Kanika: Poet. Lover of Words. One who tells the stories of the mundane and inanimate. Bearer of Light, Water, and Sky.
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On Thursday, November 5, 2015, my business, Rose From Concrete, hosted a career workshop for the young men of the TCU/IAM job training program at Potomac Job Corps in Washington, DC. The workshop was facilitated by Darion Coleman, founder of Common Truce, an organization based in Washington, DC and several of its male members. Common Truce strives to unite communities and build relationships by focusing on reaching resolutions through effective communication that is respectful, honest, and nonjudgmental.
The young men engaged in dialogue about finding their life's purpose, making sacrifices, eliminating distractions and making the accomplishment of their goals a priority. At the end of the workshop, each student was presented with a neck tie and a pair of dress socks donated by the Common Truce community.
The students expressed that it felt good to know that someone cared. They also were grateful to learn that many of the speakers shared similar life experiences and were still able to achieve success. Many of the young men expressed feeling renewed and reassured that the future held great things for them.
On behalf of Rose From Concrete, I would like to thank, Darion Coleman for making this collaborative effort a success.
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I’m currently tutoring part time to stay mentally sharp and of course generate secondary income. Full time, I work with young adults ages 18-26. The students I tutor are in elementary school. Having to work on both ends of the spectrum has taught me greater levels of patience, caused me to be extremely flexible, and challenges me in ways I didn’t think were possible. Actually, working with 4th and 5th grade math has been quite interesting. I’m amazed at what children are learning at such young ages! So this weekend, I visited a teacher resource store to get some manipulatives for one of my younger students. The store was full of teachers, parents, and grandparents getting ready for that infamous time of year dubbed as “Back to School”. As I watched new teachers fill their carts with bulletin border, posters, stickers and even more, I found myself becoming slightly emotional.
I began to reminisce about the excitement I felt as a new teacher getting ready for the school year. I had picked a theme for my décor (bumblebees) and put thought into every little detail. Or so I thought. The one thing I hadn’t done was create a plan for success. By neglecting to put more energy into lesson planning and behavioral management, I had unknowingly created a plan for failure. The following three months after officially beginning my career in education would prove to be one of the most difficult, challenging, and stressful periods of my life. In hindsight, I can see Sprit’s design in my life because all that I went through gave me a passion for helping new teachers. This passion and the story of my rough start is the inspiration behind my ebook, Survive Student Teaching and Set Yourself Up for Success! I’ve also created an online course of the same title. I think what I went through in my first 3 months as a teacher was unfortunate and I never want another person to go through anything like that.
Teachers have a very challenging job. I’m happy to say that I’m a part of a community of educators that strive to provide support and encouragement for others in the field and those thinking about joining us. It’s a journey that continues to fulfil and enrich my life in numerous ways. To all you educators out there, thank you for all that you do. The school year will be full of ups and downs, but know that you are important and your work and dedication will prevail!
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I was blessed to land a very affordable ticket to Johanesburg, South Africa this year. Though my trip was very short my experience was life changing. I had the opportunity to encourage teachers and students of Willow Cresent Highschool and speak my truth on a local radio station! This was my first trip to Africa and in an amazing turn of events, I'll be visiting Ghana, West Africa in a few days! Here are a few photos from my trip. They don't fully capture the essence of the people or the smell of the air but I hope you can see the color. Everything vibrated at such high frequency. Colors seemed more saturated and vibrant. Even in the townships that were surrounded by trash and dirt, I was overwhelmed by the color of it all.
I left a piece of my heart with the children of Willow Crescent High school. I so desperately want to get back to them and help them accomplish their dreams. I don't quite know how Spirit will manifest that desire but I truly feel I'll know the answer soon. Willow Crescent High School sits in the midst of a neighborhood of Johannesburg known as Eldorado Park. Once the crown jewel of the area, it now wears the scars of neglect. There is hope for Willow Crescent however. The alumni of the school have made it their business to restore the school to its previous state. Measures have been taken replace broken windows and doors, complete landscaping, and now, with the assistance of the One Love Trust and Romal Tune, they are building a kitchen. Currently the students, refered to as learners, attend a full school day and receive no meals. The learning environment that I observed requires focus and I can only imagine how difficult that must be for some students that are not fortunate enough to pack a lunch and snack. I'll be posting more photos soon. Enjoy!
All Photos © 2015 Kanika J. Welch. All Rights Reserved.