My Quest To Teach

March 17, 2017

The Hidden Magic In Children of Color

The Hidden Magic In Children of Color
by William Jackson and Breyonna Fox
#MyQuestToTeach

 

Inspired by the movie Hidden Figures and the book
by Margot Lee Shetterly
How many girls of color are super smart in mathematics,
how many want to be engineers, how many girls of color
want to be doctors and lawyers, scientists and pilots?

How many want to be vetrienarians and writers like Breyanna
Fox a sophmore attending High School in Jacksonville,
Florida, she is interning with My Quest To Teach writing
blogs that are read nationally and Taylor Richardson of
Bolles Middle School, her dreams to be an astronaut
traveling to Mars and exploring the Red Planet. How many
want to be like Angie Nixon’s daughter Natalie creating
a national following with The Adventures of Moxie McGriff
http://moxiemcgriff.com/

Mayor Brown and Natalie

 

How many boys of color love to read and how many enjoy
building with Legos and other materials that would make
them the next architects and designers of our national
infrastructure for roads and buildings. Young men like
Elisha Taylor an 8th grade students that loves robotics,
reading and has spoken at conferences, TEDxFSCJ and
attending WordCamps and EdCamps in Florida
https://myquesttoteach.wordpress.com/elisha-taylor/

 

elisha-at-tedx-salon

Young men such as Jon Gregory of Edward Waters College
studying to be an elementary education teacher working
with TEAM UP in Jacksonville, Florida.
He has spoken at TEDxFSCJ, EdCamp NASBE and attended
WordPress and WordCamp events. One of the first to
speak at the Edward Waters TIGER TALKS Experience.

Each of these dynamic and success driven visionaries
are embracing their talents as smart creatives and
innovators for the future. How many boys and girls of
color will be able to design future space ships that
will take astronauts beyond Mars and to the stars?
These are dreams that many do have. There is Hidden
Magic in children of color and culture that
needs to be cultivated and encouraged.

jon-gregory-tedx-salon

The movie Hidden Figures has sparked a renewed interest
in the need for girls and women to enter into STEM
careers, it is a call for boys and men also to get
involved in STEM and STEAM that allows the imagination
to know no limitations. Girls and women shatter glass
ceilings, boys and men demolishing walls that keep them
out of innovative and historic careers with tech.

There was a time as seen in the movie Hidden Figures
where Black girls and boys were honored as scholars
and intellectuals, what has happened in the 21st
century? There are too many that are scared to read
books in public, too many that will be bullied because
they love math and science.
The question WHY is a question that needs to be answered!!
Not just in schools, but in homes where parents are the
first educators. How can kids bring guns to school, but
struggle to bring books to and from school?

Why are our Black girls and boys that can be honor
students scared to be academically successful? What has
happened since the days when Blacks had to secretely learn
how to read using the Bible that was hidden away. That
was a “hidden treasure” because it was the tool that Blacks
used to start the educational process that even continues
today. HBCUs had to struggle to teach not because of money,
but because society did not think Blacks were smart enough
to be anything other than field workers, hired hands and
property.

These stories are not science fiction, but science fact
how Blacks have influenced a time in national history.
“If Not for Them” there may have not been a journey to
the moon or if there had been, it may have cost more
human lives. Look at the facts that Blacks helped put a
man in space, Blacks helped put a man on the moon and
Blacks continue to do this.

HBCUs have contributed to thousands of #HiddenFigures
that are still unknown and their contributions are
historical in the benefits we enjoy today. Parents
and teachers need to work together to create cultures
of learning not just for school learning, but for the
betterment of our cultures and societies. It is because
of the diversity that America has that is why this
nation is still the best place in the world to live
because we enjoy freedoms that our constitution allows
for everyone.

February 6, 2017

My Hidden Figures Reflection

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Taylor and students from Venetia Elementary and Lee High School

My Hidden Figures Reflection
By: Breyonna Fox,
Blogging Intern with My Quest To Teach
Jacksonville, Florida
My first thought when I finished watching Hidden
Figures was, “Wow, they actually did all of those
things, like they accomplished their goals.” I thought
this was very inspirational, because back then it was
very hard for other races besides Caucasians, to do
the things they wanted and love. In the movie there
is a part when Mary Jackson’s husband even doubts
her accomplishing her dreams, showing how
un-motivated people were and how many dreams
were simply crushed and forgotten.

