The Joy of Teaching

Teaching is a calling. It is not your typical 9 to 5. There are many thankless days and nights. You have to take work home. Sometimes you sacrifice other activities just to make sure your lesson, unit, or whatever is just perfect. Whether it’s your first, fifth or 25th year, the call doesn’t change. You just get another year with a different set of faces to work on for the next 180 days. Some days are super dooper easy and awesome and then other days make you want to pull out your hair and question everything you know to be true about yourself and your gift!! On the easy days, teaching is sweet and you are full of the joy that propelled you into this career path to start with. On those hard days though …. I’ll speak for myself and be completely transparent and say on the hard days, I made it a point to outwardly say “This is for the birds. I’m applying to go work for the government and be done with this!!!!!” After I’ve had my tantrum, I sit down and take a moment to remember why I started teaching to start with. 

Recently, I had to take my lesson to the whiteboard. Imagine the “horror” the technology teacher with technology woes and no PowerPoint presentation for my computer science class. The computer science teacher is handwriting notes really?? Yes really and you know what?? It was awesome!!!!!!!! And actually quite freeing to be honest. It was something that I didn’t even realize that I’d missed. One of the first exciting things that I realized upon being hired as a teacher was that I finally got a chance to write on the chalkboard! Seriously. I was soooo overjoyed that I got to write on and wash chalkboards and then put up everything for the next day. It gave me a chance to be sure that I was prepared and because I spent so much time writing things just perfectly and making sure I knew my content hands down and without stutter. In the world of PowerPoint, while convenient sometimes I lose that element. I don’t connect the same way with typing as I do with standing in the front of the board with chalk, well now marker in hand (does anybody use chalk anymore??), and writing. Now some of it could be because I like to write in general, hence the blog, but it’s always been something for me to write anything. Notes are my life I have them for everything! (That’s a topic for another day)

I shared my little story to remind you as we’re going along on this journey of teaching, to take some time to go back to your why! Why did you begin this journey? What’s your simple joy? The one thing that catches you from time to time but makes you smile from year to year and makes you feel completely empowered by what you do? Find it, hold on to it, ride the wave of it and when it fades then find a new thing. As long as you can always find your happy moments, the bad moments, even the most horrible ones will never outweigh the positivity that you feel from one small thing. Now, if it does, then maybe it’s time to do some soul searching on a different level. On this day  full of hyper children who have already started consuming or anticipating the consumption mass amounts of junk and candy and on tomorrow when you’re dealing with the aftermath of obtaining all of the candy, find a quiet moment to remember your why or your small thing and I promise you, you’ll feel better. 

Hot then Cold ….

So clearly Katie Perry was in a relationship with a narcissist, at the very least someone with some sort of emotional disorder. Like most people, I used to sing the song as fun. It’s catchy and it has a nice beat, it’s been in the Chipmunks movie, cool deal right? One day recently, it came to mind and I really paid attention to the words and then thought about the current issues of life. This song describes life with a narcissist. One minute they love you and life is all about you, the next you are the worst thing ever and they are moving on to their next relationship and you, well you’re stuck wondering what in the world, or whatever other colorful word you chose to replace word with, is going on.

As I mentioned in other posts, I’m a newlywed. I should really still be in the honeymoon phase of life but the reality is that I am not. I want to be, but it’s not happening. Fairly early in our new marriage my husband began doing some weird things and nothing I did was ever enough. In any regard, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the home and the children, doing the finances, our “alone” time, nothing was enough. I had no clue what was going on. I thought I was being a really horrible wife. At the time when things started to heighten, I signed up for challenge sponsored by a Facebook group called Married & Young called the Pray for Your Future Spouse Challenge. However, already being married, I participated any way because your spouse is apart of your future. Also around that time, I discovered the Wife Academy, a program sponsored by Jerry and Tanisha Flowers teaching wife-hood from a Biblical view and giving guidance. So I prayed and the more I learned from the Wife Academy, the more it seemed like it wasn’t working, so I kept praying and asked God what was I missing, what am I not seeing? Little by little God began to answer me. I’m a reader and avid YouTube watcher, mostly of various sermons and preachers I like to listen to, one day one popped up by RC Blakes about the narcissist. I’d never thought of this before, I just thought my husband was completely spoiled and irrational. As I listened to the video, I heard way too many similarities to what I was going through. From hearing his video I turned to Psychology Today and began reading, page after page, article after article.

