My Quest To Teach

July 28, 2014

A Student’s Social Media SWAG

A High School Student’s Social Media SWAG
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
My Quest To Teach

High School seniors is your Social Media SWAG ready for a new school year???

The reason for this blog is that recent research from the Pew
Internet Project suggests that 93% of Americans from ages
12 to 17 use the Internet, and 65% to 79% of those teens
use social networks. Most online interaction is for fun, there
are still dangers that parents and teens need to
understand. Even educators and professionals can
learn a lot from their online activity and the perceptions
that are created from online interactions.
SWAG is a contagious concept, but is SWAG killing
a student’s reputation and harming their future?

High school students should be cautious of the content
they are posting online; they should be clear that their
content cannot come back to harm them later. Parents
are the one’s footing the bills for Smartphones, Internet
access, Tablets and other devices their children are using.
Parents need to remind their children of the dangers
don’t see online, and teach online safety practices are a
part of parenting. I have told my own children that “they
may think they know more about technology, but
I know more about life and the dangers of our world.

The infusion of Social Media networks, platforms, and
tools is allowing created content by teens and young
adults to be posted at an alarming rate. Youth, adolescents,
teens, young adults transitioning through high schools
are connected by tools they do not fully understand.
The expansion of Social Media in the last five years
has been a thousand fold in usage, integration and
absorbsion of our young people’s lives on social platforms
that are ever expanding and changing. The concern is that
the majority of those from ages 14 to 19 fail to understand
that their postings never go away. The reality is that content
by text, pictures, video, tweets and other forms create
a perception of that person that will be available for
years to come. This will influence employment options,
educational opportunities, earning scholarships, being
awarded internships and even entry into military service.

Just because you can use every Social Media platform
does not mean you’re a technology expert and people will
run to hire you, give you scholarships, think you are worthy
of internships or the military or government will send Black
SUV’s to your door to save the world from global destruction.
Because of the type of content that is created the opposite
will be true. People with employment, scholarships and
internships maybe running digitally the other direction because
of wrong perceptions.
Monica Vila, founder of, has been
quoted about the importance of Social Media (SM)
content; “Certain technical skills in the coming years are
not going to be just about consuming media,” “It is also
going to be about producing media. It is not just about
writing a blog, but also how to leave comments that say
something. Learning to communicate like this is contributing
to the general circulation of culture.” Digital Media literacy
is growing and important in understanding how to create
and use content in positive ways.

Youth as they mature must learn that their content has value
and meaning, learn how to manage and produce content
(information) that enhances them and brings value.
Parents should have conversations on the value of sharing
information, anything from a video clip on Vine, a profile
page on LinkedIn or
page Bio is going to expose
skills to the world, high school seniors need to practice and
show positive and productive content all the time because they
never know who is watching.
Minority youth especially need to be cautious because
perceptions by society are already manipulated by movies,
videos, news sound bytes and music videos that depict
youth of color in a bad light. This causes many to already judge
minority youth harshly with suspicion. SWAG online can hurt
teens, create suspicions and uncertainties.
Admissions officers in higher education, private schools,
charter schools are really looking at Facebook profiles of
prospective students. They are researching Twitter feeds,
Instagram pictures and videos and postings on Vine, as well
as other Social Media Networks.

Having spoken to high school students in programs like
Learn2Earn Experience, Black Male College Explorers Program,
Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, Journey Into Womanhood,
AKA Leadership Summit, African American Episcopal
Church Leadership Summits, Hip Hop Summits and other venues
students do not understand the potential negative influences
of their postings referring to SWAG.
Articles such as how FACEBOOK May Influence Your
Job Prospects

“SWAG applied in the wrong way won’t earn a person a job,
help obtain a degree or receive a promotion” William Jackson

No one likes to be judged productivity and qualified is a defining
key if a person will be employed. Employers are stalking potential
interviewers with the attitude why interview when you can
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Vine investigate? Viewing
SM content employers can judge candidates’ prospective work
performance and ethics by spending five to ten minutes lurking
on their Social Media pages. The use of these SM tools also
gives employers a view into the personal lives of the employees
or potential workers. How well they treat their parents and other
family members, use of drugs, drinking, badmouthing former
employers, and lying about one’s qualifications, how is their
work ethic and habits and importantly what type of student are they.

