Post Springbreak Update Soup

Somehow its been almost a year since the fellowship officially began. Here is a much needed Update Soup for you guys. 

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Spring Break was March 23 – April 2. Of course the break didn’t seem long enough, but it gave me the much needed rest I needed to help me get through the rest of the school year. Each day is still a struggle. Getting through the day is cool – I mean once you walk through the front doors you have to drop whatever barriers/doubts you have in your head because its countdown to first period. And trust me there are plenty of those days.

My biggest battle right now is with sleep. I’ve mentioned a few times here that my body has been training me for over 15 years to go through life with as little sleep as possible. Well its finally caught up with me. Its been really tough waking up each morning. Not because I don’t want to face the day – its more like my body has just been passing out and resists any urge to wake up. I feel like I dont even know what my alarm clock sounds like anymore. I never hear it in the morning. In the past two weeks I’ve been late to school (which is a huge no-no.) School starts at 8:20. I woke up at like…. 8:15, and hopped on the train at 8:30. I snuck into the school around 9, and of course it was the day when there were some major behavior issues that my co-teacher had to address alone. Just Thursday I woke up at 8:05, luckily I put a shirt on, jumped in a cab, and made it to school by 8:18. I paid $40 to go to a Brooklyn Nets game with my co-workers the other day. I think it was the last game of the regular season. I went home to take a quick cat-nap, and woke up in the 3rd quarter. SHITTY! Most recently some of my friends from YouthBuild came through my school to run a College workshop. They did an AMAZING job, and my students have been talking about them ever since. Afterwards we were supposed to meet up in Time Square at Dallas BBQ’s. Again, I went home for a quick nap – and I eventually woke up 2 hours after we were supposed to meet. Shitty again!

I saw one of the fellows mention in our Facebook group that she was dropping balls left and right, and that’s really the best way to describe how I feel right now. I try, try, try to stay on top of everything, but life right now is just a mess. I’m able to get through most of the teaching, and grad school parts of my life by just making it work. But I’m far behind when it comes to taking care of all of the Special Education and IEP paper work.

We’re in the final trimester, which we call Cycle. This Cycle I’m teaching Math, English, 3 Reading Intervention classes, Math Intensive (which is basically like a Math Intervention). This is my first time teaching math since we had to teach summer school for the fellowship. Initially I was a bit nervous about learning a new content area. I haven’t done serious math since high school – where I went from honors math to general math because I refused to do math homework every night. However, It’s honestly been a beneficial experience. I see many of my Just Words students in my math classes. It’s crazy seeing that students who may have deficient skills in reading/writing/English, can excel and actually enjoy the challenge of math and vice versa. As a teacher its also been interesting witnessing how students behave differently with different teachers, peers, and subject areas.  Students who may be wild/uninhibited in one situation can be relaxed and focused in another. I’ve tried to use this to my advantage. Basically channeling their focus and restraint from one content area over to the next. Again, its all about challenging them on their leadership.

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Here’s a quick glance at my teaching schedule this cycle

I’ve started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone in my Just Words class. The Just Words curriculum is beyond dry right now, and the students needed a different challenge. We do A LOT more one-on-one reading check ins now than we’ve ever done before. Pretty much everyday I’m grabbing about 2-4 students to read with me individually. It’s proved useful to get a sense of where my students’ reading confidence and abilities are. I use the time to build deeper relationships with my students, highlight their strengths/growth areas with their reading, and encourage them to read at home. I’ve also used the Harry Potter text as a read-a-loud text for the entire classroom. Many of the students are shy/nervous/self conscious about reading out loud. Right now my Just Words classes have 12 – 15 students. When we’re reading out loud generally only 3-4 of them volunteer to read. I’m working on getting more of them to jump in. One strategy I’ll try to use is pre-selecting paragraphs I want the less comfortable students to read. I’ll let them know as they walk through the door about their section. This way they can practice/review their sections a few times before they’re called. Hopefully this works, but I’m sure it will take more prodding than just this. 

I feel like I’m developing into a stronger teacher. The art of teaching is a lot more natural now. I mean pretty much I come with a plan, tell the students the plan, initiate the plan, deal with inevitable student pushback, then push them to comply – or trick them into complying. It sounds robotic, but I call it calculated. Teaching, is really a game to get students to do what they didn’t want to do ten seconds prior. This looks different in the classroom everyday, and actually student-to-student. But the end goal is to get them to try something new/challenging so that they can learn. Some respond to a simple look into their eyes and a raised eyebrow, some respond to positive reinforcement, some respond to a reminder of classroom expectations, others respond to deeper private conversations – with a quick reminder of those conversations in class.