I don’t proclaim to be a specialist, counselor or any of that, (although my next degree path and career move is to become a licensed counselor and doctor), but I do want to help other women become aware of what may be going in their marriages or relationships. Knowledge is power is any situation. There were a few signs that I didn’t know were actually his narcissism showing long before we ever got married and I’m going to list them here. It’s not all inclusive but they’re pretty standard to everything that I’ve read and/or heard.

  1. They experienced some type of rejection/extreme hardship during childhood. These can include rejection from a parent, incarceration of a parent, a shift in parental roles, (i.e. the father should be the protector of the home but he doesn’t so the mother assumes the role), a history of violence in the family, and the addiction of a parent to alcohol or some other substance.
  2. Extreme mama’s boys. Now many of us have either experienced them or if we are mothers of boys trying to stop them from becoming one. The reality is that every boy will be a mama’s boy to a degree because they need the nurturing. But I am speaking of extreme instances. So in most wedding ceremonies, there is what I call the “leave to cleave” clause. The man should leave his people, the woman leaves her people and they join. Well in narcissistic men, they keep mom 1st and in most cases she allows it. (The reason is a whole new topic, I’ll share later)
  3. He talks big with no results. This one would take a while to see. I’m an empath and a planner. If you tell me you want to do something then I will believe the best for you and help you achieve it. They talk the talk, but in some cases, don’t or won’t walk the walk to achievement.
  4. They are really self-absorbed and when complimented most times don’t say thank you. Everything is about them. They are so great, in their minds, they should be complemented and celebrated all the time. This one is actually exhausting to live with.
  5. Being with them is like being with a real life Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Again this is exhausting because you never know who you’re going to get and why. You can do something that you think is a huge help to him or the relationship or the home and the next thing you know a war has broken out. My husband had an all-out break down over a breakfast choice and continued the rant in a counseling session.

The list is not to scare you or have you looking at your mate sideways and it’s not even exhaustive, but if you see any of these things on a regular basis it may be cause for a concern. Within myself, I just started feeling like something is not right. In general, I’m a very confident person, I’m accomplished to a degree, I don’t have poor self-esteem, (matter of fact if you’ve seen Daria, my favorite line “I don’t have poor self-esteem I have little esteem for anybody else!” Yeah that’s me, I’m a work in progress, pray for me). But yet, something just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t balanced. At work, I felt fine, at home, I felt like I was being crushed and stressed out. It was at this time, I knew that I needed help so I sought out a counselor and if you are feeling this way I encourage you to do the same. The “goal” of the narcissist is to crush you into oblivion. You lose yourself and wrap yourself in him so much that you don’t matter to yourself anymore. Never lose yourself for anyone. Even if you aren’t ready to see a counselor, please talk to a friend, relative, a pastor, someone that you can air out your feelings too. And don’t just do it to find validation, do it so that you can begin to rebuild you. You are important, you are worth it, you are needed, you are smart, you are YOU and never let anyone take that from you.

If you want to know more about the signs of narcissism or narcissistic abuse, please visit any of the links below:

7 Red Flags Suggesting You May be Dating a Narcissist

How to Spot Narcissistic Abuse

This Year I …. My 2018 in Review

This year I, (in no particular order and definitely not bragging) ….

  • grew in God
  • got married
  • moved twice
  • experienced lost
  • celebrated by children
  • found the true definition of sickness & health and richer or poorer at the same time
  • found my purpose and the path to achieve/fulfill it
  • GREW IN GOD!!!!!!!