Whether we accept this or not Social Media sites are digital
windows for our real world selves. Profiles on Facebook, Pinterest,
Google+, Twitter, et. al. reflect likes, dislikes, personalities and
priorities. Photos and video are useful to employers in seeing
what we might be like to work with than a short interview.
Potential work place and school violence is being judged by
online postings of schools, employees, the degree of emotional
stability of high school students, introversion, bullying and
dealing with stresses.

Grandmothers and grandfathers use to say you should always
wear clean underwear because you never know who will see you,
now the saying goes you should always have clean Social Media
because you never know who is stalking you to give a job or scholarship.
Educators also cannot afford to let it “hang out” on weekends and
holidays, because their students and parents will judge them outside
of the educational profession. Just like law enforcement officers, judges,
attorneys, doctors and those in other professions. Tapping into
information can create opportunities for advancement or
demotion, disciplinary measures and even cases of unemployment.

High school students maybe building their digital SWAG, but must have
a SWAG investment image not an anti-social image. SWAG should
be a Marketing and Branding tool not a tool for profanity, displaying
drug usage, sexual situations and criminal activities.

Technology can be a high schools students best friend or worst enemy,
they determine which by the content they produce and post.
Students and parents should ask “where does SWAG fit in for me online?”
High school students Google yourself and view your content as a business
owner, would you hire yourself? Would you give yourself a scholarship or
an internship? It is still important to talk to guidance counselors about career
and educational options.

Don Kluemper, of Northern Illinois University involved in various research
projects with Social Media states, “We were able to better predict a student’s
academic success based on their Facebook pages than on the cognitive
tests now.”
Parent and students need to be aware and diligent in what is posted and
shared. Start asking your self Is SWAG killing your reputation and changing
people’s perceptions of yourself? Stated earlier Google yourself to see
what the world or your community sees about you. Parents Google your
children, because in some cases schools and law enforcement agencies
are. Be prepared for potential challenges with posted content either positive
or negative. Your child’s future may depend on it.

July 23, 2014

Fathers: Are You Setting Your Children Up for a Death Sentence

Fathers: Are You Setting Your Children Up for a Death Sentence

Chinua Achebe, “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others
without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely
in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another
down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
“The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays”

“Fathers, it is time to lift our children, our families, our culture,
our communities from the mud of poverty, ignorance, death and
destruction.” William Jackson – My Quest To Teach

Fathers have a choice to be a blessing or a curse to their children,
to lead them to a life of safety or condemn them to potential death
sentences of poverty, lack of education and no societal voice.
They (fathers) are supposed to be the foundation, the rock that
their families can stand on during the storms of life and the
challenges that they will face. The national deaths by violence of
children are a signal that parents are not doing their jobs and
importantly too many men are not parenting, fathering, guiding
and mentoring. Too many are talking, their lips are moving,
but their feet and hearts are standing still.

Fathers are influential in the social and educational directions of
their children, they set the tones for social interactions, establishing
the direction of their children and others around them growing and
developing the social graces and humbleness that boys and girls
developing into men and women will need. Children are modeling
their father’s activities, insecurities, negativity in mentality and
social involvements. The father is the model whether at home or

Social graces are not just the vestiges of social requirements; they
are the patterns of behaviors for survival that boys and girls of color
and culture will need to know in order to grow in a society that is still
struggling with boys and girls of diversity and color. The directions
of life take many twists and turns for youth especially Black youth,
this is NOT another hate the system or hate the government blog,
nor is it a blog on what the educational system is not accomplishing.

This blog addresses the responsibilities of “men in the village” to
re-evaluate and re-prioritize their thinking and to be of service to
their communities. The great Nigerian author Chinua Achebe
through his writings of the past tries to teach men that positive
emotions to their children are beneficial and “do not fear being
thought weak as a man” because men show emotions, they should
to establish a connection with their families.

