Projects: Community Organizing Questionnaire

Projects: Community Organizing Questionnaire

Hey team. I’m working on another new project. A community organizing guide for novices. My goal is to provide a useable toolkit to help regular people like you and I get in action to develop our communities to be in action and in purposed service for our futures.

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Are you a leader currently giving back to your community? -or- Are you looking to get out of your head and into action to develop your community for your family and friends?

I’m looking for 100 Community Leaders to participate in a survey uncovering our strengths, needs, and goals we’ve identified on our journey to community empowerment.

Could you support me with your feedback and 10 minutes of your time.

Survey Link – https://goo.gl/forms/Rt8yJFv186XqjUkC3

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Shares to your teammates and network are welcome! While you’re at it like my page to get all the important project updates.

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DID YOU KNOW THAT I’M AN AUTHOR? CHECK OUT MY FIRST BOOK.

Knowledge Hacking: The 100-Page Manual To Master Your Craft & Unleash Your Powers To Get In Action To Success!

Knowledge Hacking: 100 Page Manual To Master Your Craft, Unleash Your Power, and Get In Action Toward Success

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Introducing The Knowledge Hacking Ebook

Team, I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally written and published my book!

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Please stay tuned in 2017 as I build the marketing plan for the book and its amazing resources. Until then, and in celebration of the holidays enjoy a 25% discount by using the coupon code – HOLIDAZE. Coupon code will be in effect until 1/1/2017

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

Viewing Leadership Opportunities as Learning Tools – BEDA Day 26 of 31

Viewing Leadership Opportunities

as Learning Tools

– BEDA Day 26 of 31

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You’re a leader! I can smell it! I can tell just by looking at you. I can tell just by the simple fact that you’re attracted to this post. BUT my question is have you figured out how to view leadership opportunities (that you may/may not feel ready for) as TOOLS to help you learn?

You may be saying…. But I”m not ready for that position

DO IT ANYWAY

But I need time to get my bearings before I launch that….

DO IT ANYWAY

I need to save up enough money before I can…

Nevermind yo! I’ma let Lisa Nichols tell you better than I can 😉

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– Get email updates about new posts by following the blog. Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email –

– Subscribe to my YouTube Channel HERE

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BEDA = Blog Every Day in August

The Purge – Advance

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The Purge – Advance

So, I’ve had the audacity to start thinking about what’s next after this Masters of Urban Education degree is complete. People hate it when I say this, but I can’t really put into words what this experience has done for me. I’ve really tried to implement what I’ve learned about coasting on my talents versus agitating myself to reach new and uncharted successes in my life.

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Thanks to Jullien Gordon, I’m thinking about looking into organizational leadership, strategy, and entrepreneurship courses. It’s a very early thought, but a thought none-the-less. If I could create a field of study or skill that I wanted to learn more about it would definitely be Social Entrepreneurship or Community and Public Leadership, something along those lines. There’s still plenty of time before I really need to know this information though. But if you know somethin about somethin let a pimp know! Especially if you have any leads on fellowship and scholarship programs out there because I’m definitely not tryna pay.

Why these programs? Well, I mean I’ve developed a thirst for knowledge and skill in teaching. For me, I think its safe to say that I’ve reached a point of perpetual curiosity to explore my knowledge and boundaries in education. However, through my education practice and readings I’ve also begun to really thinking about leadership. What is leadership both in theory and practice? Why do some people have it? I’m interested less in corporate leadership (MBA) and public sector leadership (MPA). I did start an MPA program at Northeastern University in Boston 3 years ago, but it just wasn’t the type of expertise I was really looking for. I’m not here for those industries. Civic Leadership sounds like something that would be right up my alley! I’m not sure if there is a program that has exactly what I’m after, which is cool because I’m always down to cross-pollenate educational experiences to get what I want in the long run 😉

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Take a second to think about what you learned in 2013? What new things are you looking to learn more about in 2014? Where can you find these resources? Don’t limit yourself to books and classes at a traditional school, like me LoL. There’s also youtube, blogs, private classes, mentors, etc… Personally I plan on taking a sewing class this year by a young lady I found on Meetup.com, no certificate or pay increase needed. But I know once I’m done I’ll have learned a new skill I can always apply. Lets make sure we’re advancing our skills and knowledge in 2014.