The beginning and the ending are the same and it is because of that beginning and ending I was able to do, endure, or celebrate any of the middle. With God all things are possible is more than a refrigerator magnet. It is the mantra of my life, (among others). Without Him, I would fail and be drifting like a ship without a sail. Renewing, rebuilding, restructuring my relationship with God was the best decision I made on January 1, 2018 and carried with me the entire year. I don’t do resolutions but I set goals and outside of being a better mother or teacher, those are standards and daily growth goals, my 2018 command for my life was to relearn God. He is truly my beginning, middle, and ending. In retrospect daily, I can see my own growth. I can see places in my life where I know I have only been able to sustain because of Him. He is how I started 2018, how I will end 2018 and who I will continue with in 2019. 

I’ve taken the time to share this with the world because it’s not too late for you to decide to learn Him better. You don’t have to wait until New Year’s start today. I’m not a preacher, licensed or ordained minister, pastor, any of those things. I’m a regular, everyday person who just had the greatest epiphany that without Him guiding and helping me I will fail and I want to encourage you to get to your epiphany. If you don’t know where to start, this is where I become Takhia the Teacher (another thing that He allowed to come forth), and help you. For the month of December, I am reading the book of Luke one chapter a day from now until Christmas Eve. You can start whenever you want. It’s 24 chapters of the life of Jesus, from beginning to end. To help with my studying because let’s face it, we don’t always understand the Bible, especially the King James version, I’ve found a really good guide book with questions that help me unpack what I’m reading. I’ll include them in links here. Begin to study for yourself. Go to church. YouTube messages about what you’re going through, Google what “God says about ….” Begin to tap into Him. Everything starts with a decision and a prayer. Decide to know Him and accept His love and Grace and then pray and He will guide you. Maybe He lead you here to read this! To that end I avail myself, your friendly neighborhood teacher. You have questions, I can find answers and ways to help you. That is what I’m here for. 

Whatever your decision, I hope your 2018 finishes strong and that your 2019 begins even stronger!!! Happy Holidays from Takhia the Teacher!!

As promised, some resources to help you get started! Happy Reading and Studying!!

BibleGateway.com (already set for Luke 1 but feel free to read what you like)

How to Live the Bible Devotional

Book of Luke Bible-Study Workbook 

On Surviving …

“We made it, we survived. When the enemy came in to take our lives. God lifted a standard to be my protection. No weapon formed, can prosper against us. I made it this far by faith. My future’s brighter than my today. I’m holding on to my praise. I made it! I survived! I’m a survivor!!”

The lyrics are from one of my favorite songs by Bishop Hezekiah Walker. Today is the last day of October. All month long we’ve been celebrating Breast Cancer Survivors it’s a been sea of pink and love and it’s been wonderful. October isn’t just for Breast Cancer awareness, (you ladies are phenomenal and I in no way diminish your fight. I salute you!). There are a group of women who have survived a different sort of cancer. The one of a toxic relationship. They have survived the hands of the one who in some cases vowed to love, honor and protect them. They have survived the hands of the person who claimed to love them above all else. They too are my heros. So today, on this last day of October, I take a moment to honor them and appreciate them – For their honesty, for their transparency, for sharing their struggle, for being brave. 

Your stories help others who may not realize that their reality is or has been similar to the one you share. You are not weak. You are more than a  conqueror. You are me and I am you. I have a story. I am not weak. I am more than a conqueror. I have survived. 

