My Quest To Teach

July 27, 2016

If You Think School Is Hard In America

If You Think School Is Hard In America
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
Edward Waters College

The process of education is an evolving process
of continuous change, modification, and adaptation.
Rigor, differentiation, literacy, comprehension,
assessments and other terms that are used in the
process of educating children from birth to higher
education and beyond. Educators and parents
can become overwhelmed and confused in this
process of education as curriculum’s change.

This blog is influenced by the recent national
discussion on the need for an educated society
and how children are influenced and encouraged
to learn in the classrooms of this nation and
the application of STEM STEAM STREAM.

I wanted to reference the education of students
globally and the educational support of parents
of color and culture nationwide in America.
Parents need to accept their responsibility for the
educational success of their children and to be
involved with the educational process especially
reading and math.
This is NOT to say parents are not involved,
this is in reference to those that make excuses
for not attending parent/teacher conferences,
eating lunch at least once in the school year with
their kids and will not return teacher phone calls
or notes for parental support with disruptive and
struggling students.

Teachers need parental support and parents
need to be actively involved in schools from Pre-K
to High School. As another school year starts thus
the fashion extravaganza will begin. Everyone
wants to look good the first week, but what of
the 175 remaining days of academic rigor and work?

This nation provides a FREE education, supported
by tax dollars. There have been educational
think-tanks, educational committees, and focus
groups that assess and monitor how students are
educated. The universal ideology is that education
is important to the economic welfare of the
people of the United States of America no
matter the color or culture. All children need to
be educated to survive.
“This country needs an educated workforce
to compete globally.” Diverse Education

One important fact that cannot be ruled out,
eliminated or downplayed is that in this country
education is important. Nowhere else in the world is
there an educational system like the United
States of America. The foundation is based
on parents being the “First Educator” for their
children. The importance of parents is stated as:
“Parenting involves taking responsibility seriously,
taking advantage of every opportunity to enhance
children’s learning, and providing children with
challenges that contribute to growth and development.”
Parents As First Teachers, Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D.

Parental responsibility is to teach basic
foundational skills and reinforce these with
children before they start school. As an
educator of over 20 years and Teacher of the
Year in my district, I want to share
with parents that interaction with children
and the experiences that are provided can
guide children’s growth and development.

Children should be taken to the library
to build respect in the empowerment of
reading and literacy, they will appreciate
reading when they see their parents excited
about reading.
Children taken to the museum they will
appreciate culture, diversity and historical
connections that they are part of a global
community of humanity.  Children taken
to science centers they will appreciate
science and technology, understand why
STEM and STEAM are valuable to them.

There is work that needs to be done to
educate children and it starts at home. No
matter the educational level of parents, all
parents want the best for their children, but
sometimes need guidance and help.

Part 2 Next

Scholarships to continue education.
Ashley Hill
Twitter @prepforcollege
Host of #CollegeChat

Black Male Achievement$S8AAAAAANr/

GetConnectDad – @GetConnectDad – #GetConnectDAD

Parents As First Teachers

July 20, 2016

Call Me Mister: A Brighter Future for Male Teachers

Call Me Mister: A Brighter Future for Male Teachers
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
Edward Waters College
Call Me Mister Instructor and Advisor
“Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!!”

Video via
William Jackson

If the embed does not work
here is the link to the video.
Call Me Mister


June 25, 2016

What I Learned from Vincent Taylor About Student Engagement

What I Learned from Vincent Taylor About Student Engagement
by William Jackson, M.Ed.


Attending the recent Literacy Expo with Duval County Public
Schools presented talented educators, administrators,
authors and even students that are nationally recognized
authors and speakers. These included Moxie Girl (Natalie
McGriff and Angie Nixon), Cornbread (Vincent Taylor),
Moving to Music (Shawn Brown), and nationally/internationally
known pilot Barrington Irving provided a moving and engaging
presentation about his success as the first African American
young man to fly solo around the world.

Mr. Vincent Taylor, author, educator, parent, husband and
community influencer provided an interactive learning
experience that involved music, motion and
multiple instructional educational elements
that provided teachers with best practice strategies
to move students toward engagement in reading and
importantly comprehension.


Mr. Taylor’s presentation at the Duval County Public
Schools Literacy Expo provided a platform
provided wonderful professional development strategies
that teachers could directly apply
instructional curriculum’s. Mr. Taylor a seasoned
educator and passionate about his career leading students
to love reading from diverse backgrounds, his presentation
centered on student engagement; what it is, how to create
a classroom atmosphere of learning, the importance of
engaging students with diversity and disability.
The creator of the award winning literacy series


Mr. Taylor danced with the attending teachers, sang
with them and demonstrated the empowerment
of integrating music to not only provide a fun
learning platform, but showing how music can
make learning relevant and vibrant.