Then there was Dorothy Vaughn who wanted to be
a supervisor for her group of women who are highly
skilled with computers. She wanted to move on with
her dreams when she realized Katherine and Mary
was moving up with theirs. NASA wouldn’t make
her a supervisor though, she worked hard and even
acted like a supervisor to her group of woman. Then
one day she got a huge offer, but she would only do
it if her girls were with her as well. So they allowed it.
She finally became a supervisor. She is the first
African American woman to supervise a staff
at the West Area Computers Division. Another part
in the movie shows when she took her sons to the
library to get some books to help her out with work,
they ended up getting kicked out, just because
Dorothy needed the book, but the library was whites’
only.

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It was upsetting to see how she couldn’t check
out the book and then the security guard pushed
her sons out as well. Then when she got on the
bus she still had the book on her and when her
sons asked why and she said she pays taxes
and those taxes help the library out. I know
Dorothy is a very witty and strong person. She
stayed determined in what she believed in and
knew she could accomplish her goals, she didn’t
leave her girls and moved them up with her.

Mary Jackson, wanted to become an engineer,
in the beginning she had doubts about it. She
was talking about it with her co-worker and she
said how impossible it felt, her co-workers told
her she could do it, because they were already
doing the impossible. I thought about what she
said and how she had hope that Mary could
accomplish her goals. It showed me even when
things feel impossible, they aren’t. She even
went to court to fight for what she wanted and
got night classes at University, an all-white
school! That was amazing. I really loved that part,
because that filled so much hope in Mary and
made her believe more in herself that she could
accomplish a lot more things after that, Mary
Jackson became the first female African
American NASA engineer. Mary is a sassy, brave
and determined for what she fights for.
Last, but not least was Katherine Goble,
she was strongly skilled in mathematics and
had an analytical mind. She got a new assignment
by Al Harrison, so she had to move to a new
part of the company.

When she was getting escorted, the woman told her,
“you will be the first black person here. Don’t make
me regret choosing you. Most people only last a few
days, so don’t get used to it.” Then when Katherine
entered everyone stared at her. Her co-workers were
rude towards her as well. She went to grab some
coffee and everyone was staring at her. She
immediately felt uncomfortable and sat down and
sipped her coffee slowly. After that incident they
got a second coffee maker and it said “colored”,
she went to use it, it was empty, sending a message.

This showed me how even though Katherine
accomplished her goals, there will always be people
trying to bring her down. Then she got upset and
explained to Harrison how rude everyone was acting
towards her and how she never got pearls and how
no one wants to use the same coffee maker as her,
since earlier she was always in the bathroom and he
would ask where she went. Then the next day he
tore down the “whites only” bathroom and the
“colored” signs and he said, “no whites or colored,
we’re all the same here.” That showed me how
Al Harrison really cared about Katherine as an
employee and he didn’t care about skin color.

Then when Katherine got engaged, her co-workers
got her a pearl necklace, which was Harrison’s ideas
too, which she wore to her wedding. Then later on in
the movie, when John Glenn was going to orbit
around earth, he said he only trusted Katherine with
her calculations and with his safety, he knew she
was brilliant and he only trusted her not the computer
machine. He was right too, he had trouble up in space,
but he got back safe.

Katherine played a huge roll in John Glenn’s journey
and Apollo space program landing a man on the moon.
In 2015, Katherine received National Medal of Freedom
from President Obama.

breyonna-fox
Breyonna Fox, blogger

This movie showed me that anything you set your mind
to you can accomplish. You just have to stay determined
and full of courage. This movie is very inspiring and
does prove to other women and girls they can do things
even when they feel it’s out of their reach.
Edited by Prof. William Jackson  #MyQuestToTeach

Resources dedicated to women
TEDxFSCJ Salon: Lift as We Climb:
Women Race and Politics
Thursday, February 16, 2017
6:00pm – 8:00pm
FSCJ – Downton Campus
Auditorium A-1068
http://www.tedxfscj.com/events/

Real Talk Real Change
We Are Women Hear Us More..
Thursday, February 16, 2017
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Riverside North – 2711 Edison Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida
rtrc20viii20-20fb20cover20-20320sponsors_0

February 5, 2017

Who Writes Your Life Story HBCU Students?

