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.

March 10, 2017

Teaching Our Youth To Be Cautious On Social Media

Teaching Our Youth To Be Cautious On Social Media
by William Jackson speaking at
The Bridge of Northeast Florida

Recent deaths by suicide on Social Media,
the use of drugs and alcohol
as glamorous and exciting, sexual exploitation,
Sexting, Cyberbullying, threats, intimidation and
the use of Social Media to make political threats
and accusations is sending the wrong message
to youth, teens and young adults.

The availability of learning experiences should never be denied to youth
and teens with technology. In the world of digital communication, diverse
Social Media platforms and tools, Apps that allow for instant access to
family and friends tech can be both good and bad. Technology influences
the So Lo Mo of life: So – social engagement of youth and teens,
Lo – access to local activities and events, Mo – mobile technologies that
move with youth and teens so they are always connected.

The Bridge of Northeast Florida (Cynthia Gibson) and William Jackson
(educator, trainer and speaker) have provided dedicated workshops
addressing Sexting, Bullying, Cyberbullying and STEM/STEAM
along with the value of HBCUs in higher education and career
development.
Even at the elementary and middle school age youth need to learn the
dangers of being online and giving out personal and even family information.
How people try to gain their friendship online, try to manipulate them
mentally and emotionally putting themselves and their families in dangerous
situations.

Sexting has consequences and that a wrong choice can follow them a
lifetime and ruin a career, building a family and even in this age of digital
commerce can have unforeseen influences with personal credit and entrance
into higher education, military service and stable employment.
Information never goes away and can cause legal problems even jail time
and labeling when involved in Sexting or child pornography. Parents need
to check their children’s phones from time to time, but many are too afraid
of the response from their children.
The plus side is understanding how positive and empowering STEM is and
influence life for children.

Science Technology Engineering and Math can be seen from the examples
of Hidden Figures and that there are local role models like Taylor Richardson
who are working to be NASA astronauts and travel to Mars and the stars.
Students during the discussion phase are unfortunately being told that Blacks
have never been into space and they are not “smart” enough to be involved
in high tech careers. Parents more than ever before need to talk to their
children about their career choices, the value of education and why/how
STEM can help them achieve their goals as adults.

Parents need to take their children to museums, libraries and cultural events
so their children are exposed to educational opportunities and services as
The Bridge offers to the community of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Bridge of Northeast Florida provides many services to prepare future
leaders that are children in our schools and communities now, preparing them
to lead in the future as current leaders age and retire.

Children of color and culture should be educated, mentored and see positive
role models as examples of what can be achieved. In The Bridge they
see these and more by presentations, speakers, role models and mentoring.
Children of color should know who the first Black woman and Black man where
to fly into space, who the other firsts of their cultures are and not be told that
Blacks have not accomplished great things in history. The truth is out there
and children can use technology to learn and grow from it, but they must be
given positive information. Community programs like The Bridge are needed
more because of the false information being feed to youth, teens and young
adults about their potential for success and being beneficial to their communities.
The chaos they sometimes see and hear either in real life or through the
media cannot be controlled, but with efforts by The Bridge and others
children can be guided, mentored and educated in the right way.

Resources:
The Bridge of Northeast Florida
http://www.bridgejax.com/
NASA Kids Club
https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html
Taylor Richardson
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-39060043
Hidden Figures No More – NPR
http://www.npr.org/2016/12/16/505569187/hidden-figures-no-more-meet-the-black-women-who-helped-send-america-to-space
How Black Women Did The Math
http://www.npr.org/2016/09/25/495179824/hidden-figures-how-black-women-did-the-math-that-put-men-on-the-moon
Seeing More Women of Color
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/09/octavia-spencer-people-of-colour-hidden-figures-diversity

March 6, 2017

HBCU Students Don’t Wait to Market Yourself

 

 

 

HBCU Students Don’t Wait to Market Yourself
by Pro. William Jackson
Educational Technology and Social Media
Edward Waters College @wmjackson

HBCU students in the 21st century cannot wait to market themselves
in a world of global commerce, digital Branding, intellectual sharing
and the vast Social Media sites that are building to get the word out
there about the talents, abilities and skills that HBCU students possess.

HBCU students still struggle and have faced more challenges in the past
8 years as HBCU institutions struggle to remain relevant, real and respiratory.
Even with the promises coming by the Trump administration there will
be strings attached, policies to follow, procedures to implement and even
expectations that need to be achieved.  This is not a handout, I hope it is
a help up for these historic institutions and if any money is provided
it is not mismanaged, lost in ill-advised policies nor “misplaced.”

Internal struggles have been a challenge at HBCUs either through faculty
stability, administration interaction with faculty and students or the
changes in generations of priorities. The retention and graduation of
students especially males is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

The debate about the relevancy of HBCUs continues, data shows that a
high percentage of Black educators that are successful and work in the
most challenging schools graduate from HBCUs and continue on to
earn their advanced degrees. HBCU students are involved in STEM
careers even before STEM and STEAM where aligned with
educational initiatives.

