<Bell rings, class enters the room>
Me: “Good morning everyone. Take out your homework, get your notebook set up and complete your science question of the day. I’m taking roll and I’ll be coming around to check your homework. The timer is set for 8 minutes. When it goes off, I’ll be ready to start the lesson and I know you will be too!”
<Many students immediately get started without any further prompting. Some require redirection>
Me: “Trevor (not his real name of course), please sit down, take out your homework and set up your notebook. I’ve already told you that you have exactly 8 minutes to get this done. When I start class, I will NOT stop the lesson to give you time to catch up with the rest of the class.” <Trevor sits down because he knows I don’t play>
When I reach Trevor’s desk, I ask him to show me his homework. He doesn’t have it.
Trevor: “I didn’t do my homework because I lost it.”
Me: Trevor this zero on last night’s homework gives you 3 homework zeros in this unit. I’m going to have to give your mom a call this evening to help get you back on track. <Trevor shrugs>
After school later that day, I gave Trevor’s mom a call.
Me: Hello Ms. Cartwright. This is Mrs. Green, Trevor’s science teacher and I’m calling to touch base with you about his progress in my class. <I go on to tell her what happened earlier in class>
Her: I’m embarrassed to say this Mrs. Green, but I really don’t know what Trevor does after school. I work nights so I’m gone when he gets home.
It’s just him and his older brother at home after school. My husband gets home around 7 and Trevor tells him he already did his homework, he doesn’t have any, or that he did it in school. He’s almost 14 and going to high school next year so we’re trying to give him more responsibility for himself and his school work.
Me: I understand Mrs. Cartwright. Please don’t be embarrassed! I’m a working mother too and even as a teacher, sometimes my kids can slip under the radar. Trevor is really a bright kid and could do so much better in my class if he applied himself and if we work together as a team to ensure his success. Would you and your husband be willing to partner with me? (She said, “Yes!”) May I share some ideas with you on how to academically support Trevor? (She said yes)
I shared with Mrs. Cartwright a few tools and strategies that she and her husband could use at home to help their son succeed in school. They were both willing to do their parts and I did mine! With his parents and me tag teaming him, not only did Trevor’s grades improve, he became a more disciplined and cooperative student in my classroom.
I found myself doing the same thing quite a bit with other parents and students from year to year.
I spent evenings, weekends and holidays providing parents with tips, tools, and strategies they could easily implement at home to improve their children’s behavior and academic performance in school. I realized that what I was sharing with my students’ parents was simply what I’d been doing with my own kids at home since they were in preschool. It really wasn’t difficult.
It just took knowing what to do, when to do it, and being consistent when doing it! IT WORKS!!!
As time went on, I began to feel this prompting in my spirit to help more parents help more children! I couldn’t change enough lives by only working with only 10-20 parents each school year, so I started VEDA Speaks! I figured if I became a speaker, I could go to schools and churches to spread the Gospel of Education to more parents! I was excited! I had found my purpose! I was speaking and sharing with parents how they could help their children succeed in school!
After about three years of speaking at a few churches in the area and working with a few organizations in my area, people began telling me at the end of my speeches, “This information is awesome! I would like to take some stuff home. Do you have a book?” I thought, “A BOOK??? Uhhhh…see my name on the program? It says VEDA Speaks! See…SPEAKS! Not VEDA Writes! I’m a speaker, NOT an author so I hope you took good notes because that’s all the written information you’re getting!” That went on for a long time! I’d speak and people would ask me if I had a book! Well I guess I needed to write a book, huh?
So I started writing. I had NO idea what I was doing!
I’d never written anything more than an article for a church newsletter! My thoughts were all over the place. Stuff was all unorganized. I didn’t have a title for the book! I didn’t have any chapter titles! I just had words saved on my computer. They were very well written words, but that was about it! I became discouraged and gave up! I stopped speaking because I didn’t want another person to ask me if I had a book! I couldn’t write a book! I knew nothing about that! I was VEDA Speaks!!! Get it? VEDA SPEEEEEEEAAAAAKKKKKSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!
Fast forward to 2011…I was now a mom of three, working as a teacher assistant in a middle school.
I’d taken a three year “break” from teaching. Well, I’d been fired, but that’s another story! LOL! As I worked as a teacher assistant, I began to feel that tug in my spirit to start speaking again so I pulled out my VEDA Speaks stuff, dusted it off, and got back to it! I got a speaking gig at a church scholarship banquet in March and I was thrilled! I prepared and delivered a dynamic speech! A DYNAMIC SPEECH!!! I even got a standing ovation! When it was all over, the pastor of the church came over to me and asked me THAT question…you already know…”Do you have a book?” I wanted to scream and use some non-Jesus words. But, I didn’t. I simply said, “I have some words on my desktop at home, but I wouldn’t call it a book.” He encouraged me to get this message in a book. He told me I’d reach more people by putting my message in a book because the book could go where I couldn’t. I promised him that I would give it another go!
I finished the book! I wrote Building Brighter Kids from Kindergarten to College during spring break! I got up between 4 and 5 every morning and wrote until my kids woke up. I fed them breakfast and dressed them (and myself sometimes) and sat back down at the table to write until lunch time. After we ate lunch, I returned to the dining room table and wrote some more.
Dinner…writing…bath/bedtime… writing….praying…writing…go to the bathroom…writing…crying…writing…fussing…writing!
Writing! Writing! Writing! We went nowhere during that spring break. I washed no clothes! I took no calls! I wore no makeup! I simply wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote! There were times I was sure that I would run out of words, but they kept coming! It was then that I truly understood how the men of God must’ve felt writing the Bible! I was TRULY inspired by God as I authored this book! When I got to the end of the book, I’d reached the end of spring break! It was done! No longer was I VEDA Speaks! I became VEDA Writes! And in 2012, the book was published and I became VEDA Authors! From that point forward, VEDA Speaks, LLC was transformed into Building Brighter Kids, LLC!
I’d found my purpose, my niche, and the answer to my calling!
Today, I am the founder and CEO of Building Brighter Kids! I am a speaker and an author! I am the working mom of three, a teacher and a business owner! God stopped my dream and I love it! His plan is so much better than my own! My passion and my purpose got married and pretty soon will give birth to my paycheck! I can’t wait! Until then, I’ll be working full-time on my job and part-time on my dream! Soon my side hustle will become my main hustle! It’ll be bye-bye classroom and hello standing room! (For my sellout workshops that is!) I’ll see you at the top! You ARE coming with me, right?
If so, share your comments with us! What is your passion? What is your purpose? Do you have a dream in your heart to make a difference in the world? I’m looking forward to your responses! We’ll chat soon!
If you’d like a copy of my book, Building Brighter Kids from Kindergarten to College, it’s available at www.amazon.com! Autographed copies of my book will be available on my website soon! I’m so excited about you becoming a part of the Building Brighter Kids Village!