The details I will save for another day. Today, I am here to send encouragement. If you are in a relationship and things just aren’t ok, even if you may not know why or you might not even know what’s happening. I’m going to ask you to trust the still small voice that’s within that is telling you to move, to let go, to do something. Once you hear that voice, act on it. Please seek help. Do not stay in the abuse. Emotional and mental abuse are just as damaging if not more so than physical abuse. While outward bruises heal and can be covered, this is not normal, this is not love.  Internal bruises begin to reshape who you are and how you see yourself. Nothing is worth losing yourself.  I know you may actually love him and it’s easier said than done. I know you may have children involved. I know you may not feel like you can do it on your own.  But I’m here to tell you, you can and  you will be ok and can make it on your own. Reach out to a friend, loved, one, pastor. You can even reach out to me! Nope I’m not a counselor, (…yet, coming around ~2023), but I am a great listener and I will gladly objectively hear you out, pray for you and hopefully help you figure out your next steps. Nothing is hopeless or helpless. You are valuable. You are loved. You have help.

To those of you who are not victimized but you may know of a victim, please be there to support and encourage them to get help. Don’t turn a blind a eye. It’s like we teach students about bullying, be an upstander, not a bystander. You are important to the process too. We must all work together to end these tragedies.

For more information and encouragement please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline. And again, I’m here for you, find me on any of the ways listed below. This is not for likes and followers, this is for your life. Please know that I sincerely care for you. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/takhiatheteacher

Instagram: takhiatheteacher

Twitter: @TtheTeach

STEM Program at Princeton for 10th/11th Grade Students

The W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Institute is a leadership development organization for adolescents and secondary students. Since its inception in 1988, the Institute has provided extensive leadership, scholarship and community service training with the goal of developing a cadre of activist scholars-leaders who excel both academically and professionally. Through rigorous university-level courses and guidance, the Institute aims to help youth develop to their fullest capacities so that they can better serve others.

Applications from your high-achieving 10th and 11th graders with an interest in STEM courses are welcomed.  The application and supporting materials deadline is November 9, 2018. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we encourage students to apply as early as possible. 

Lastly, to learn more about the ALA Program from administrators, sponsors and our scholars please click the link below.

ALA: Sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Johnson & Johnson: ALA Video

For more information please contact:

Crystal Watson

Program Manager

W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Institute

174 Nassau Street, Suite 360

Princeton, NJ 08542

Office: 609-955-0666

Email: admissions@duboisscholars.org

Web: www.duboisscholars.org

IG: duboisinstitute 

FB: W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Institute

Choice

I’m stalling. I have limited free time and I’m stalling. Why?? Not necessarily fear, apprehension might be a better way to put it. However, God gave me a gift, I’m going to use it so here I am putting it all on the page.

So, in all honesty, Takhia the Teacher started off as an educational blog. I wanted to write about teaching and give encouragement to other teachers, especially those in Computer Science and Math, (my playgrounds), but I also wanted to encourage parents and students as well. Recently, I had a talk with Jesus, I have them often and He reminded me, yes you are Takhia the Teacher, but you can teach anything! I gave you that gift, use it fully. And so today, is my first blog about life. Everything that I’ve gone through has shaped me into who I am, but it hasn’t just been for me. It’s been for me to guide someone else.

This morning, I want to talk about choices. Some very specific ones in fact. I’m a newlywed, yay!! But shortly after, it hit me like a brick and like a boulder this morning, marriage is a choice. You choose to get married and that’s usually easy but the choice to stay married??? Man, listen…. even if there’s nothing “wrong” that’s still a choice. It’s just easier to make when the sun is shining and the grass is green and everything is great. But what happens when it’s raining, pouring to be exact, and all the love and excitement you felt and had on your wedding day has seemed to have dwindled if it’s not gone altogether? What then?