As a graduate of an HBCU South Carolina State University ’85 and an
instructor at Edward Waters College,  the oldest HBCU in Florida, the
struggle is real and in many cases is overcome with each victory of students
graduating and becoming gainfully employed.

Teaching Educational Technology and Social Media the challenge is
teaching students how to compete for jobs before graduation, how to
Brand, then Market to a world of global competition and even tougher
globalization. This blog is about why HBCU students should market
themselves before graduation, usually starting in their junior year to
network with and collaborate with the “right folks.” Instilling in students
that if you want to be an educator, hangout with educators, if you want
to be a lawyer network with attorneys, if you want to even be a gamer
then learn from, compete with and against, and importantly network
with other gamers.

The most dangerous thing that keeps HBCU students from gaining their
dreams and aspirations is being afraid to network, speak with, talk to and
exposed to the diversity that world has to offer. Talking to my students I
share that you will not lose whatever “Blackness” you have if you have a
diversity of friends, associates, networking groups that can empower,
motivate, engage and collaborate with.

These suggestions are designed to help
HBCU students get out of their mental
boxes and to be less introverted and
race conscious
of fear and self-imposed apprehension.

Suggestions to motivate and encourage
for students and educators:

1. Learn how to market yourself before you
search for jobs, before you graduate, either
at the start or before your junior year of
higher education, vocational school or even
the transition from military service to civilian life.
2. Marketing shows your worth, talents, abilities,
work ethic, leadership abilities, being able to
function in diverse environments, acceptance
and tolerance of diversity.
Learn what marketing is….
3. The ability to adapt to the diversity of cultures, technology, responsibility
and accountability for success and failures needs to be learned. That does
not mean babying students it means teaching students how to adapt their
biases, stereotypes that they may have and how to professionally deal with
potential situations and circumstances.
4. HBCU students must always see themselves as investments.
The more you grow and improve the better investment you are to yourself
and future employers.
5. Don’t wait until your senior  year to rush to create a dope or lit resume,
start the first year and build by creating a living document of accomplishments,
volunteerism, learning, leadership, community activism and collaboration.

As a professor in higher education and as a elementary teacher it hurts my
spirit when students state “why do I have to do that”, I don’t wanna be
bothered with those people.” My response is, “do the right people know you
in the career you want or just those that do not want to see you grow beyond
them?”

6. Show yourself as well rounded; the combination of academics, job-training,
extra-curricular activities, volunteerism, all need to show your contribution to
things bigger than you are. Are you a part of something bigger than you?
7. Look at the world globally not just locally. Jacksonville, Florida is the largest
city in the USA by land mass. Students are encouraged in my class to have a
global perspective of the world. The smallest global event in their major can
have major implications on employment and involved in global markets.
8. Believe that your major course of study will have national and
potentially international influence as  you grow and take on more responsibility.
The road to leadership is driven not by money, but by willing to work hard to
make a difference in the world.
9. Learn to be familiar with foreign languages.  Dedicate yourself that you will
learn a new language especially one where you may have to use when traveling.
HBCU students can be heard talking that someday I want to, I might, maybe if.
They want to travel overseas, they do not take the time to plan, execute the plan
or even save to meet the plan. You have to start with a plan!!!
10. HBCU students network with cultural groups and participate in community
events like festivals and networking socials. Never assume that there is already
someone at an event that knows what you know. You have a wealth of inform-
ation that no one else knows.
11. It is important for HBCU students to learn how to integrate Social Media
tools and platforms beyond joking with their friends, booty calls, partying,
clubbing and acting a fool. This multi-functional, diversely dynamic platforms
can allow for communication with employers around the world. These
platforms can help start a career or end a career before it gets started.
12. Being technology savvy is important and just as importantly is how to
apply that knowledge. Use your knowledge to be involved in community
initiatives that build communities, that bring people together and open doors
for collaboration.
13. Have a reliable list of resources to help you grow.
The library services at Edward Waters College has one of the best resources
in its library staff. Emma Kent is a knowledgeable and dedicated professional
that embraces technology. Accentuating the services the library at Edward
Waters College offers. Too many students at HBCUs do not take the time
to get to know their library professionals that have a wealth of information
waiting to share and becoming friends with them. One of the best moves
for me was to be friends with the librarians, custodial staff, be nice to
the cafeteria man and women and secretaries. They became my “extra”
parents with prayers, advice and even extra food on my meal trays!!
14. HBCU students must adapt their thinking as they matriculate through the
years. Their ideas, opinions, skills, networks must change. This change should
be seen in their attire, their speech and self-confidence. Being a lifelong
learner brings benefits that will be seen in the future not just in the present.
15. Applying to both males and females, your visual personality is just as
important as your e-personality and e-reputation. Make the conscious effort
to protect yourself in the direction of your career goals and dreams.
16. During your growth take advantage of tutoring and learning outside of
academics. Attend tutoring for interview skills, cultural understanding, career
counseling, and even role playing directed at your career interests.
The more prepared you are the better prepared you are.
Obtain a mentor, someone that has life experiences, and sees your potential
that you do not. Someone that sees you as an investment to a better
future and learn from them.

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