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Posted in Education, Life, Uncategorized

No Place I’d rather be…

First Year Teacher Struggles

Classroom management…if I can just get these kids to BE QUIET!!!! I love them dearly, but geez…can y’all wait til I’m done teaching before y’all talk? I promise I don’t stand in front of them long!

How can I engage them in a way that is interesting to them so they will want to listen?

Comparison…comparing myself to other teachers does my students (as well as myself) a great disservice. There’s only one Ms. G…and when I’m too busy comparing myself to others, trying to be something other than me…my kids miss out. My kids need the authentic Ms. G. Not someone trying to be another teacher.

Content struggles. Ahhhhh poetry. Poetry, like much other forms of writing, is an art form. And its’ interpretation is subjective. Trying to figure it out in order to answer questions so I can teach my kids how to answer questions the way the writer writes them? Can we say frustration?

100 minutes. 100 minutes of engaging my kids. Many different levels of learning in one class, 3 times a day. Many different personalities. Many different times of repeating myself, giving consequences, telling kids to stay in their seats, stop messing with another kid, etc.

And yet, I wouldn’t trade ANY OF IT.

Despite the struggles, my kids do actually learn something from me. and it feels good when they do.

My kids actually learn. And it means I teach. and I’m not half bad.

Well I’ll be damned.

And there’s no place I’d rather be!

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Posted in Education, Life, Uncategorized

The Long Road Home-A Teacher’s Late Bloomer Story-The Intro

I knew I was supposed to become a teacher, 11 years ago.

11 years ago, I was a college sophomore at a community college in NE Ohio (which would later become my alma mater). I took a summertime math class with a brilliant black mathemetician, Dr. Bilal Bomani. Before his class, I was not really feeling math. I always felt like I was bad at it. Or bored. And I wasn’t looking forward to taking a summer math course. But soon as I stepped foot in his class, I knew this would be different. He wasn’t the first black math teacher I’d had but, he was definitely the first black math professor I’d had. And he told us from the first day that his class had one of the highest drop rates.

But I was determined. I had goals to reach. In order to transfer to the local university within a certain time frame (the following spring), I had to take and pass this particular math course. So here we go!

He was the first professor I had in college that pushed me, that challenged me. I was a naturally gifted writer, I loved reading, so most classes, especially English courses, were a breeze. But me and math, had always been at odds. He pushed us to practice and to think and never told us we couldn’t do it. He was firm yet encouraging. And I ended up getting an A in math for the first time EVER. I felt empowered. I felt like I could do anything if I put my mind to it. It was the best feeling ever. And I wanted others to experience that feeling. Because I knew there were so many other kids, especially black girls, who felt like I did. Who felt like they weren’t good at math.

And at that moment, I knew I wanted to become an educator. I actually almost went to school to become a middle school math teacher but the classes I needed to take, scared me away. Also I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to teach forever. But none of that mattered. I just needed to trust in what I knew and trust that God knew what the rest looked like.

What I didn’t understand at the time is that all I needed to worry about was taking that first step towards becoming an educator and trusting that the rest would be in God’s hands.

After college I worked for the government, in higher education, and for a non profit with after school programs before finally deciding to enter the classroom as a teacher. I was tired of feeling unfulfilled, of not making enough money, of not being able to have enough time with my son. I decided to finally try teaching.

The training during the summer that I went through, I was nervous as heck about teaching middle school, or just teaching in general.

But the moment I stepped in front of my sixth graders on the first day of school, power point clicker in hand, and opened my mouth…I knew I had [finally] come home.

Posted in Life, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Becoming

This time period in my life, has been something else.

Lots of tears shed, for sure. Lots of awkward growing pains.

Lots of moments I’ve wondered why, but never doubted being in the right place at the right time.

I didn’t know becoming would feel so…crazy. I didn’t know becoming would involve SO many sacrifices. I didn’t know becoming would cause me to take some risks that didn’t make sense to everyone, to confront my fears, to allow emotions to flow.

The whole ‘still waters run deep?’ Has been me for so much of my life.

My inner life is rich, one that I’ve kept others out of for SO long. Everyone cannot handle your vulnerability. Everyone doesn’t have the capacity to handle your pains, your fears, your tears, your doubts, your dreams, your laughter in times of sorrow. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just that we were not really created to carry so much of others’.

But one thing I’ve learned is that we work through our own pain and baggage, and as we do that, we create more space within us that increases our capacity to love others. And so many of us are in that space of becoming, and we don’t always know how to release.

When you get burned? You are afraid. Afraid to love again. Trust again. Afraid to ask for help. And often it’s not the burn from strangers that hurts. It’s the burn from loved ones that hurts the most.