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Click here to view other posts from The Purge

Antoine’s Five Steps for Pursuing Your Passion

Antoine’s Five Steps 

for Pursuing Your Passion

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1.     Take risks Pursuing your passion means making yourself vulnerable in every aspect.  You must become emotionally naked, allowing yourself to make mistakes and risk being terrible.  Even if you don’t desire fame and grandeur, pursuing your passion means that you want to be good at it.  It means that you want to excel in it; and excellence only comes with de and re construction and you cannot be deconstructed without exposing and becoming vulnerable.  Risk also involves opportunities; seizing every one that is beneficial to you and the pursuance of your passion.  Read up on the stories of the people who excel in your passion, whatever it may be, and guaranteed that the level of success they achieved is almost directly associated with the level of risk they had to take to get there.  Its not easy and can even be as serious as violating the values and priorities to which you adhere.  But, it is necessary and it is ultimately this that distinguishes the difference between a hobby and a pursuance of passion.  Do what no one else would and become what no one else can.

 2.     Remain Teachable- One of the hardest parts of being a human is pulling down your ego and learning from and listening to someone else.  As hard as this is it is integral in pursuing your passion.  You must be able to accept what you are not good at and listen to people you respect on the road to change and growth.  Defense is an enemy; you must listen to criticism and be able to be broken down and take any criticism objectively and use it to your advantage; appreciate it.  Now, there are people out there to whom you shouldn’t listen, as their intentions may not be genuine or they could be haters to put it plainly.   These people are to be nodded and smiled at and their “criticism” taken in one ear and out the other.  Discerning between them and true friends may be difficult, but with common sense and evaluation of character, they will be found out.

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3.     Make complacence your worst enemy- In your passion there is ALWAYS room for growth, always.  Whether you grow vertically and improve on what you already do or horizontally and switch lanes to tackle something different or use a different approach to what you already do, growth is possible.  With this said, it is most definitely ok to be happy with something and to leave it alone.  When a song I have finished gives me that complete feeling, I leave it alone. There are times I even have to be told to leave it alone, but, nonetheless, I do.  Sometimes things are perfect just the way they are; but, holistically, as far as my vocal ability and the way I sing and how my voice sounds, there is no limit to how much I can improve. It is easy to become happy with where you are and dwell on that but just know that you can go higher.  If you’ve conquered a city, focus on conquering the state, then the region, then the country, and dare I say the world?  And yes, the universe as well.  It all lies in the balance of knowing your limitations and not having any at all.

4.     Research and analyze- As a musician I no longer listen to music, I analyze it, unconsciously sometimes.  When a song enters my brain I almost automatically hear harmonies, tone, technique and how the singer hits the notes, and everything in between.  A passion consumes you and you cannot be afraid of that.  In whatever your passion is you must research and analyze the best of the best.  It is necessary to get yourself familiar with what makes the greats great.  Watch their interviews and how they work.  Research their stories and their history.  In an age of ubiquitously available information, you have your passion at your fingertips; take full advantage.

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5.     Don’t be afraid to be greatAn unknown fear of greatness is what I believe hinders us all.  There is comfort in mediocrity and people don’t realize how limited their mentality is and how they hinder people from their own greatness.  In short, Mothafuckas are haters and in most situations their hate is a reflection of their own limitations, doubts and fears.  I used to be afraid to say I wanted to perform like Michael Jackson or I wanted my vocal tone to be as pure as Whitney’s in her prime.  I used to be afraid to have standards higher than those around me for fear of standing out.  In pursuing your passion you have to have the confidence to RESPONSIBLY associate yourself with the greats.  I say responsibly because we all know someone who LOVES to do whatever it is they love to do and claims they’re the best at it, but in actuality they suck, morbidly!  If you’re a painter, set Van Gogh or Warhol as your standard.  If you act, aim to be as good as Meryl Streep.  If you are a film director, be Michael Bay and nothing less, but do it responsibly and in your own manner of course and know the work that’s set out for you to be that great. Above all, prove it! Don’t just talk about it.  Greatness speaks for itself.  Know internally what your standards are and claim them commandingly.  Know that you are and can be THAT GREAT and let the work speak for itself.

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Back 2 Music is the motto. Hailing from Baltimore, Md currently living in Boston, Ma, Antoine is an independent artist bringing back real music one song at a time. His style mixes so many inspirations and genres alike. His versatility and appeal as an artist sets him apart, making his style unidentifiable, but his music and performance an identifying unmatched signature in itself. Working to make every record and live performance an unprecedented experience Antoine is sure to entertain and inspire, one note at a time. Be sure to check out Antoine’s latest video for his song Make You Love Me.