The Duval County Public Schools Literacy Expo 2016
“Building Resilience to Illuminate Determination
Grit and Excellence,” brought in educators, vendors,
and even students like “MoxieGirl” Natalie McGriff
and her awesome mother Angie Nixon
“The Adventures of Moxie Girl” comic book soon
to be an animated series.


“If instruction isn’t Engaging I Quit”
in the minds of students, teachers need to
engage the minds of their students before instruction
begins. Students must see the relevancy and how
to apply what they are learning to their world.
Vincent Taylor –

“What I Learned from Vincent Taylor About
Student Engagement”

The process of building student engagement…..
1. First Introduce yourself to your students
“What’s Your Name?”
“What is your favorite book?”
*Get to know your students and have them
introduce themselves to the class and what great
qualities they have. “What are you good at?”
*Explore various strategies for engaging students
during instruction during the school year.”
*Keep instruction engaging and relevant so
students can make necessary connections.

2.”What is Student Engagement?
*be able to define your instructional terms
*do you and your principals definition align
with each other?
*Does your mission and vision statements
for your school apply students
engagement in any way? Should it???
* Is there an engagement process for your students?
*Do your students see themselves in the instruction?
*Can your students apply their learning to their
situations or do they need to be taught this?
* Replies from the audience participation
Authentic Inquiry – The students have a point of
view, they should be active and have a vested
interest in what is being taught.

3. Keeping kids from mentally checking out of school.
*If your students are not engaged they will mentally
checkout and potentially create classroom management
*Integrate real world application for each
lesson to show connections for students.
*Occasionally have students manage the instruction
and ask leading questions.

4. Are We communicating with technology?
*In this digital age there is more to integration, what
about implementation, application and relevancy to
*Apply technology to encourage interaction
and application of new skills and knowledge.
*Apply reading by using real books for each student
and supplement instruction using YouTube videos and
or music.

5. Ways to Engage Students using Music
*Music – integrating music in your instruction
that connects the student to the learning.
*Students love music and can relate to it.
*Use different musical genres.
*Music “takes you to different places emotionally
and mentally”
*Ask students where music takes them.

6. Applying Rhythmic Reading
*learn how to apply rhythmic reading and
applying to lessons.

7. Using students to demonstrate lessons
to reinforce learning creates leaders and
reduces apprehension and fear of participating
in lessons.
*student centered learning, hands on application
and building student to student relationships.
Present resources like “The Adventures of Moxie Girl”
so students can see and read about similar issues
to build self awareness and self recognition.
*Cornbread series and the diversity of writing

8. Idioms = do you apply them in your teaching
to bring relevancy to learning.
*Idioms are applied in songs that the kids listen to.
*Using music to teach word recognition and comprehension.

9. Applying movement encourages interactive learning
by students.
*Today’s students are not static learners, they are
engaged in the learning environment.
* Students have an active part in the learning and
help drive instruction.
*Today’s students need engagement, to be involved
and contribute to the learning.

10. Music encourages the connection to learning and
retention of information.
*using music students “carry” the lessons longer
and can make mental adaptions to apply for future

11. Music applies “rhythmic reading”
music allows reading to be fun and engaging
*Listen to the lyrics of words in songs, how
many times are they repeated and certain
words or phrases emphasized. Students can
“feel” the beat and make the connections with
words, phrases and sentences.

12. Teaching students the “Topic,” “Main Idea”
“Supporting Details” can be done by music.
*Vincent is an experienced educator that applies
these strategies successfully.

13. The importance of “Storytelling”
*How to teach students to be storytellers should
be engaging.
*Children should be taught that their stories
are valuable and are always a work in progress.
*Use Natalie McGriff as a role model for young
*Teachers provide students opportunities to hear
stories to “apply to concepts they can relate to.”

14. What are we as teachers doing to ensure that
they (students) are engaged in the instruction?
*Telling students to listen does not work you have
to involve students and model behaviors.
*Involving students works better than lecturing them.
*Teaching application and implementation is great
and applying is better.


15. Students should see that learning is relevant
to “today,” and applicable to the future.
*Preparing students to be life-long learners

16. Every lesson should be able to be applied to
some real world lesson.
*Students that “dropout” feel un-engaged
and do not have real life connections.

19. Enthusiasm for the lesson should be seen,
heard and felt.
*Teachers must put out there that the lessons
are enthusiastic.
*Interactivity is a prerequisite to learning and
retention of lessons.

20. Teachers need to “monitor engagement”
of their students.
*If teachers don’t understand their students level
of engagement and how to engage them, then
teachers will be ineffective communicators.
*Communication leads to relationship building.
*Teachers have a responsibility to establish a
respectful and positive relationship with
their students.

21. The diversity of classrooms demand that teachers
must be “culturally responsive.”
*Lessons must be inclusive to involve
those of color and culture.
*Teachers must engage students with disabilities.