I haven’t met with my mentor all Cycle. You guys have heard about the lack of contact for a while… I’ve gotten used to it now. Not just with my teaching mentor, but I guess I’m just used to having to figure out situations for myself in general. It still sucks that I feel like I have to push myself with this work though. It’s partly why I “overachieve” or at least try to. LoL, like I said earlier though I’m dropping balls everywhere so I’m not quite the overachiever people think I am.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do about the LGBT group my students asked me to lead. Perhaps I should start with the Principal/Administrative team and see what they think. Actually that’s what I’ll do. When stuck, always ask/alert the powers that be. That’s what non profit life taught me. They should be able to help us figure something out what a next step should be.

I took about 3 weeks off from working out. March 31 was the last time I was in the gym before this week. If history has taught me anything life falls apart when I’m not in the gym. I’ve just found my way back this week. My goal is to go 3 times a week. Saturday and Sunday are pretty much a given. My schedule has been to go to LIU’s Library from noon – 6 when it closes on weekends. From there I head to Planet Fitness, followed by Barnes and Nobles or Starbucks. Around 10 o’clock I head off to catch a movie at the theater next to Barnes and Nobles. It’s usually my weekend treat to myself. I’ve seen Evil Dead (thumbs up) and Oblivion (so-so) in the past couple of weeks. Today on my agenda is 42.

Even with all of this I’m still enjoying my time here in NYC. Every day is still a new opportunity to grow. And unfortunately growth isn’t easy. One of these days I need to take some time to evaluate my goals and how I’m moving in correlation to them. Moving to NYC quickly put many of my goals within reach. I don’t think my vision for myself has kept up with the progress I’ve made. Anywho, I’m not sure how to end today. I just wanted to give a quick update about some of the things that take up space in my brain. Stay tuned and stay positive, and don’t forget to share Skool Haze with a friend.

African American Scholarships

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This is something I saw on facebook and I wanted to share it with people. Don’t let the fact that many of these are national scholarship deter you from applying. You never know what you can get when you take the time to put a nice presentation together. 

Please Share: AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS ARE NOT APPLYING !

Even if you do not have a college-aged child at home, please share this with someone who does, pass this scholarship information on to anyone and everyone that comes to mind. Though there are a number of companies and organizations that have donated monies for scholarships use to African Americans, a great deal of the money is being returned because of a lack of interest.
No one is going to knock on our doors and ask if we can use a scholarship. Take the initiative to get your children involved. There is no need for money to be returned to donating companies because we fail to apply for it. Please pass this information on to family members, nieces, nephews, friends with children etc. We must get the word out that money is available. If you are a college student or getting ready to become one , you probably already know how useful additional money can be. Our youth really could use these scholarships. Thanks! (If clicking on the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the URL in your web browser.)Link back to the facebook post here – http://tinyurl.com/cpz55ug

1) BELL LABS FELLOWSHIPS FOR UNDER REPRESENTED MINORITIES
http://www.bell-labs.com/fellowships/CRFP/info.html