Men have a right that extends to the accountability and responsibility
to be involved in their children’s educational growth and development.
How can hundreds if not thousands of men attend sporting events in
support of their children, but cannot consistently volunteer, visit,
mentor, support their children’s schools that are preparing them
for life in this nation? Achebe shares, He (fathers) do not show any
human emotions and sentiments so as not to be seen as weak,”
are creating un-caring societies where children are forgetting the
value of love, compassion, sympathy and honor.

How many men can blame the State Attorney’s Office and law
enforcement if they won’t “man up” handling their “business” and
parental responsibilities in raising their children? Prisons are not
Day Cares, Learning Centers, Enrichment Organizations; how
many men can blame the school district if they have not started the
process of educating their children in the basics of reading, math and
social behaviors at home that allow for education in a formal setting
to start.
The streets, back alleys, corners and clubs of our communities will
teach skills that will lead to death or prison as seen in children today,
what real father can be proud of that? Real Talk needs to be continued
as seen from events like Real Talk Real Change forums, true and honest
dialogue to prevent fatherlessness from continuing.

Fathers need to be involved in a dialogue that is growing,
young fathers that need help. Matt Thompson of the Jacksonville
Children’s Commission asks an important question: How can young
fathers cope in this dialogue
An appropriate quote from Nigeria that the late Achebe shares,
“People who do not seek their fellow human beings’ help when in danger
or difficulty are therefore animalistic.” Running away to fend for themselves,
but ultimately running away from the problems that they hope will consume
others and not them.

Fathers and learning, there should not be an effort to save public libraries
because libraries should be full during the day with fathers sharing the
empowerment and need for exposure to educational and cultural resources.
Children should be seen holding their fathers hands, sitting on their laps and
involved in FREE activities that build critical thinking skills, encourage problem
solving abilities and promote higher order thinking that creates language
development, increased vocabulary and appreciation for being intelligent.
“People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to
do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.” Chinua Achebe

The term “School-to-Prison Pipeline” is resulting from a combination of
social issues, economic challenges and generational mentalities that
are created by a growing population of hopelessness from unemployment,
single parent homes and school systems unable to provide struggling
students with enough resources and support that they were not designed
to address. Because of continuous generational tragedies young people
of color are thereby increasing their likelihood of entering correctional facilities.

Strategies need to be developed that educate and provide guidance and
mentorship outside of schools involving the whole family, this takes the
efforts of places of worship, cultural centers, the arts, and community
non-profit organizations. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan describes
initiatives aimed at improving the in- and out-of-school outcomes for Black
boys: increase the number Black male teachers in U.S. public schools that
are qualified and willing to make their passions an investment.
To keep children of color from entering into the “pipeline” prevention is needed
not reaction. Fathers are an important part of this effort and once again fathers
need to be trained and encouraged. Ronnie Cage, community activist and
national trainer for fathers and fathering skills has encouraged fathers need
training to be fathers.

As a man, father, and educator, I must learn also from resources in our community
to assist parents. The Real Talk Real Change forums provided by E3 Business
Group opened doors for dialogue that both parents need to be involved in.
Real Talk and Real Change

Parenting is a powerful force, parents have a spiritual connection
to their children and a responsibility to raise them. Parents are judged by
how they raise the generations that come and what they do on this earth.
Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children
who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher
self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.
Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships
in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or
father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger
sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without
fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Even culturally both
races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in their
children’s lives.

Facts like “black males represent six percent of the U.S. population,
yet 35 percent of the prison population and less than two percent of teachers”
mentioned at the educational conference at Morehouse College in 2009.
All these have an effect on the mental and emotional state of Black boys
girls and Latinos.
In the beginning man was created, so men must setup and be a part of
their children’s lives before our cemeteries have more children in them
than those who have reached a respectful age of maturity.

