Search

In high school, there were three main reasons I was taken out a basketball game.

1) I needed a break to rest.

2) There was something happening on the court that I could see better from the bench.

3) A play or a certain strategy was best executed without me.

March reminded me of that brief moment of recharging, reading the room, recalibrating before looking over to the coaches and saying "I'm ready to go play!"


Here are a few questions I reflected on as I wrapped up this month:


What did I take a break from this month? Why did I need a breather?

I took a break from spontaneity lol. Doing spontaneous things throughout the workday or on the week kills my momentum and productivity.

I didn't travel home on the weekends.

I didn't leave home for random trips to the store or spend time throughout the day figuring out what to eat.


Instead, I meal prepped every week this month and honestly it's been one of the best lifestyle shifts. 1) I ate more throughout the day 2) I could keep track of what I was eating, 3) its amazing for my budget and 4) it cuts down on time spent preparing, cooking, figuring out the next meal.


What did I practice this month?

I practiced consistent posting on IG this month. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of social media. At the same time, I believe social media is a powerful tool for marketing and social change. Regardless of my personal feelings, in March I wanted to practice being more consistent about sharing who I am and what inspires me, and so I did.


One way was by "batching content" or spending about two hours on a given day brainstorming and prepping content for the week. I set a goal of posting three times a week and held myself accountable to that.


Another way was by creating space to celebrate Black Women Educators as a Women's Herstory Month tribute. For 8 days (March 22nd-31st) I posted once a day and recognized a Black women that is doing amazing things in her classroom and/or community. This mini-campaign helped me to practice both creativity and consistency when it comes to posting. Check out my blog, Black Women Educators Teach to Transgress, to learn more about this experience. I also want to say thank you, again, to you all that tagged Black women educators under my posts to share a token of appreciation phenomenal educators in your lives.


What muscles did I exercise this month?

In March, my research team was asked to partner with CS4All, the New York division to engage Black youth and their educators in a virtual lesson at the intersection of computer science, computational thinking and barbershop culture. Using our CSTD.org website, we introduced a barbering app that connects coding and design show how barbers are computational thinkers and with hopes to broaden how Black youth can see themselves in computer science.


This partnership was an amazing opportunity to both be in a "classroom" with adolescents and educators again - two things I really miss right now. It was also a great chance to learn about CS4All, as an organization that supports Black youth and their learning experiences.


Because I foresee myself working in community and/or industry arenas once I receive my PhD, its important that I exercise muscles in scouting and networking with members of organizations and companies that align with my desire to design meaningful learning opportunities for Black youth and educators.


What were some exciting things that happened this month?

Well, March 24th marked the new astrological new year and since then, I have felt a new surge of energy! Prior to it, I was going to bed before 10 every night but since then I'm up typing and creating well into the morning hours. I needed the energy boost!


I also went wedding venue shopping with one of my best friends.

It was a totally new experience! We didn't find a venue that day but it was soul-filling to spend the day with her parents and reminisce about high school and our shenanigans through the years.


Sometimes it's hard to even believe I am 27 life is low-key forcing me to grow up and take on new responsibilities. Yall, time flies.


So yeah, March was a good month for building stamina.

A period of refocusing, building consistency through repetition and reenergizing myself. I'm ready to play as we entry into a new quarter of the year and for me a new season of life.


I am very excited about the work I've done in the first quarter of the year and how that is laying the groundwork for the second quarter of 2021! I can't wait to see what this second quarter has in store for us.


As always, I wanted to leave you with some reflection questions for your own journaling.

What did I take a break from this month?

What did I practice (a focus on repetition) this month?

What did I exercise (a focus on skill development) this month?

What was I excited about this month?

Is there anything I should change my perspective about going into the next month? Why or why not?


In Her Lane,

Briana



Around Mid-February, I joined a book club for teaching assistants in my program.

After a few weeks of gathering book suggestions, we all agreed Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks would be a great read. Especially since our goal was to rethink our teaching practices and generate some ideas to re-design our course.

On the first page of chapter one, Engaged Pedagogy (pg. 13) , bell writes:

"To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can be most deeply and intimately begin."

Needless to say I was captivated this opening paragraph.


Immediately it made me think of the many Black women educators that I have encountered in school, in church, through sports and how they have impacted my life.


I thought of the ways they care for their students. The ways they bring creative ideas and uplifting energy into any space. The way that they center social justice and encourage their students to live up to their potential. The way that they affirm us and love on us and make us visible. The way they prioritize our intellect and our spirit.


Going into Women's Herstory Month, I knew I wanted to create space to celebrate Black woman educators and the soul-filling work they do. I wanted to show a small token of appreciation and I also know that Black women educators are often under recognized and under appreciated.