3) Student Video Scholarships
http://www.christophers.org/vidcon2k.html
4) Coca-Cola Two Year College Scholarships
http://www.coca-colaschola/rs.org/programs.html
5) Holocaust Remembrance Scholarships
http://holocaust.hklaw.com/
6) Ayn Rand Essay Scholarships
http://www.aynrand.org/contests/
8) Gates Millennium Scholarships (major)
http://www.gmsp.org/nominationmaterials/read.dbm?ID=12
10) Sports Scholarships and Internships
http://www.ncaa.org/about/scholarships.html
11) National Assoc. of Black Journalists Scholarships (NABJ)
http://www.nabj.org/html/studentsvcs.html
12) Saul T. Wilson Scholarships (Veterinary)
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mb/mrphr/jobs/stw.html
13) Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org/sk_v6.cfm
14) FinAid: The Smart Students Guide to Financial Aid Scholarships
http://www.fina/id.org/
15) Presidential Freedom Scholarships
http://www.nationalservice.org/scholarships/
18) Hope Scholarships &Lifetime Credits
http://www.ed.gov/inits/hope/
19) William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship for Minority Students
http://www.apsanet.org/PS/grants/aspen3.cfm
21) Guaranteed Scholarships
http://www.guaranteed-scholarships.com/
22) BOEING scholarships (soma e HBCU connects)
http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/educationrelations/scholarships
23) Easley National Scholarship Program
http://www.naas.org/senior.htm
24) Maryland Artists Scholarships
http://www.maef.org/
26) Jacki Tuckfield Memorial Graduate Business Scholarship (for AA students in South Florida)
http://www.jackituckfield.org/
27) Historically Black College & University Scholarships
http://www.iesabroad.org/info/hbcu.htm
28) Actuarial Scholarships for Minority Students
http://www.beanactuary.org/minority/scholarships.htm
29) International Students Scholarships & Aid Help
http://www.iefa.org/
31) Burger King Scholarship Program
http://www.bkscholars.csfa.org/
32) Siemens Westinghouse Competition
33) GE and LuLac Scholarship Funds
http://www.lulac.org/Programs/Scholar.html
34) CollegeNet ‘ s Scholarship Database
http://mach25.collegenet.com/cgi-bin/M25/index
36) Federal Scholarships & Aid Gateways 25 Scholarship Gateways from Black Excel
http://www.blackexcel.org/25scholarships.htm
37) Scholarship &Financial Aid Help
http://www.blackexcel.org/fin-sch.htm-sch.htm
38) Scholarship Links (Ed Finance Group)
http://www.efg.net/link_scholarship.htm
39) FAFSA On The Web (Your Key Aid Form &Info)
http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
40) Aid &Resources For Re-Entry Students
http://www.back2college.com/
41) Scholarships and Fellowships
http://www.osc.cuny.edu/sep/links.html
42) Scholarships for Study in Paralegal Studies
http://www.paralegals.org/Choice/2000west.htm
43) HBCU Packard Sit Abroad Scholarships (for study around the world)
http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/packard_nomination.html
44) Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities
http://ccmi.uchicago.edu/schl1.html
45) INROADS internships
http://www.inroads.org/
46) ACT-SO EUR Olympics of the Mind “A Scholarships
http://www.naacp.org/work/actso/act-so.shtml
47) Black Alliance for Educational Options Scholarships
http://www.baeo.org/options/privatelyfinanced.jsp
49) Graduate Fellowships For Minorities Nationwide
http://cuinfo.cornell.edu/Student/GRFN/list.phtml?category=MINORITIESIES
50) RHODES SCHOLARSHIPS AT OXFORD
http://www.rhodesscholar.org/info.html
51) The Roothbert Scholarship Fund
http://www.roothbertfund.com/
52) Creative Dreamers Award
SkoolMoney Tag

The Gay Boy That Grew Up to be an Overachiever

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  1. How do you have time to do all these things?
  2. Why are you doing all of this?
  3. Why is your mind wired to think only one way?
  4. Why are you so weird?

Recently I’ve thought about if and undeniably when I would include my sexuality into the skoolhaze blog. If I had my choice, I wouldn’t. I’ve always made it a point to keep my sexuality separate from my work, period. However, recently a group of my students asked me to start and lead an LGBT group at our high school, and although I have absolutely no desire to do it – I’ve been asked by my people, so I must.

Growing up I remember my mom constantly telling me that because I was a young black boy I would have to be better than everyone around me just to be considered equal. At the time I HATED when she would say things like this. I would always respond that I was the same as everyone else in the most irritated tone that I could find. Growing up in the chicago suburbs, in a high school that offered the midwest’s view of diversity, I benefited from being the son of a police officer and social worker. I am Theo, and my parents are pretty much Mr. and Mrs. Cosby. My home was a place where my sister an I were both one of few blacks in the honors and ap courses my high school offered at the time. She was the more natural academic than I. Luckily, my passion for running soon blossomed into a track scholarship at Indiana State University.