Personal Inquiry – Interests and Preferences

Personal Inquiry – Interests and Preferences

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Much of our work this semester in grad school has been focused around the idea of inquiry. Observing a student for who they are. One class has been focused on identifying potential behaviors that are limiting the child’s academic success, another is focused on identifying who that child is as is. In essence, once you can identify the child, you can better figure out what you can do as their teacher to support them in the academic environment, if they need your support. I’ve decided to observe Student A described here: Challenging students or challenging environment

Over the past two months I’ve really been fortunate to be able to observe him in almost all of his classroom settings. Part of the observation process is to try to describe your child as is, without assigning values to what the child does. A few of my peers in the program have found that relatively difficult, which to me speaks to a perhaps a larger issue with teachers being unable to see their students as young people without trying to describe why they engage in the behaviors they do. When you think about it, its pretty dangerous to try to describe why a student or any person engages in a particular behavior when you in fact have no idea how true or false your opinion is. Especially given that often times the way these behaviors are being described is from a negative/deficit perspective. It speaks to the often overlooked power dynamics that come into play as a teacher who is entrusted to protect and develop the young people you serve.

Anywho, I wanted to share a piece I wrote up about myself regarding my own interests and preferences. The assignment is attached below. The goal was to deeply review one of our own interests and think about how deeply it influenced our own identity as a person. We’re being asked to do the same thing for our students we’re observing later in the semester.

Assignment                                                              

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Response                                                                       

Track and Field

Describe the different ways this interest has shown itself as you grew up or the different forms this interest/preference has taken at different times in your life. In this description, describe:
  • how you came to know you had this interest or preference
  • what you did with this interest as a child
  • whether you pursued this interest on your own or with others; how others supported or showed interest in what you were doing; how others knew you had this interest

I had the benefit of living on a block where there were long stretches of road and sidewalk that somehow became racing posts for my neighbors and myself. When I was young, I remembered racing was always the activity/sport/game that I enjoyed the most with my friends. There was a solid group of us all within the same 3-4 year age range who would often congregate in our cul-de-sac to play games or just be kids. Fast-forward to the future and many of us became star/active players on many of our high school’s sports teams. My sister – soccer, Tiara – track, Darren – basketball, Ranard basketball and football I think, and myself track.

We had 4 different racecourses that we would use. For quick sprints we could use the 70m of sidewalk around Tiara’s house, or the entire length of the cul-de-sac and back in front of our house. For longer sprints we could use the long hill that all of our houses sat on. Ranards at the very top, passing Tiara’s house, our house, all the way down to Darren’s. I would say the hill had to be about 200 meters long. And then finally the long course of running the Sullivan Lane, Hickok, and Blackhawk Drive which was possibly a half-mile long.

Running had always been my passion from early on. I could play basketball all right, and did a season of soccer my freshman year following my sister’s footsteps. But there was something about the black and white competition of running that I loved more than anything in the world. It was competition that everyone could see and everyone could understand. I loved that I was always one of the fastest kids on the block even though I was a skinny scrawny non-athletic looking kid for most of my life.

As a child I couldn’t do much with this interest but continue to race people on the street. I didn’t know about AAU leagues or the USATF yet. I was probably in middle school when I first started to pay attention to track meets on TV. I couldn’t wait to join track in high school as it was the first thing I’ve ever felt confident I could be good in.

I’m not quite sure how others supported me running.  I have a tendency to live in a world of tunnel vision. Off top I would say my soccer coaches and teammates, cross-country coaches and teammates, and family supported me in varying and actually competing ways. My mother, infamously made me quit the track team early on my freshman year because of a bad grade I was getting in math. Around this time (approximately 2 weeks into conditioning) I was actually really frustrated with the team. I hadn’t imagined how exhausting and difficult training would be. The practices and training were so much harder than I had experienced in soccer. I don’t know what I would have done, but I believe had I not been made to quit I would have fallen off the team to my own accord just given how difficult it was for me.

Luckily, I had to spend an entire year listening to people tell me I sucked at running which is why I quit. It really made me furious because I knew I was fast, and knew that my speed was the last thing I was worried about. Luckily sophomore year came around and I went back out for the team, and became an instant contributor to the varsity team.

  • Describe briefly how this interest/preference lives in your life now.

I don’t run anymore. I actually haven’t watched a full track meet since I left NCAA Nationals as a senior on my college’s track team back in 2007. Track became and still is a bittersweet experience for me. It paid my way through college, and serves still today as the impetus to every opportunity I’ve gotten in life. Any leadership position in college, and in my professional life stems from the experiences and status earned through track and field. Even my closest friends, rivalries, and enemies stem from track and field. At one point I was a college roommate with two of my biggest rivals in the state in high school. My frat brother/big brother was also a member on my track team. My close female friends were members of the team as well. All of whom are still in my life.