Parenting Skills Are Important

Videos provided by Anthony Butler, Sr.
E3 Business Group

William Jackson, M.Ed.
Parent, Educator, Speaker
Blogger: My Quest To Teach
My Quest To Teach
Twitter: @WmJackson

Web Roll:
@Wmjackson, #AfAmEdChat, #BlackEdu, #BlackEducator, #BlackTwitter, #BlerdChat, #Blerds, #Blogging, #DuvalSchools, #E3CelebratesFathers, #AfAmEdSummit, #Educationrevival, #FloridaEducator, #HBCUNation, #ILoveJax, #Jax_Florida, #Jax_Florida @urbanjax @jaxlibrary @JaxBusinessNews ; @metroj, #SocialMedia, @AAMitchem, @CNN, @EducationFL, @EducationFL @MyFLFamilies, @EducatorsSpin, @FareedZakaria, @fatherhoodgov: @AfAmEducation, @FLBlogCon, @FLBlue, @floridachannel, @floridatheatre, @Hall4Students, @JacksonvilleMag, @JaxBusinessNews, @JaxDailyRecord, @jaxlibrary @JaxBusinessNews, @jaxlibrary @jax_just_in @JacksonvilleMag, @jax_just_in, @JDRFNorthFL, @metroj, @MrDavidJohns, @MyFLFamilies, @NaturallyMoi1, @NicheParent, @NPR, @SaveOurSchools #FlBlogCon, @sorority1908; #AKA1908; @advise1908; @StarJonesEsq; @akasorority1908 ; #BlackEdu, @StateImpactFl, @TeachForAll, @TeenHealthGov, @urbanjax, @vicmicolucci, @VISITFLORIDA_es, @Visit_Jax ; @VISITFLORIDA_es,

July 17, 2014

Fathers Please Read To Your Children

Fathers Read To Your Children

Summer time is the perfect opportunity for fathers to be actively
involved with their children promoting reading. Involvement does
not mean just joining summer sports programs, involved in swimming
lessons or other activities where there is limited connection of interactive
engagement or bonding between fathers and children.
Summer programs are important because they help to build qualities
in children that transfer to leadership, teamwork, cooperation, building
friendships, self-esteem, confidence and other important skill-sets that
children will need in life.

The engagements that I’m writing about are fathers sitting down with
their children and reading to them and children reading to their fathers.
The importance of one on one reading improves literacy and comprehension,
the ability to recognize words, building a rich vocabulary and the
self-confidence and self-respect to want to read more.

Pediatricians recently champion the importance of parents reading
aloud to their kids everyday if possible. Reading promotes literacy and
social-emotional skills that are important for growth and development
even in infants and toddlers. As I write this and remember how students
at my elementary school were excited about their fathers being involved
in school by volunteering and even reading in the classroom, the value
of fathers involvement cannot be understated. “Reading with young children
is a way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships and stimulate
early language development,” Dr. Pamela High, Pediatrician and professor
at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.

Early education in reading is important because adult literacy starts in
kindergarten and earlier. Just because a fathers child cannot read at
ages 3 they are developing a love for words, building comprehension,
listening, and imagination. Key tools that are found in the classrooms of
our nation. Early education programs are flourishing in school districts
like Duval County Public Schools. Parents cannot afford, not to enroll their
children in Pre-K or Early Learning programs because of increased
academic standards, educational benchmarks and assessments.
Fathers that read to their children increase their own reading abilities so
even fathers that do not have a strong foundation in reading can improve
their abilities as they create an environment of connectivity that is unique
to father and child. Fathers should understand that there is a difference
when you know you can read and when you think you can read. Children,
especially boys will initially struggle with reading, there is magic when
boys see their fathers reading and magic when fathers read to their children.
The stereotype that reading is nerdy, geeky, weak, feminine or other
degrading labels must stop, and fathers have the power to do this.