22. Teachers must engage their students with disabilities
to involve them in the learning that is happening.
*Literature is a good way to apply the diversity of
color and culture, gender, and diversity of disabilities.
*What books look like your students.
*The reading library should be diverse enough to bring
curiosity, questioning, application to real world
experiences and fun.

23. Diversify your traditional libraries and
your video libraries.
*Video is a great way to start conversations
and show relevancy with your students.
*Video can lead students to be “smart creatives,”
and developing “thought leaders.”

24. Learning how to apply standards to lessons.
*All lessons should be able to apply standards
to them

25. Students should want to be engaged in
their teachers lessons no matter the subject.
*One of the toughest parts of being a
professional educator is engagement
with your students.
*This should be a priority to make
connections with your students.


Cornbread Series of Books

On treadmill with Cornbread

Main Topic with Vincent Taylor

Kids Meet Cornbread

Facebook for Cornbread

Photos of Vincent Taylor Presentation

June 16, 2016

A Spiritual Guide for Fathers Raising Children Part II

A Spiritual Guide for Fathers Raising Children Part II


In the spirit of fatherhood, unity and solidarity for parenting,
suggestions  for fathers to be better fathers.

1. Fathers, as children grow they become less dependent
on parents, starting to make decisions for themselves,
men/fathers must stay active as models and advisors.
Often just listening and being patient providing support
and encouragement is what children need as they mature.

2. Fathers, during adolescence and teen years there is a
minimal tendency to ask parents for their opinions, it is
important to ask questions and openly communicate
not criticize. Fathers are prone to be impatient, learn
to wait and guide talks not force them.

3. Fathers, be direct with your decisions and be Fair,
a “No” means “No”. You send conflicting signals when
you change your mind and don’t backup your words
with loving and consistent direction and decisions.

4. Fathers , teens speak in different languages,
don’t be surprised to hear, “Everyone else is doing it”
or “There parents are cool” or “I wish you were like
such and such parents”. Fathers should not be angry
with their children, remember they just want their
way just like we did at their age or still do now.
Learn your children’s language so you can
communicate better.

5. Fathers, parents must stand united. Not trying
to be your children’s friend. Don’t let your child
pit you and your spouse or girl-friend, partner
against each other.
Always be in accord with your children’s decisions.
It is harder for step-parents and those not married,
both need to work hard to keep peace and unity.
Communication is important, it is not about
winning, it is about solidarity and
what is best for the children.

6. Fathers, don’t argue with your children. You
are the parent, the adult, not their equal or
their peer. Remember who is in accountable.
Fathers must at times be firm and unmovable
in their decisions, but show love and wisdom
in their decisions.

7. Fathers, try to initiate a discussion and not
interrogate, use opportunities to talk about
everyday things, how was their school day,
how are their friends, what has
been on their minds. Being proactive is better
than reactive.

8. Fathers should be positive, think positive
and reinforce good behavior and always be in
prayer. Setting realistic and positive expectations
for their children and helping them to make
good decisions.

9. Fathers, remember we all make mistakes.
Children learn by their experiences and
mistakes. Fathers at times need to “tell stories”
to relate information.
Bill Cosby was very effective in doing this.
Men can guide and make suggestions
or provide solutions through stories. Jesus
used parables and our elders
told stories that share ideas and explain relationships.

10. Fathers should not be scared to admit
they make mistakes and apologize for them.
If you want your sons to “man up” you need
to “man up” too.

11. Mothers sometimes need to back off if they
want the father to be consistent.
Remember a nagging woman can kill a spirit
and create dissension in the spirit
of the man and their sons. Nothing spoils trust
faster than embarrassing or going
against a fathers decisions or criticizing the
father in front of the children.

12. Fathers should Pray and not Faint. Have a
mentor that is in-line with God’s Word.
Your mentor does not have to agree with you
all the time, they should be honest all the time.

13. Fathers, attend Church, Bible Study, Prayer
Breakfasts, etc. as a family or
with dad. There are many churches that invite
dads and their children. Fathers
take advantage of this and get involved.

14. Fathers,, have family time at least once a week.

15. Mothers need to pray for their children’s
father even if they are not in the home.
A praying mother is powerful and purposeful
in strengthening her family and
creating calm and peace. A woman that has
a serpents tongue creates chaos,
confusion and division. .

16. Fathers be patient and discipline with
love not anger. Remember how you
were at your children’s and guide your
discipline with peaceful wisdom,
.calm demeanor and a listening ear.


William Jackson, M.Ed. can be reached at the
following email address:     on Twitter @wmjackson

Fatherhood Inspirational Video via @wmjackson #MyQuestToTeach

GetConnectedDad online resources

Great resource for fathers online

National Fatherhood Initiative
Twitter @thefatherfactor

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