For this reason, I dedicated last two weeks of March to honor Black women educators in my corner. As a recap, we learned about and celebrated these phenomenal 8 educators:


Sabriya Jacobs, 7th grade social studies educator in Durham, NC

Bria Wright, M.A., 2nd grade general education teacher in Raleigh, NC

Courtney Mauldin, PhD., teaches Master's and doctoral students in Ed Leadership at Syracuse University

Missy Cosby, Ph.D., 10th grade geometry teacher in Lansing, MI

Bria Davenport, middle grades coordinator at Student U in Durham, NC

Ebony Rowe, kindergarten educator in Durham, NC

Brittany Morrison, 9th and 10th grade math educator in Wake County, NC

Shealynn Womble, 8th grade social students educator in Charlotte, NC



When I reached out to these educators , I asked for general info but also a couple questions about their 'why's for teaching. In this post, I want to share three (3) themes I noticed across these women's reasons and how they speak to bell's notions of teaching to transgress.


1. They view teaching as a way to serve meet students' needs.

Ebony's comparison of educators to superhereos was touching to me. She spoke about her classrooms as a place to meet students' needs such as combing their hair, providing snacks, sending messages of encouragement, making sure their families are okay. She named that in her classroom she is more than a teacher. Shealynn discussed how educators have the ability to provide access to education as a remedy to inequity and Missy described how high-quality education is a way to for folks to improve life circumstances themselves, herself included. In the same light, Brittany strives to be approachable and for students to know that she cares about their well-being inside and outside of the classroom.


2. Black women in their families and their communities influenced their pedagogy.

Courtney shared how Black women from her childhood demonstrated critical learning activities such as storytelling and how that is a big part of her pedagogy now. Bria W remembers her grandma and how she showed grace, which is an element of her teaching. Shealynn shared how she came from a family of educators and it was natural to have a career in education. Sabriya described at-length a high school teacher and mentor loved on her and guided her through high school, college and life in ways that she aims to do for her all-girls cohorts.


3. Lastly, they viewed teaching as a way prepare students to thrive beyond school but in life.

Bria D. described being motived to teach because real change happens in the community and she has the opportunity to impact students and their families through a community organization. Sabriya beautifully describes how teaching is a way to plan seeds in her community and nurture strong, beautiful young girls that are ready for the world. Bria W. shared that she teaches to model for young girls the important and possible roles they can have in education and in leadership.


In so many ways these educators teach in ways (or at least describe their teaching in a way) that exemplify that they see more than academic learning being the center of teaching. They know the whole child or learner needs to be prioritized and the goal is for them to freely be and become in our society. We are grateful for your hard work and how you are impacting our future leaders, parents and change agents.


I am honored you all for agreed to participate in sharing what teaching means to you. Your work does not go unrecognized here. I also want to say thank you to the many followers that engaged with me to recognize educators in their corners! Let's do it again sometime!


In Her Lane,

Briana

Updated: Mar 30

More than halfway through March and I'm still thinking about my mantra for February: God is in the details.


If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that at the end of February I shared a routine that I do. That is, at the end of the month or every few weeks, I think back over themes, victories, conversations that occurred in that timeframe and entitle it, almost like a book chapter.


At the end of February all I could think was, God is in the details.

He ushered me into a new cycle around the moon. Ya girl is now 27!


He revealed to me that my desires were safe with my partner.

Namely, I told him there were 3 things I wanted for my birthday: 1) to leave town for my birthday, 2) to dress up and do something new and 3) to be back in town by Monday morning. Without question, he planned a surprise trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where we stayed in a cabin overlooking the city. We enjoyed a 4-stop vine tour, ate local cuisine, and captured intimate moments on my new Polaroid.


He helped me flesh out my practicum proposal. My research practicum proposal has been a milestone that has had me hemmed up for months. Although words were filling the page, I didn't feel connected to them. By the end of the month, my thoughts were flowing and the research design was making sense. (It's now been passed on to my advisors.)


He let me rest. I needed rest. I had so many goals coming into the new year but also a good amount of responsibility at the same time. In February, I was able to brain dump my concerns and visions about grad school and my passion projects, then let them be. He let me rest to enjoy my birthday and bask in the love and excitement of the month.


He gave me a refresh start. Sometimes we feel discouraged by pivoting. Sometimes it feels like a failure to start again. But that's the furthest from the truth. February allowed me to dump and strategize and ready to start the second quarter of the year with a fresh perspective and new energy.



Maybe I am still thinking about February because the details God revealed me, has set me up to walk into the spring like its my new year. Those short 28 days, helped me to implement a plan and confidently towards my goals this month.


On my Instagram I also shared some journal prompts that may be useful to you when you recap March and future months. I'm sharing those below.

  • What blessings did this month bring you?

  • What were themes of your conversations this month?

  • What purchases did you make this month? What did you purge this month? Why?

I encourage you to think of every month like a chapter and at its closing, reflect on the details God has written into your life story.


I'm looking forward to sharing my mantra for March with you sooner than later.


In Her Lane,

Briana

1/5
"There is no greater agony than bearing the burden of an untold story."
-Maya Angelou