Fast forwarding through my years I think it’s fair to say I live in a world where I do everything I care about to the best of my abilties. This includes teaching high school, attending graduate school, creating Skool Haze, maintaining the gym, and pushing forward my other bourgeoning projects. It’s no secret to me that these things have become a perpetual cycle of self-induced one-up-ness. Growing up and being trained, for lack of a better word, through my fraternity, competitive track teams, Public Relations degree, and my early career experiences in sales I can’t imagine living in a life where I didn’t constantly outshine myself for myself. It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to tie my own determination to trying to lift those up around me. My parents are heavy believers in service to others, and modesty and respect for everyone, in particular their feelings. So… those values are heavily linked to who I have become as an adult.

People ask me why I go so hard and I really don’t know how to explain it to them. I mean, I love what I do, and I’m suited for the trails I envision my work will take. It’s beginning to look like it’s no coincidence that I happen to aspire for something so idealistic and grand.

The article “Young, gay, and trying too hard” on Salon.com explains why I am who I am, and why I do what I do. It explains to people who support me, and those that don’t just why I do go oh so hard for the causes.

To be even clearer I don’t consider myself “in the closet”. However, it is something I’ve never really led a conversation with. If anything I think the article helps explain why I find it difficult to talk about myself. I have a bit of a modesty-complex, which means I’m down to talk about pretty much anything except myself.

I’m not sure what else to say, and to be honest I’m still processing the article and its significance to why I am the way I am. Nonetheless it’s a great look into a part of me that I don’t often share. The fact that I know what it’s like to feel safe with a trusted advisor/counselor as I did with the sports psychologist back in college is the reason why I have to step outside myself and help my high school students and perhaps anyone else I’m able to. The fact that I know what is like to grow up fortunate and lucky in an America that still doesn’t quite view everyone as equals is the reason why I feel so compelled to do my best with Skool Haze, YBMI, and Creative Dreamers.

Anyways, check out the article below and let me know what you think.

PDF File – Young Gay and Trying Too Hard

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/18/young_gay_and_trying_too_hard/

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Dot coms, business cards, and new languages

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I feel a bit like Jean Michel Basquiat. All over the fucking place. My mind will not stop moving. I’ve been wanting to write some things here for a while. I actually have quite a bit to say. Quite a bit I want share. And even more so quite a bit you all need me to share. But my mind can’t create the phrases to get the words out. I think its a sign of my tiredness. But I don’t want that to be an excuse. I’m just going to write! Fuck it. You all will see some unfinished draft posts from me soon because I’ll be damned if I lose the other 3 posts I’ve written just because my mind can’t get it together right now.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

I guess I’ll start with tomorrow is Wednesday. April 17. Well technically today is. I still haven’t planned my Just Words Lesson for tomorrow. I’m pretty convinced we’re going to kick off our Harry Potter reading. I’m just not sure if I want to do whole group then break in to small groups while I walk around, or if I want to do whole group the entire class. Then put on a movie while I have students do their individual reading check ins. I also need to write a reflection for a lesson plan I wrote for my Grad school class. Part of me wants to share more of my grad school work… just to put stuff on here and because it shares a lot of my thoughts.

I’ve bought a few .com’s I’m excited about it. But shitty too because I assumed that managing a .com was easy. That crap might as well be alien hieroglyphs. The back room of godaddy.com reminds me of one of those old operator switchboards, I literally look and say WTF everytime I sign in just out of sheer volume of controls and links and settings I see back there. I thought I was going to see a box to throw some Angelfire-quality HTML into and keep it moving. LoL!!!  Not even close to the case. So…. for now I have three wordpress blogs that I forward my .com and .orgs until I figure out what’s really going on. (If you’re good at web-design hit me please –  info@skoolhaze.com or skoolhaze@gmail.com)

www.skoolhaze.com – This here blogged book. I’ve actually been reading a book that hasn’t necessarily given me any help turning this process into a blog/book. But It is something I’ve used to help fill in background knowledge about things I assume I will encounter later on once I begin moving towards publishing whatever I create.