Through track I grew into my body. I remember graduating high school around 5’8 weighing 123 pounds. I was extremely skinny and lanky. I graduated college at 5’10 around 145. And now weigh around 159 pounds. 165 around my heaviest. I say this to show that through track I grew into the physical man I am today. Which may sound superficial or unimportant, but as an athlete it plays a huge part into who I am to the outside world, and most importantly to myself. Track made me healthy, it made me look healthy, it taught me how to keep myself healthy and in shape. It is through this lens that I constantly critique my health, fitness, form, mental state, and appearance for others and myself. To translate – because of my 9 years as a semi-professional track athlete, I feel chained to keeping myself healthy and in shape. I don’t run anywhere near as much as I should, but I do maintain a pretty active and consistent space in LIU’s gym and Planet Fitness. (As as I’ve mentioned before on the blog, when I’m not in the gym my entire life seems to spiral out of control.)

  • Describe what you may have learned from pursuing the interest and the satisfactions you may have gained from it.

Track has taught me the art of competition. I was a natural winner that relied totally on natural talent for the entire time I ran. My largest lesson from track is failure. I relied on talent so much that I can see in hindsight how much further I could have gone had I understood what it really meant to push myself. I made it to nationals and was ranked in the country off sheer talent, and wavering interest. Similar to an early Serena Williams, but of course not as great or iconic. Had I been in the weight room, been training at my peak at all times, rehabbed seriously, and worked with my coaches more effectively I could probably still be running right now professionally for a living, as I see some of my college peers doing via Facebook.

I take these lessons and apply them to my everyday life. This is why I try to go so amazingly hard in grad school and teaching. It’s the first opportunity I felt I’ve had since, that I could really push my own boundaries and train for excellence as though I was back on the field.

On the surface, I gained a lot of medals, friends, accolades, records, experiences, travels, money, and headaches, and frustrations from track that I would never return. But this understanding of success and training is the most important take away that I feel I’m able to apply better now than I could 6 years ago as my time as an athlete came to an end.

Second time around is a whole lot easier

Second time around is a whole lot easier

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It seems like its been forever since I’ve even thought I’ve had the time to write something for the site. This school year has been crazy, and yet somehow I’ve managed to be a lot more calm and get more sleep than I did last year. Off the top of my head I’ve managed 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night, which is 2 to 3 hours more than I got on average last year. Instead of stressing and staying up into the wee hours in the morning prepping lessons, thinking about IEP’s, and going over grad school work. I’ve been getting sleep first, and then fitting in time for all that other stuff second.

I don’t want it to seem like I’m not stressed, or “on” as much as I was before. In reality I’m on more than last year. I think I’ve just realized how to manage my time better during the school day and afterwards. Funny enough I remember NYC Teaching Fellows staff and coaches mentioning last year that we needed to prioritize sleep. Back then I never imagined that would be possible. But, this year, it’s become an implicit priority of mine. It doesn’t matter how much I’m behind, or have things to do… when I’m tired, I go to bed. Its such a wonderful feeling.

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The school year is just short of being 1/3 of the way done – and I would say that I’ve definitely kept my cool under all of the pressures that have been coming my way. I’ve been taking situations as they happen, as opposed to allowing the randomness of the education system frustrate and confuse me into a panic. My mind is still working overtime, but I would say it’s actually been shutting down a bit too early for my taste. Over the past 2 months I’ve struggled with creating my vision for my teaching and work in education. Last year, as a new teacher I was able to focus on the teacher I wanted to become. Whereas this year I’ve just been acting, with far less thought put into my actions. I’m assuming its due to the fact that I’m not a rookie teacher anymore persay, so my mind is focusing on different and equally important matters.

This actually worries me a bit. Before I came to NYC I promised myself that I would continue to push each step of the way to ensure that I grew into the best possible educator that I could. But here at the beginning of my second year I don’t feel as challenged as I did last year. Things just seem too easy. Or better yet I just seem too instinctual right now. I already know I’m not really conveying the amount of work and thought that goes into each day as a teacher, and we can’t forget a grad student – which is part of why it’s been a awhile since I’ve posted. I mean I feel like I’m working more and trying to produce higher quality everything, both as a teacher and a student. But just like Vegeta up top, the challenges I’m faced with have come and gone and haven’t phased me as much as I feel they should. Maybe its backwards logic, but, it worries me. People may question why that’s an issue… Detectable stress and challenges are what I feel I need to measure my growth by. 

As a result, I’ve decided to upload a recent assignment to help shine some light on why the relative ease at which I’m working has me uneasy with my place right now.

You can find the post here: Personal Inquiry – Interests and Preferences