Who Writes Your Life Story HBCU Students?
by Professor William Jackson
@wmjackson #MyQuestToTeach

Using the TEDx presentation to
encourage all HBCU students to live up
to their expectations and not to listen
to the stereotypes of others based on
color, gender and social-economic background.
Who writes your life story? | Hill Krishnan | TEDxCalPoly
https://youtu.be/OscDpHfrtog

Each HBCU student has a story to tell, an adventure
or a situation that allows each of us to share our
travels in a world of continuous change and adaptation.
The human spirit is sometimes defined by the actions and
in actions we take as we make the journey into and through
the challenges, chaos, confusion, storms and welcoming
calmness that we experience during the time we are on this
plane of life.
Students in my Educational Technology class are required
to manage a traditional blog, writing for several weeks
about their talents, passions, goals, likes and challenges.
Just as other classes for the past 4 years that have taken
Educational Technology, Social Media and STEM at Edward
Waters College. Those that are in the Department of
Education and Urban Studies are required to take this class,
but more and more students in other disciplines are seeing
the value of writing for their life.
Encouraging students to write can be challenging because
you have to show the reasons why they should do this and
how it can benefit them.
There needs to be tangible and connecting situations and
circumstances to show that writing can increase networking,
create a positive digital footprint and show the potential to
increase visibility in the job market and potential financial
benefits.

use

Attending an HBCU there are benefits and some potential things
that can hold a person back. The term HBCU is not always
beneficial in the white corporate world because it may be
perceived as unskilled, ill-prepared, lower educational
achievement, minority, ghetto, inner-city and slow. These may
be some of the perceptions carried by labels and assumptions.
Labels can deny access to equitable educational access and even
the mental stereotypes that can affect performance in the classroom.
I share with my students to never let someone else’s expectations
define their life and their successes.
As a father of two college age young adults I have seen how low
expectations of teachers, friends and even the community affect
the self perceptions of children. When my children were in
elementary and middle I constantly encouraged them to read, to
think for themselves and not like the crowd, I took my kids to
conferences, workshops and other events that offered
exposure and learning. Why more Black families do not do this
there are many excuses.
Understanding diversity was important because my children had
to understand that this world, this nation is diverse and they
had to be able to cope with the integration and collaboration
of races. To many times people said I was raising my children like
they were white, but in actuality I was raising them to live in a
white world where mental toughness was necessary, having dreams,
goals and a mission in life made living valuable and being Black was
an asset not collateral damage.
Parents must always build up their children even if there are
challenges to their mental abilities, children can overcome and
compensate for many challenges if the parents do not have lower
expectations for success. Speak and breath life and a love for
learning. This is where to many African American families fall
short, living under the expectations of others that see them
as second class citizens, as potential criminals, welfare
recipients and even kids being in ESE and EBD classes not
Gifted and Talented classes.
The parent is the first educator and creates a foundation for
growth and development for a life-time. Parents create the
mental foundation for how their child will stand and deliver
energies that motivate and expand success or accept the mode of
below average living and relying on governmental
assistance.

HBCUs have a history of overcoming challenges and even
atrocities that are thrown at them because of the strong will
for success and rising like the Phoenix. If the parent assumes
their child cannot read past a certain level and mental comprehension
they deny their child the gifts of literature, reading, exposure
and even interactions that can open mental doors to expand the
horizons to be better then they currently are.
In my class I use TEDx Talks to show the similarities of cultural
and generational experiences to help students to understand
they do not have to live by others expectations and stereotypes.
They have options to experience and manage their life to be what
they want it to be by embracing learning and exposure to
new things in life.
Using a platform of blogging to step out away from the limitations
of people placed because they only only see color, zip codes or
area codes, student writing can take them globally any where in the
world because they can adapt their writing to embrace not just
the diversity of people, but the diversity of thought,
rationalization and the emotional connections that bring about
unity and respect.
Who writes your life story? | Hill Krishnan | TEDxCalPoly
https://youtu.be/OscDpHfrtog
Is a way for students at HBCUs to share in a story of
mental and emotional neglect and abuse. Even through
the hell of low expectations HBCU students can rise
to new heights and accomplish unbelieveable success.
HBCU students start to write your own story, never
allow anyone else to write your story, to cast you
into a category and try to keep you there.
It is a choice, a decision that you make.
Choose wisely what direction you will go, by your
decisions or by the decisions of others that only see
you based on ignorance, racism, prejudice and hate.
Listening to “Who writes your life story?” |
Hill Krishnan | TEDxCalPoly is a way to break free
of the pain and limitations of others.

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Resources:
Who Writes Your Life Story?
Hill Krishnan | TEDxCalPoly
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OscDpHfrtog&t=424s

Real Talk Real Change by E3 Business Group
RTRC VIII: “We Are Women, Hear Us More!!”
https://eventium.io/events/1036938196421735/real-talk-real-change-viii

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