Tennis shoes, Beat Headphones and My Mind
How long can I revel in the fact that I wrote and produced a play for a major festival over a month ago. The high is gone, snubbed out mostly because the event organizers haven't paid out. Black people! Organization?!? A small part of me understands, can even empathize with the festival organizers. I too have gone all out for a dream, put every little thing down to my last dollar on the line. Haphazard.
I had a revelation this morning while mall walking or should I say, re-revelation. The opposite of haphazard is intentional. We have to be clear in our ideas, our focus and our execution. There is a song out by Travis Greene called, "Intentional" It goes: All things are working for my good cause He's intentional, never failing.Of course, the He that he (Travis) is referring to is the almighty God-never failing. He's our perfect example.
I couldn't help thinking as I rounded the corners past Urban outfitters and a few anchor Department stores still left in the mall about intent or motive. I was bombarded about the newest case of a black man, Samuel Dubose, 43, who was shot and killed by the police in Cincinnati. I sat in the car earlier in the day on the 45 minute trek listening to reports and discussing it with my thirteen year old daughter. I wonder how many cases like this does her young ears hear before she becomes desensitized to the injustices. Do we know what our babies internalize? She has seen the dash cam video. I have not. Reporters are talking about the situation escalating. How does a routine traffic stop, a boy buying skittles or a man selling cigarettes one by one escalate to death? A million things run through my mind such as what they do to us and what we do to ourselves. I try to capture the good productive stuff to try and explain the crisis we are in to my teen. One thing, I know for sure, in this case, and in the Sandra Bland case, and the case of the teen girl slammed to the ground after a neighborhood pool party is that those cops' intention was clear, to dominate, to disrespect, maybe even use their authority to destroy another human's life. If they are intentional, we have to be intentional, as role models, as parents, as educators on how we discuss, organize , protest and equip our kids to deal with authority.
We are in crisis. We have to arm our kids to be apart of the next big Civil Rights movement. We, many with a degree or two of separation from the actual Civil Rights movement, are the bridge to the past.Some of our children if not the majority have to be the catalyst if not be a direct part of the solution. As an educator,I cannot help but draw the parallels of the war waged on the street to what is seen in the public schools. I know my people. I know kids. I teach middle school, for goodness sake, a mirror of what is going on in the larger nation. Kids are mouthy as all get out, incensed easily, and lack respect for authority. To even unlock what they know, to get to what they need to know, part of my job is disarm them. Not to make light of the situation, but it's sort of like a lion tamer meets an ATF bomb expert sometimes. In the Sandra Bland case, one of the first things the arresting officer expressed to her was that she seemed a little agitated. To which she gave the flippant response, "I am. I'm wondering why you pulled me over when I was trying to get out of your way." If that was the case, her apparent tone was out in the open. I believe a rational cop with no agenda besides the public safety should have been able to disarm her. What happened to kid gloves? Disarm, disarm, disarm, damnit! Professionals who deal with the public like Customer Service Representatives do it all the time. In my classroom, I am the professional, so when a kid tells me by word or deed that he/she is having a bad day, I believe them. I give them no pass, but my humanness allows them a moment to regroup. I let them know I hear them; I reassure them. I'm clear about my intention. We hopefully deescalate the situation. I thank God for the great men and women in uniform who do that on a daily basis. We must agree there are some who need this type of basic sensitivity training, and still others that need to be purged from Civil Service-ness altogether.
How, then, do we arm our kids to combat the atrocities of the day? Is it too cliché to say Education is the key? Media was fast to show what they considered the missteps of our protests in the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore. In many ways our kids' insolence and perceived indifference is a protest in and of itself. It gets back to the question of have we equipped our kids with tools ( the lessons of history and the language of civil disobedience to name a few.) We have to instruct our kids. How many "Birds & bees, and how NOT to be a victim," conversations are going on not only with our African American sons, but also, now, our daughters. I dare say it has to go a step further. We have to be intentional about our expectations for our children and teach them the distractions that can derail this game plan. We have to pray that our kids don't roam the Earth haphazardly, but find purpose. That might mean that just like on social media, we have to manage our friends and acquaintance and purge them to like-minded individuals or those we aspire to glean from. No one class, grade, school or degree will fill in all the gaps of life for us. We have to be life-long learners. We have to tend to our trauma. We have to teach our kids to make integrity their intention. We have to understand that we can influence, but the only one we can truly control is ourselves. If we hate stereotypes, we've got to stop being one. We have got to get along to be apart of a movement. We're outraged and vocal for a reason. I pray we can be intentional with our fervor, and that our hope cannot be squelched by current circumstances.
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is a Career Educator, Multi-published Author and Playwright who along with other educators have teamed up blog under the banner of Black Minds Matter to discuss the struggles and strategies of educating today's African American students in this Black Lives Matter Era.