I mean, how was I supposed to learn to love and trust again when the people I trusted the most, burned me?

But they didn’t know they burned me. They didn’t know they were running, on fire, from people who burned them, they just know they ran from dealing with the pain they needed to deal with, and in doing so, they hurt others in the process.

I realize now, while writing this, I owe some an apology, while running on fire. I didn’t know at the time I was not really ready to deal with the pain I’d experienced. And often it wasn’t the pain I thought, or others thought.

Hurt people, hurt people, but it’s not an excuse to do it.

It is an excuse to extend grace, and to practice self-care, however.

I’m learning that as I forgive myself, I’m able to forgive others. As I extend grace and love towards myself, I’m able to extend the same towards others.

Becoming isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Becoming the best Dei, is an ongoing process. It began several years ago, and this move has profoundly impacted how I see the world, both inside of me and out of it. It has changed the way I feel, the way I process, the way I let others in, as well as the way I keep others out. It has changed how and when and who I draw boundaries with.

I am becoming me, still. I didn’t know it would be SO intense. Even though I may be pretty talkative, I still process within FIRST before sharing with others. Most often, I may not share with others, and if I do, it’s with a select few, that I can usually count on one of my hands. And I hate to admit it but this isn’t always family.

There’s so much more I want to write but for now, I will end this by saying, as we all become, at different paces, I hope we are sensitive to the fact that everyone’s becoming looks different. I also hope we can extend grace towards others, but draw boundaries when necessary and show love and extend grace to ourselves first and foremost.

 

Oh and this picture below is a beautiful reflection pool I found here in Houston…represents peace. Calm. Stillness. For myself. Find whatever that looks like for you in the midst of becoming for now. It may change over time. Be okay with that.

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Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Push Past Comfort

My, how alot has happened since i wrote in here last. I am in a different state, beginning a new journey as a teacher…

And once again, I’m in a new place where I don’t recognize the woman in the mirror.

But it’s a good thing. I don’t recognize her because, she’s more vocal. More assertive. More sure of herself. More of herself.

In the midst of all these life changes…the divorce…the job loss…the new job…the moving 1300 miles away from everything I’ve ever known…I haven’t wanted to write OR do videos.

I had to make myself sit down and write this. I have a few trusted friends that I confide in and spill my emotions and feelings to. Between that, and just trying to process it all…my desire to write has all but disappeared lately.

Truth be told, this season, my new home in the great state of Texas, is great but SUPER uncomfortable at times. I came here, to experience the discomfort. I knew that growth was waiting on the other side. But geez…lol. You never know how uncomfortable things will be until you are smack in the middle of it. Til you’re forced to face the conundrum of things in your life that seem to oppose each other. Til you’re forced to get over your ego, your pride, your past hurts to reach out to others for help.

I can sit here and say that it hasn’t been easy to deal with my own fear of rejection, failure, and discomfort as I navigate a new place, both literally and physically. But it’s been healing, in a strange way, to rediscover who I am, to confront those fears and to push past discomfort. There’s no person, place, or thing that is magical, that will cause you to grow. Your mindset, however, is the key to growth. Your mindset determines whether or not you’ll see challenges and run or see them as an opportunity to grow. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that those three things don’t influence your mindset. They absolutely do. You ever go sit by the lake to think? Or go to your best friend’s house when you’re feeling down and need uplifting? Take a late night drive when you’re on the brink of major decisions?

Those things can do wonders for your mindset, but at the end of the day, you must choose to change your mindset to reach your desired destination and goal.

When I felt God leading me to Houston, I knew that a different mindset would be necessary to navigate this transition. I knew that I could not use the mindset I’d always used. I knew that in order to be open to growing and expanding and becoming more of myself, I had to be willing to develop new habits, to be uncomfortable, to learn. Those things have served me well but not without tears, without wanting to throw in the towel, without wanting to go back where I came from.

I would do myself a great disservice if I didn’t push past the discomfort. I know the reward waiting on the other side and yet, I think it will surprise me beyond my wildest dreams.

So cheers to being willing to be uncomfortable and step out on faith. Whatever lies ahead…God knows.

Posted in Empowerment, Life, purpose

Run Your Race

I have a confession…

I’ve suffered from achievement envy the last few years.

Crazy, I know.

But Deidre, you’ve accomplished alot.

I know, and it still doesn’t feel like enough. It still doesn’t feel impressive some days.

Some days, I feel like I’m JUST Kiddo’s mom. Or JUST a daughter, sister, friend.