David O. McKay BYU’s School of Education “Dads Reading To Children”
states: “fathers reading to children is one of the very best ways to reverse
the academic ambivalence (doubt) we’re seeing in young boys.” Boys at
an early age will shy away from reading, but when faced with challenges
in reading in front of the class or reading to the teacher, when problems
arise they are quick to rebel and not participate. Fathers can prevent these
Fathers should not have anxiety nor apprehension about reading to their
children, this is not an overnight activity, but should be planned for a certain
amount of time either during the day or in the evening. Make this a magical
and important activity, the children will expect it and look forward to being
read to. Investigate subject areas, themes, story lines, relevant information
and importantly what is fun. Even comic books are fun to share and read.
Parents read to Children with reading links…..

Huffington Post Article

As fathers decide on stories consider how long the story will be, if it is a long
book or contains a lot of pictures think about spreading it over several days.
Determine your child’s attention span is important because each child is different,
their engagement or involvement is important, and the age. The older the child
the more they may want to ask questions, the older the child they may even
ask you father to ask them questions as my children did when they were
younger of me when I read to them. Importantly if reading to two or more
children, make sure they understand that this is not a competition for
attention or rewards, this is time to share time with daddy.

In this twenty-first century dads, step-dads and surrogate fathers are
reading to their children, this is not a new thing. The Center for Disease
Control studies that fathers consistently read to their children showed
that behavior is significantly improved in the children, academic growth is
shown, attention span improves and grades are higher because reading
is the foundation of all learning.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington State a Democrat has stated about
reading and literacy, “if students don’t have a strong foundation in reading
and writing, there is very little else we can do to help them succeed in the
modern world. Literacy needs to come first…..” Fathers should encourage
their children to excel in education, especially children of color that are
the most challenged. Challenges are not because children of color cannot
gain the skills of literacy, but because they are in to many cases distracted,
unmotivated or not exposed at home or in their communities.

Data shows the results of fathers being involved in their children’s lives,
there is more of an impact when “dad” is involved, stated on the web site,
Fatherhood Online; that is developed from the National Fatherhood Initiative.
“Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well
in school, have a healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior,
and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity
compared to children who have uninvolved fathers” (1994-2006).

Even fathers that are divorced or not married to the children’s mother
shows the importance of fathers. The overall performance of students in
school the data supports, (Peterson and Zill, 1986; Wallerstein and Kelly, 1980)
“continued contact to be related to improved psychological scores, fewer
behavioral problems, and better peer relationships” contribute to relatively
normal lives of children.

The foundation to keep students engaged and excited about learning
comes from HOME FIRST. A school year has 180 days, fathers
should need more than one hand to count how many times they
have visited their children in school, eaten lunch, spoken with teachers,
gone on field trips and volunteered. Even fathers that have been
incarcerated have rights to visit their children in school and be actively

Just because a father is in the criminal justice system from past mistakes,
associations, lack of employment and other non-violent cases they should
still be allowed to be involved in their children’s lives. Maybe the incentive
of fatherly involvement is what many fathers need to get on and stay on
the path of growth and societal emersion for success. Children can and do
change a fathers perspective on the priorities of life. Mothers are important
in this by promoting and guiding the relationship between fathers and their
children, not destroying or weakening this bond.
The reality is fathers are supposed to be the role models, mentors and
promoters of education and enlightenment for their children in intellectualism,
especially in children of color. Fathers are disappointments when at 5 or 6
years of age their children don’t know their whole names, cannot count to 20,
don’t know their colors, cannot read fundamental words; don’t know their
addresses, telephone numbers, what city, state, and country they live in.
Fathers are a disappointment when they are not involved in the education of
their children helping to raise the lives they created.
Fathers turn off the television, shut down the computer, put up the
gaming system. Unplug, disconnect, cut off, disengage, and sever the
connections of distractions. READ TO YOUR CHILDREN

Why fathers need to be involved in education of their children:
The Mis-Education of the Negro and Education of the Negro
(Carter G. Woodson) fathers are valuable and of value.

Reading Resources for Fathers
80 Books Every Man Should Read
Book List

Must Read Books for Men
Book List

Books of Black History
45 Books to Teach Children About Black History
Book List

100 Must Read Books for African Americans
Book List

50 Good Books Every Black Woman Should Read
Book List

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