Know why your here
Know what you know
Dealing with trauma
Problem solving is figuring out what you don't have Get it with a quickness
Make integrity your intention
Have a plan to gain knowledge
survey with self control
Hate stereotypes? Well don't be a statistic
Gather the necessary tools
Have a plan to get out of a jam
Disarm and arm (Faith disarms us) genuine rapport live where they live, see what they see? is it possible
Career Educators of color discuss struggles and strategies of educating today's African American students in the Black Lives Matter Era
On the eve of starting another school year, I've been thinking of your passion for education. Just like wealth building we have to be about the business of wisdom building in the black community. I think my ideas jive with yours. I first want to revive my blog Capitol M, Capitol T ( mom and teacher), renaming it, and adding a few others as writers and administrators like you. I think we can really drum up a readership while providing a service full of valuable information. Please think about joining us. This year if we commit to sharing on the blog to others outside the school system about our apparent failures and successes with preparing our kids for the real world. Eventually I'd like to compile a book ( an anthology) with you as one of the writers. Please tell me you'll think and pray about it.
Use your collective anointing
Tone - a matter of perspective This is nota elaborate grip session
Soon and Very soon was awarded the 2008 Best Book Award from EDC Creations.
I have proclaimed 2009 as Destination Destiny. The last two years of marketing my first book, Soon and Very Soon was just a pre-cursor of things to come. Despite a limited budget, God was limitless in his faithfulness to this project. I e-mailed friends, joined social networking sites, snail-mailed bookstores, joined more social networking sites, did interviews and book signings and courted bookclubs, all with rich returns. My purpose was clear-share my honest commentary on a life with Christ through fictional characters and storylines. It had been a dream ten years in the making since I first penned the story. I feel in love with the tale of two pastors who decide to marry and combine their churches. Once again I’ve been prompted to put pen to paper and bring to life more stories of passion, pain and prayer. This year I will be ramping up to the release of my second novel, The Manual, in bookstores everywhere October 2009, as well as, completing manuscripts for Soon After, the sequel to Soon and Very Soon (September 2010) and another story released the following year. Join me on this thrill ride and I’ll promise you that you’ll be entertained and inspired.
I spent my birthday securing my place in the workforce. I returned from Disney with a message about available English teaching positions in Charles County School System. I interviewed with two seperate principlas: a seemingly cool dreaded brother that looked a little like a younger Al Green and a overly enthusiatic white woman with a hispanic name that had recently been to a beach or tanning bed. I am amazed at my inability to take the road of least resistance. As sexist as it may sound many teachers have the theory that a male principal gives you less woes. I am coming off a nearly two year sabbatical. I don't need drama.
My sister reminded me that I prayed to be delivered from the classroom and that like in the book of Galations (5:1) it says to Stand therefore in my liberty..and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. She skeptical about my decision to return. The bill collectors are not. See, I understand what God has done for me granting me time off, but He also knows I have commited a number of sins daily to maintain my lifestyle. I've robbed modern-day Peter to pay modern-day Paul. I will also be guilty of slowly killing my husband. He's been working hard, ya'll. Overtime.
My husband warned me when I began looking to return to Education to save myself some stress and just, "go in there and do what's required and no more." We call that the Walking Retired. Some do it, but that's no way to teach.Needless to say I had another dilema on my hands. I try to ignore it but I have a tugging toward the 6 grade Enrichment Reading position with Ms. DeLaCruz at the healm. It was something about her belief that all her students could score proficient and above on state testing. It was also the way she gave me permisson to wipe their ( above average kids I'll be teaching) butts. She had a piercing stare and she wanted to know if I was up for a challenge. As God would have it cool black brother with dreads was dragging his heels about making me an offer, but Ms. Perky had already put in her bid when I returned to Personel. He missed out.
Now I was like the Yolanda Adams tune, What about the Children? In this case, my own- Nylah and AJ. Nylah is one thing, seek out the best before and aftercare program, but Aj is not a kid you just drop off at a daycare center. While the prospect of a steady salary and health benefits has me breathing easier all of a sudden I am hyperventilating. An overreaction, really, cause I realize all that I was able to do for him in the 22 months I was off. I call one of his many clinical care coordinators and within twenty minutes I've got an appointment with a company that provides nursing care while I work. This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been off all that time to assemble resources for his disability. And, it certainely wouldn't have happened had I killed over on the floor with a brown paper bag pressed to my nose and mouth.
I am going back to work to continue to be a resource to my family and I am content with this decison.
This is my first post. I read my cousin's journal and wanted to start my own. Record my thoughts, especially at works so I don't go off and hurt someone's child. I hate my job. I teach 3 ninety minut classes each day to a bunch of children who could care less about words and poetry and correct speech for that matter. Oh yeah they know some words: curse words and slang. The cursing is so bad that you cannot possibley catch everyone who is cursing and write them up or suspend them, then the whole school would be suspended. I hate this school cause I see the worst of black people in them. It brings me down. I just completed a lseeon on grammar with my first class that I know will be pregressively harder to teach as the day goes on. Then my last class FORGET IT! They just want to jone or talk about one another. They gget on my nervers. I thought I had good discipline until I came to this school. These fools have no fear. There has been a many time that I just sat dowwn cause no one was listening to me especially my last class. My desk is overrun with papers to grade. I knw half of it is crapI need TLC's clean sweep or trading apces to organize my teaching area. But I have ten more day with these student. I can't wait!