Friday, October 1, 2010

To Be Inspired

Inspiration comes from so many different places for me and my inspirations and aspirations have changed as I have grown. I remember being thirteen years old and my biggest inspiration at the time was Usher. Yes, Usher Raymond the singer. I figured that anyone so cute and sweet could hopefully one day be My Boo and I'll be the one he wants to have his relationship with. Usher inspired me to look for that perfect love he wrote about in his songs. Needless to say at thirteen I did not find it.

At eighteen years old I was introduced to an organization at Hunter College called SLAM (The Student Liberation Action Movement), I was inspired, mesmerized and down for the cause. SLAM planted the seeds of my revolutionary mind. SLAM opened up my eyes for the first time to really see America from a critical and analytical view through the eyes of the Civil Rights Movement and the people who fought for a livable wage, proper education, books over bombs and the list goes on. I was inspired by these group of students who took it upon themselves to raise awareness about the injustices at Hunter, NYC, NYS, USA and the whole world. I took action by protesting in the streets but more importantly my poetry flourished and grew into a force to be reckoned with. My words were strong, determined and powerful enough to capture the attention of many people. The quest for justice inspire me.

In 2005 at the age of 22 I started teaching GED in the Bronx to students who had not only been out of school for a very long time, but many of them had a hard time reading, they had felonies, some had children and many had parents who were absent or of no assistance to them. I was the same age or slightly older than many of my students, so my job was a little intimidating. However, I can only be me and I was highly trained and very skilled at my job so I just did what I do best, which is teach with compassion and respect. After only a few weeks of teaching my first GED class I was so moved. I would go home to my first apartment and really cry because the obstacles that my students had to overcome were greater than anything I could have seen in multiple lifetimes. Our program was completely voluntary so despite the odds stacked again them they still chose to come to school to change at least some of those odds. Every time I left my classroom I was so moved by the diligence and determination of my students. Of the ten students who took the GED from the very first class, seven of them passed all sections the very first time and the other three only failed one section. They went on to pass the other section six weeks later. If that didn't inspire me I didn't know what would.

I continued teaching GED but my demographic changed to teen parents. That element was powerful to watch because many of my students had no reliable childcare and they had to bring their children to class with them. To see young moms and dads with such a drive and a willingness to come to school no matter what was so inspiring that they made me a better teacher. After all, what did I have to complain about? I watched them come in and work their butts off because they wanted to be a parent that that child could look up to and be inspired by. If no one else was inspired I was. I am still inspired because I keep up with many of them on Facebook and to see their progress and the strides they have made since passing the GED is beautiful. Many of them have steady jobs, they are raising their children beautifully and some are seeking careers. The thought of their growth moves me to tears.

Although GED will forever be something I am interested in my inspiration now comes from several different places. I have to credit Oprah for being a HUGE inspiration. She rose from poverty, abuse and many doubts to be a solitary powerhouse who has inspired millions to transform their lives. They told her she couldn't and she said WATCH ME!!! That is pretty much where I am in life...WATCH ME!!! I am inspired to work for myself because I want my beautiful, little unborn daughter to know her mom as someone who stopped playing by someone else's rules and created my own game. I want her to get that anything you give your to and breathe life into, it becomes yours. My husband is also starting his own business because he too is done playing someone else's game. He inspires me because he works hard 24 hours of the day, even in his sleep his mind is working and creating ideas.

To be inspired is a beautiful thing. It can come from anywhere and once it hits you, its impossible for you to not take action. To be inspired is the have life breathed into you. A brand new breath of air. So that you can successfully pursue something that have always wanted to. I am inspired by my family, my friends, Oprah but I must say that my greatest inspiration of my life has been my students. They have pushed me to be a greater person and teacher. They took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond any limits I set for myself. I am thankful for the experience. Now....WATCH ME!!!! 

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