How to Blog a Book – Nina Amir

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www.ybmi.org – The YBMI 400 serves to be a collection of positive depictions of young black men pushing for their own positive impact and success. It will counteract and push back against all of the negative images everyone has to look to when they desire a negative depiction of a young black male. I want other young black men to view this as a resource they can search for when they want inspiration. I’m looking for guys 23 – 35 who are in school, have started a business, work in community organizations, or have some other leadership skills/traits they would like to showcase. I choose this age because believe this is the time when men of color realize that it can be difficult to come up young and black in this world unless you’re lucky. I owe my own success to love, encouragement, and more luck than anything else. I want to include real leaders. The examples I listed are not the end all-be all of leadership. But I will say there’s a difference between someone who wants to be praised, and someone who wants to push. Think about it…

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YBMI is partially inspired and modeled after the Forbes 100/200, more specifically the Forbes 400 Titans of Philanthropy. The Young Black Male Initiative is something that is far overdue. The sheer fact that when I had for the idea Black Male Initiative, googled it, and saw the address and google search results were vacant – showed me that it was something that needed to be done. Think about that…. in the entirety of the globe, no one has started a young black male initiative……. that web address is available. …. out of 7,000,000,000 people. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb and build the bridge yourself when someone hasn’t done it for you.

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www.CreativeDreamers.org – I’ve created a scholarship at my alma mater – Indiana State University. Two – $1,500 scholarships will go to a male/female leader on campus. The purpose of the award is to encourage minority leaders on campus to keep up their extraordinary work, and to help them connect the importance of their leadership by seeing that service is a life-long venture. The Creative Dreamer Award is the first project for Creative Dreamers organization. Our aim is to expose young  black men to new opportunities and to expand their horizons. Creative Dreamers is a collaboration between myself and my frat brother, actually my sands. (Sands means someone on my same line/pledge class.) We are currently fundraising for our inaugural scholarship that we would like to bestow this fall. You can donate here – Donate to the Creative Dreamer Scholarship Fund → We’re also holding our first fundraiser on May 2. The Art of War Art Battle will help raise funds for our scholarship and for Core-Reader, an organization that publishes e-conent to inspire young girls of color, and holds empowerment programming for young ladies in Tennessee.

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Art of War Art Battle
C.O.R.E & Creative Dreamer Organizations
Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)
Dragones Rooftop Lounge at Indigo Hotel in Chelsea
127 W. 28th St. NY, NY 10001 (between 6th and 7th)
New York, NY 10001

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Round 2 of my business cards have come. I thought the first batch were sick. But… I actually started to hate them after a while. They were a bit obnoxious. I like this black promo version a lot better. I figure I don’t need to explain to people EVERYTHING I want to do on a card. That’s what the conversation is for. The card is just to give them the contact, and leave a quick note. I realized I was usually writing a quick note on my business cards when I gave them out. I wish I could have kept the school stationary on the back. But with the personalized design I couldn’t, so I just left a tacky white space for now. LoL I’ll figure something out more sleek next time.

Throughout the year I’ve been exposed to a bunch of student lingo. I’ve always wanted to learn another language… but until grad school ends this will have to do. LoL

Brooklyn High School Dictionary  – 

You gettin me tight – You’re making me mad, getting on my nerves

YASSSS (Insert Name), fuck it up – A funning way to call someone’s name across class with the purpose of disrupting people.

Dridd – You’re mad, hot, heated, upset. Usually used to describe how someone else feels. Ex: Damn, I know you dridd. You dridd.

Gucci – Good, Excellent, Ok. Ex: I’m gucci. That’s gucci!

Things I hear on a regular basis – 

Shine bright like a penis
Penis
N***A
B***H
Boy

Thank you

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I just wanted to take a second to thank everyone who has ever stopped by Skool Haze. Its been so fun creating and maintaing this space to share my journey. I’ve started many blogs and websites in the past, but nothing that ever meant as much as Skool Haze does to me. I’ve kept with it and watch it grow from nothing into a little baby something, LoL.

Thank you if you’ve ever read a post, disagreed with a post, thought I was crazy, thought I was kinda dope, wondered why I was so weird, wondered how I grew up to be so unique, shared this link with a friend, marked my emails as spam… Whatever you’ve done you’ve played a part in this getting here. It always catches me off guard when someone in my real life mentions Skool Haze to me. I don’t speak of the site or my projects much in my work/school life. I have a bit of a modesty complex. None the less, thank you all. Hopefully the space has been a place where you can learn about me, and maybe think about your own work as well. Special shouts to Kat, Tim, Jahaira, Alix, Alicia, and Toya.

I’ve become obsessed with my WordPress stats. I was going for a little battle with myself in February/March to get as many viewers as possible. I fell off a bit in April, but the month isn’t over yet, and I may have a few tricks up my sleeve for some new content soon.

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stay inspired – stay positive – stay tuned