Some days, I seriously forget what I have, and what I’ve accomplished.

Crazy I know.

I’ve accomplished ALOT in 31 years. I have to remind myself where I came from.

A graduate of one of the poorest urban districts in the country, I still graduated in the top 17% of my HS graduating class, and already had a semester’s worth of college credits under my belt.

I have THREE degrees (Associates, Bachelor’s, Masters). I have won numerous awards. I’m a member of the MOST Illustrious Sorority on Earth, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated, a goal of mine I was able to achieve while being a wife, mom, full time employee, full time graduate student and STILL managed to graduate with a 3.52.

I forget the numerous professional accomplishments I’ve racked up. And now that I’m shifting lanes professionally, I get to set new goals and achieve those.

And yet some days, I look at those younger than me, or the same age as me, or older than me, and feel like they’ve accomplished so much more.

But we didn’t start at the same place. And we weren’t given the same set of tools to work with.

We all had different advantages or disadvantages. We all have our own unique toolboxes, with different gifts and talents, different starting points, different things that give us an edge. None of us really started at a deficit, no matter how much we may feel so. We all encountered obstacles, that we had to overcome to get to where we are. And some of those people we envy, had their own challenges and load to carry.

I say all of that to say, I was reminded today that we must run our own race.

“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

Ecclesiastes 9:11

And that’s it right there. How can I run the race given to me if I’m so busy looking at the person next to me (or on an entirely different track)?

I was graced to do what I do. And if I’m being completely transparent, I have been so busy looking at the person next to me that I didn’t run my race. I didn’t do the best that I could with what I’ve been given.

But it’s okay. I have this moment right here and right now.

I must run my race. There’s something to do in this very moment.

Like write this post and share it with you all.

I have been examining what I want lately and why. I don’t want to desire something simply because someone else has it. That envy is a clue, and I look deeper.

Maybe I recognize part of myself in the people I envy. Maybe I realize there’s something in them that I admire and instead of being envious, I can develop that trait or characteristic in myself. Use it as fuel to do what works for me.

I’m determined to run my race, with blinders on. I want to cheer on others with no envy, but instead pure joy because they are running their race and winning at it. Because I want others to do the same for me.

And to be honest, who am I really without all the accolades, achievements, accomplishments?

I’m still Dei.

Still worthy of love.

It’s not about what I have or what I have done. It’s about who I am.

Run your race.

It’s been given to you for a reason.

Posted in Love, Poetry

You Had Me at Hello (Day 6 Poetry Challenge)

I tried to not fall in love with you

but my feeble attempts failed

You had me at hello

I tried to tell myself that as long as it was within my power, within my domain

I wouldn’t fall for you

It was too soon

But as soon as I saw you for the first time

It was a wrap

You eyes locked with mine

I couldn’t not sit close to you

And as time has gone by

Our love story has become my favorite

Our characters are ones that I’ve loved the most

Our love sweet as sugar, honey, iced tea

As I write this love letter and instead of sending it to you in an envelope

Instead it’ll be placed in a bottle and tossed into the ocean

Maybe someone will find this and be inspired

To take a risk for love

To go for it

To believe that love at first sight does exist

 

 

 

Posted in purpose, Spirituality

Letting Go

Life isn’t happening to me, it’s happening FOR me. And as soon as I realized that, life really began to open up for me.

Sitting here writing this as I reflect and think on my journey, to every moment that led me to this current present state.

The older I get the less I realize I know.

The older I get the more I’m learning to surrender.

I’ve got a secret. Or maybe it’s not a secret.

But I, up until recently, was a control freak. And it damaged alot of relationships and ruined some good things. Well, I don’t know if I believe it ‘ruined’ anything. What I do know is, I know a different way now.

I used to think that if I didn’t make something happen, that it would never happened. I often wanted and pursued things out of desperation and lack. When I did this, I chased away the very thing I wanted and often settled for something that either wasn’t a match to who I really was, or it wasn’t entirely what I wanted but ‘good enough’ was better waiting on that thing that was just right for me.

The thing about ending up somewhere less than where we want to be is that we never let go of the desire to be where we really want to be. And as we move closer to that, anything that isn’t aligned with that desire, has to fall away. That in itself isn’t always a pleasant experience.

But in it, we learn to let go. To surrender. To not force anything that doesn’t feel right. And we know when something doesn’t feel right. We vow not to do anything that isn’t aligned with what we want.

We vow to let go. To take our hands off everything and let God do His thing, work His magic.

Faith is believing in something we cannot see.

Faith is letting go of desperation, of anything less than trust in our deepest desires.

Faith is letting go and letting God.