can honestly say that I write down many thoughts, and blog ideas, revisit those ideas, then write.  But today’s blog came on a whim!

This morning when I prepared myself to visit and register with blogging networks, I hit up twitter and was immediately shocked, maybe not shocked, but just over the coaching aspect of blogging.   I admit, I just don’t get it! You either want to write or you don’t!

I do feel however that once people gravitate to your work, you find ways to keep them engaged, but how is coaching someone through creativity the way?  You need coaches for competition! Is there a blogger olympics that everyone is being coached for that I don’t know anything about?  Who’s coaching the coaches in this industry?

Now don’t get it twisted, a workshop on monetization is a necessity.  A webinar on strategies and networking will give you key ideas and points to ponder.  We all want to make money, but what happens to the creative writers that blog because they have a constant stream of thought?  What becomes of the writer’s that publish books and write just to relieve tension?  What about the people like me that really don’t offer services and just want to WRITE?

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Photo credit: MyEyeSees via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m not knocking anyone’s hustle because we all want to get “PUT ON”.  But if everybody is offering coaching services at competitive prices, are we “one upping” the competition?  There are some really amazing bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs out here and I’m losing track.

I can’t focus on my brand long enough to see if I actually have one, because everybody trying to assist in branding!  Now does that make sense?  It does and then at the same time it doesn’t.  My message is so simple…

Discipline…I am focused enough to make this writing career happen. Authenticity…I am staying true to myself in the midst of this blogger world pandemonium.  Perseverance…I am willing to stay the course as long as possible, to see my words come to fruition.

Let me reiterate!  I don’t want to coach, I just want to write.  If I happen upon an audience that likes my honesty and transparency, then good for me.  Now let me get back to my compiled list, and let you get back to your regularly scheduled program.  Tootle Loo!

The Meaning of TilyaRealEyes “The Educated Veteran”

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.wp-image-2072040792jpg.jpg

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.  20151208_083123

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. 

cropped-20160718_120948.jpgCheck out my debut book My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching which gives your personal stories of my teaching journey so far.  I bring relevance and credibility to The Educated Veteran.

Now you know the meaning of my site.  I am TilyaRealEyes, The Educated Veteran!  Ask me anything and I will gladly help you realize your truth.

I Have Had Plenty of Doubt

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When I first separated from the Air Force in 2007, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and eager to take on civilian life.  I was confident that my resume was a banger and I was going to conquer the world with my charm.  Then the reality of job searching sank in, and a month into “career” hunting I began to wonder if I was good enough for the jobs that I was applying to when all I could think about was writing.  My brain was always on auto pilot, thinking and creating imaginative tales.

I have tried many things in my short time on earth…34 years…and in everything I have done in the back on my mind I had a million questions.  I’ve believed in black and white all of my life which is why the yearning to put things in black and white print means something to me.

I used to write in my journal during my first marriage (2003-2011) but my journal thoughts were stolen from me when my husband decided to read my intimate passages and views on life.  When that marriage began to crumble in the summer of 2008, I had doubts about love, happiness, family, and security.  For eight years my life revolved around one man and our two children.  I wrote all of these things down in a new journal that I kept hidden from him because no matter how true your words are for you, it would be hard for someone to know that you hated the thought of being home with them.  Things were not bad the entire time, but the bad outweighs the good and I totally accept my responsibility for the dysfunction that lasted as long as it did.

As I wrote through my constant doubts of family, I took on a new role as an educator.  I asked myself  many questions to help my thought process.

  • Will I make an impact?
  • Will I be good at teaching?
  • Will my students like me?
  • How will I get along with my colleagues?

I had doubts about the career change and as I worked through many misunderstandings and nuisances, I continued to keep a running memo.  Embarking on my doctoral journey I heard, “You gone degree yourself out of a job?”  More doubt surfaced because I began to think about the possibility of being over qualified for jobs.  Then the yearning and urging to write became more prevalent.  That memo of rejection began to grow because everything I have poured myself into was being met with opposition.  The memo turned into a book and while I’m satisfied with the outcome. In comes the doubt.

  • Will my book be liked?
  •  How can I garner as many customers as some of the authors I love to read?
  • Am I to be taken seriously about my writing?
  • Will people read and like my message?

Doubt and fear will cripple your ambition.  The thought of writing, doing something different but yet the same, just taking it to the next level makes me nervous.  Being subjected to rejection as I was in my first marriage has at times paralyzed my writing. Being rejected with my blog makes me cautious because the competition is fierce.  You click a twitter username, follow the links to a blog page and the flood gates open.  How to do this better, how to do that better, top tips for job searching, my list of zig zags, and the brilliancy and creativity goes on and on.  I have had plenty of doubts because I want to stand out in a big sea that is full of fish.

The doubt does not keep me from trying anyways, it helps me sort out my thoughts, my endless list of things to do, blog notes, sticky notes, celebrations lists, tweets, pins, facebook, and instagram posts.  I don’t doubt that I’m good, I don’t doubt that I’ll be great. I have had plenty of doubts about next steps, so until then I’m sifting through my stuff to create substance.

~LaTilya Rashon

Independent Author of My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching