Why did I choose Soulful Beginnings?
Don’t ever make the assumption that people you know or encounter were able to have the same childhood experiences that you did. That’s what I did as a first-year teacher….I assumed that all of my students were exposed to the 26 letters of the alphabet and knew that they made certain sounds. I assumed that my students had experience counting objects and saying the numbers in order. I even made the assumption that my students knew their “government” name until one student tried to convince me that his name was “Fat Man” when I informed him that his name was Adrian. Before the first quarter (45 days) of my first year ended, I was ready to quit and never step foot in a classroom again. (I’ve never quit ANYTHING in my entire life.) Teacher education programs (which is another post by itself) provide lots of false hope for future educators who step into teaching situations across the nation. Again I will say that I was ready to walk away and not return.
After several conversations with my mother who was at that time what I considered the Early Childhood guru, I learned that it was my responsibility to provide opportunities for my students to rise to the occasion and do what nobody had expected them to be able to do: read proficiently, write and publish their own stories, and demonstrate number sense.
The students that I taught every day looked like me, but they were failing to meet the standards required by the state of South Carolina. I used this as the stepping stone to create my own tutoring services in the fall of 2010. I wanted to create an experience for African American children to feel successful in a school setting that would transcend into their classrooms….thus Soulful Beginnings was born.
The name Soulful derived from my line name given to me when I accepted the call to become a part of the greatest sorority ever Delta Sigma Theta Innnnnnnc.! There was a desire to connect with students of color on a different level involving rhythms and beats to teach certain concepts. I made certain lessons musical to tap into that intelligence that most teachers will not consider reaching.
The other half of the name Beginnings exists so that students and parents will know that there is a new start, a new experience, a different way of teaching when you step through our doors. At Soulful Beginnings we can play an integral role in the academic future of any child because we give them the opportunity explore different teaching strategies.
We are here to “give life” to the mind by connecting to the soulful beginning that lives inside of each child. We are here to empower children to be confident in the fact that the will be able to read a variety texts; they will be able to use all four operations in math for different concepts (fractions, data, measurement, etc.); they will be able to speak out on different worldly happenings; they will be able to write a story, an opinion, or to inform others.
There is no doubt that we have the power to finish strong! Children are definitely resilient and able to break through barriers that this world places before them. However, we are prepared to provide the necessary tools that will make transitions smooth and obstacles more manageable. This post is dedicated to Alyssa, Zabron, Cameron, A’Javeon, Amarion, and NyJaylon because they were my first students in 2011. Their parents helped me build a foundation that has carried over into 2016. I salute you!
We might #BeginSmall BUT WE WILL #FinishStrong