Well, I still choose it. Marriage is more than just a commitment to the person, it’s a commitment to God to fulfill His plans and purposes with this person for the rest of your lives. Huge responsibility but it’s the truth nonetheless. It’s not easy, it’s not pretty, and sometimes, I feel like I might have been better off unmarried and doing me. And there are times when I know he feels the same. That’s normal, natural and human. It’s also the biggest trick of the enemy to destroy families and marriages. He hates unions. They threaten him and his existence and his plans. He would love nothing more than to dismantle what God has ordained. And this is the part where I fight. Not literal uppercuts and left jabs, but in prayer, in fasting, in reading, in studying. This is the part where I stay talking to God all day, all night, until something breaks and something happens. Why? Because it’s my choice. I chose to be married. I’m choosing to stay married. Not only am I choosing to stay married, I’m choosing to stay married with God’s plan in mind. Do I know it yet? Um in pieces but that’s a story for another day. For today, I want to encourage those who are married and things are not rosy, choose your marriage. Go to God. Go to counseling. Go on a date. Fight for your marriage. I watched the movie “War Room” repeatedly because I just liked the movie, watching it after I got married bought me to tears. It’s like watching pieces of your life unfold on screen. But the message of the movie, fight for your marriage! (One of the messages there were others…but another day)

I’m still new to this, I’m still learning and my opinion is exactly that but today and every day, I am choosing marriage. I hope you choose yours’ too.

Middle School Virtual Robotics

Hello!! If you’re a middle school STEM teacher, here is an opportunity for you and your students! 

Last year the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition was launched. 5 states competed– generating interest from more than 30,000 students. Cyber Robotics provides middle school-aged students and educators with the opportunity to learn how robots work, build coding & robotics skills with real or virtual 3D robots, and expand their knowledge of STEM careers. All while competing in an interactive, fun, and exciting online environment. This is much more than a competition, students can choose to participate in as much or as little as they want from the 3 phases: introductory, challenge and finals (by invitation only).

All that is required from a school to participate – is access to a web browser. Most of the competition, except for the finals, is virtual.

Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions provide middle school-aged students and educators with the opportunity to learn how robots work, build coding & robotics skills with real or virtual 3D robots, and expand their knowledge of STEM careers. All while competing in an interactive, fun, and exciting online competition

Kickoff is October 9th. Please sign up at https://crcc.io/maryland/

Use the following links to learn more:

CRCC Website: www.crcc.io

GDC Competition Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96kEn-gO7VE&t=13s

Fairmont State Hosts WV Finals: https://www.fairmontstate.edu/fsunow/fsu-front-page/fairmont-state-hosts-inaugural-cyber-robotics-coding-competition

What Virtual Challenges look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhEYYCteYY

Welcome to the World of Takhia the Teacher!!!!

In my soon to be 16 years of being an educator, I’ve come to know a lot of things, experience a lot of things and have constantly learned new things. I’ve accumulated resources on top of resources, learned skill on top of skill and now I hope to share my knowledge with anyone who would have it!

Teaching is so multi-faceted. You never realize what you don’t know until you learn it! Even this week as I type, I’m sitting in a professional development to learn more and become better prepared for teaching my Principles of Java Programming course this coming fall. Loads of information and insights at my finger tips.

Not only am I “Takhia the Teacher,” I’m Takhia the parent, so I understand how it feels to want to know what to do and where to look to find information about advancing your child at home, or wanting to have resources available for bettering their education. Just as being a teacher, I’m still learning. I’m navigating elementary school with my oldest son and gathering things along the way. Even before motherhood, I’ve worked closely with my students and their parents for success.

What makes me any kind of expert you may ask?? Well, I’m not. I’m a teacher, (parent), just like you who’s learned somethings over the years and am always looking to share what I know with others to help make their teaching lives easier. Teaching is a marathon and much like a marathon, when you hit your stride, you look up and you’re alone. The big difference, in a marathon, this can take a few miles, in teaching, it can take a few minutes!! We’re very much in touch with our own classrooms, our own lessons, our own way of doing things. But sometimes, just like a marathon, you want to look up and see someone journeying with you. Maybe they’re giving a supportive nudge, maybe they’re handing out water, maybe it’s a just smile or quick word of encouragement. Whatever it is, after you receive it you’re ready to run on and complete your race. It is my hope that this space will become apart of your support system in your teaching marathon. Feel free to check often and partake, comment, join the Facebook community. Our goal is common, to educate students.

See you around the world of Takhia the Teacher!!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton