Pushing Your Sons Out of the Nest

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Today, I am happy to announce my oldest son was pushed out of the nest last week and on October 13th, he learned to fly independently! He is moving to Mississippi. He is driving with a few friends to Mississippi and living in his own apartment across from his dad, my ex-husband.

Image Credit: Dr. Sheila Pope

For the single mothers struggling to let go of their adult sons, listen to your inner voice and trust God to help you release them. I held on to Chris out of fear that he would not survive without my help. Yet this last year, I realized I prepared him to become an awesome young man. Last week, I realized I needed to let him go before I killed his spirit and before I killed his motivation to survive. 

When I released him, I had peace. I had no worries. When he returned with his plan, I knew I made the right choice as a mother. His sibilings were happy to see him and to know they could talk with him via the phone. Chris was not angry with me. He had his chest stuck out. He is finally getting his road trip. Now, his father in heaven and his dad can help him become a responsible man. 

When he came to say goodbye last night before leaving, I gave him several hugs, told him I loved him, and gave him his cell phone.  I will admit I was proud of him. I asked if he was sure of his plans and he said yes he was sure. 

I have three more children to raise as a single mom and I am excited to start this new journey. Chris has helped me so much with the children, but they are able to rock and roll with me now. My life changes too! However, I will not let fear and discomfort cause me to hinder Christopher’s ability to become the man of his own home. 

Single moms we have to know when to let go of our baby boys. When they are taller than us, can talk back to us, capable of manipulating us, they  are not paying any bills, they are taking more than they give, they are failing to see you as a blessing, they are a high school graduate, they are intelligent, they are physically able to work, and they are 18 years of age with a car, it is time to push them out of the nest.

Moms don’t let fear hold you hostage and cause you to create a irresponsible man. Let go and let God show you how to support him from a distance.

My SMART Board

Written by Dr. Sheila Pope

smart-board

Well, it finally happened; I have fallen in love again! For the last 10 years, I have taught my English classes at Texas Southern University (seven years) and Worthing High School with my personal Epson projector, my Logistics speakers, and my laptop computer. Finally, when Worthing’s students and teachers moved into their new building and classrooms, we were given new technology.

I love all things tech! I loved and cherished my Epson because I paid for it out of pocket. I understood the value of having a large screen,  great visuals and clear, loud audio in a classroom. Yet I could not interact with my content until now.

I walked into my new beautiful classroom and was instantly interested in playing with my SMART BOARD. No one provided training, but I did not really need it. At first, I just tried to move the screen up and down with my hands. I like making the text shrink or expand with my fingertips. I started downloading more of its software.

Gradually I began to develop strong feelings for my board. The more I played with it, the more I appreciated its capabilities. One day last month, my baby crashed. I was sick! I always incorporate tech into my lessons.

When it was working, I started playing my videos using surround sound. My computer was always locked into its docking station. Then, I was given a remote. The IT guy, Mr. Albert, reset my baby when it crashed. After the crash, I was more determined to learn more about its abilities.

Video: Falling in Love with My SMARTBOARD 

I learned it has so many superpowers! I became excited; I laughed as I learned what real interaction and engagement with content meant. I quickly learned I loved my SMART Board!

Today, I am a part of the SMART Board community. I am still learning what it can do, but I love the way it makes me feel when I annotate text on the screen. I love pasting stamps. I think the spotlight is my favorite tool.

This is the beginning of a beautiful love affair. I cannot teach in another classroom without a SMART Board. When I attended a training at another campus, I passed by a classroom with a chalkboard and laughed. I did not think teachers were still using a chalkboard. I am blessed to work in a district that promotes high-tech tools.

There are a few issues with my SMART Board, but the joy I feel when it works makes me continue to love it.

Tech in My Classroom

by Sheila Pope, PhD

This month, I was determined to introduce my students to various apps. They have worked so hard on STAAR and they needed a break. Well, I needed one too! Using technology is relaxing to me.

I decided I wanted my students to go outside and enjoy Worthing’s beautiful landscape. Believe it or not, my students had not taken the time to “smell the roses.” Many of them asked, “Do we really have roses on campus?” We used ThingLink application to make our photos interactive and engaging. The kids were everywhere and they really enjoyed using the app. I wanted them to share their experiences using ThingLink. Therefore,  I introduced them to WordPress.com to create a blog.

Next, we used Screencastomatic.  I used my webcam and my recorder to record my actions on the screen. My students wanted to know if they could record themselves playing videos. Being an old school Centipede game player, I recorded myself playing the game. Most of my students downloaded the software immediately. They will use the software next week to record a video for class.

We used Khan Academy’s grammar application for the first time this year. When I think of Khan Academy, I think of their math tutorials but they have added a new focus- writing My students needed to review basic grammar and this program was just the help I needed. My students loved the fact they could compete with each other too. I also gave my students with the highest scores treats too. Everyone earned participation point regardless of their scores. It was a win-win situation!

My students needed to improve their vocabulary skills, so I created classes on vocabulary.com. I had planned to use Vocabulary.com last year but did not do it. This year, my classes are on fire! The application feeds their need for competition and it helps them learn at a rapid pace. We have a common goal to become the top school on the Vocabulary Leader Board

Moreover, I played a very exciting game of Kahoot with my students. We read “Animal Farm” and we watched the movie. I felt a quiz was the perfect ending to the unit. All of my classes played and each of my classes loved it. The Assistant Principal came in during the game and she was so happy to see all of the students engaged. My students were loud but they were thinking too! Next, my students will are going use Kahoot to create reviews and quizzes for their peers.

The last app I introduced to my students was Educreation.com. It allows students to annotate, to record and to create videos in a short amount of time. Today, my students used the app to  demonstrate how to solve STAAR edit and revise questions. I was so happy to have some of my students share some of their work with Jennifer Gingerich, the Discovery Ed Consultant. My students worked as a team to create their projects.

https://www.educreations.com/lesson/embed/38488987/?s=3aCNPx&ref=embed

I started this process on April 4th and we have been moving rapidly. Next year, since our school is fully a PowerUp school, I will integrate the apps into my classes earlier with very specific activities. I think my students will stay engaged more and I will have more fun too.

A New Challenge by Sheila Pope, Ph.D

After years of struggle, I finally finished my doctorate degree. In the photo, I am standing in front of tiny pieces of paper that represent  huge chunks of my life. I am standing in front of teaching certificates, state licenses and four degrees that I have willingly sacrificed my love life, happy hours with the girls, and family time with my children. I do not regret one missed event. I have become a Capella PhDiva! I rock that shirt and all that it implies.

However, I find myself in a new tricky spot. I am at peace with my journey to become Dr. Pope, but I am not sure what to do next. You see, I set goals constantly and I never have too much free time. I have tons of things that I want to do, but I question the timing of each goal. I do not have a clear direction and that is scary for me. It is easier to stay in my bubble of education. I control the outcome in education. I going to disclose a secret: I have five degrees and multiple certificates. I excel in academics! Real life cannot be controlled by me. I do not control the outcomes of relationships.

I purchased Shonda Rhimes’ audio book,  Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person. I have been too tired to read anything and my eyes are always jumping which is my signal to let me know my eyes are strained. I loved listening to her book; it made me think about writing, being a single mom and my self imposed limits. It motivated me to say yes to my next challenge.

As I enter 2016, I am thinking about what I want to accomplish personally and professionally. I have things that I talk about with friends and I have dreams that I do not share with anyone. My next challenge will not include school. I am clear that I want to take a break from “going to school”.

Capella’s PhD program was an online program, but I spent hours every day for three months with tunnel vision focused on completing my dissertation. From July to September 2015, I breathed and ate my dissertation. I worked with my mentor from Capella consistently. I never saw his face, but I looked at his words daily. I feared his editorial comments. It is amazing how energy I put into becoming Dr. Pope. I was left depleted after I submitted my last edits. I am still unsure, if there were errors that I missed. I was left with one clear thought:  There is no desire burning within me to complete another degree!

My career and personal life are my next challenges. My family life needs a fresh perspective. My body need to be cared for in many ways. My business needed a new direction and my mind needs rest. My desire to write for fun has been tugging at my heart. Shonda Rhimes says, “If you are a writer, you should write.” I am going to write more and share more while not sharing too much. I am getting ready for my next challenge. I am ready to leave my comfort zone and stretch myself more.

 

Wiped Out by Sheila Pope

wiped out

I have been quiet for a couple of months. I finished my draft of chapters 3-5 of my dissertation. They almost finished me too! I started July with tons of energy and hope. I stopped any activities that would distract me from completing my goal of submitting my chapters by August 15, 2014. I stopped posting on my blog too!

The Plan

FOCUS-ON-PLANI planned to submit my first draft on August 15. Well, I had to quickly adjust that date. I started typing chapter 4 and began to question everything I thought I wanted to write. Then, I committed to finishing by August 18. I went to my office at my job and worked until 11:00pm week nights; I  worked all day on Saturday and Sundays. My oldest son held down the fort at home. I went without fun and money. More important, I went without support. I met with my academic advisor from Capella on August 18. After our meeting,  I knew I had to finish on time. He motivated me to keep my eyes on the prize. I was exhausted and frightened. I did not know if I had organized the information correctly. I questioned if I wrote too much. I questioned how to end chapter 5 with a bang. More important, I feared I would not honor my participants’ experiences. 

Ending a Relationship

I submitted my chapters on August 19. I knew my mentor was going out-of-town. breakupWe communicated via the phone and some in the courseroom. I knew I needed to make major adjustments to the Chapters 4 & 5, but I need his feedback. I was lost; I needed his guidance. I did not receive what I needed in a timely manner. In the end, there was a break in our communication. I felt devastated because I knew ending my relationship with my mentor was necessary to move ahead. I realized something as a professor from a student’s perspective. Online education requires feedback from all parties. Online education cost too much to flounder in the dark. Students have to ask for help and professors have to provide quality feedback in a timely manner. I waited until the end of the quarter before I made my final decision. Changing a mentor is a serious and scary task. I waited until I was thinking clearly before I made my request. I feel changing a mentor should be the last resort, but I believe sometimes it is necessary for survival. My dissertation advisor quickly responded to my request for a new mentor. I still like and respect my former mentor; however, I need someone who sees the finish line and can help get me there. 

Stressed 

I did not stressedexpect to feel so mentally exhausted after submitting my chapters. I literally needed two weeks to get my energy level back. I taught five classes in person, and I coached two online. I am guilty of teaching with too much passion. Often, I do not realize how busy I really am until my body stops.  I took on too much. I was in the middle of designing an online education course. I stopped when I tackled chapters 4 & 5.  I have four children and a dog. Everyone ate hot dogs and cheap fast food during July and August.  I  had the nerve to enroll in the Adobe Train the Trainer (8 weeks) program. I finished the chapters, completed my Adobe Training, and I taught my classes.

Money

I fought with two of my employers this summer over money. There was a change in the way I expected to be paid this summer. No one bothered to tell the employees that thefight over moneyy would be paid in three payments for summer. I paid my tuition and got a new car based on money that did not come when I expected it. Child support was MIA too. I spent most of my time praying to have ENOUGH to pay my bills and feed my children. I was mentally tired from trying to collect a check from my consulting work and my other employer. There is nothing worse than dealing with financial issues and writing your dissertation. By August 1st, I was so drained from begging people to cut a check that I wanted to give up. Luckily, I have good friends that prayed and encouraged me. God stretched my faith this summer.

The Release

By the end of September, I had enough.  I quite trying to get feedback from my mentor. I accepted my employer did not see the value of communicating with their employees when a major change was going to occur with their pay. I knew I could not continue to work as a consultant for that company that never sent my check until two faxes and multiple phone calls. I do not beg for money. That defeats the purpose of working. I realized I would not finish my PhD before December 2014. I also realized that I hated hot dogs! I am still digging myself out of the financial destruction caused by the miscommunication with my employer.

The Turn Around

Happy puppyI realized I was blessed during all of the craziness. I submitted my chapters as a draft. I became an Adobe Education Trainer. I have a safe vehicle that works for a mom that drops off and picks up her children. My wonderful boss did not give me a raise, but she gave me a great schedule that allowed me to pick-up my children everyday and cut down my daycare by $1000.00 a month. She provided an office with a window. I love it. She gave me a promotion and a wonderful TA to assist with the eight classes this fall. It is an honor to help him grow as a professional.  Yes, I am still hurt over the way we were paid this summer, but I love my boss and the team I work with. My students are so supportive; therefore, I will continue to teach with passion. Teaching is my lifeline! After this summer, I have more stories to share with my students. I have new reasons to empathize with them.  

My Writing Process Blog Tour by Sheila Pope

My Writing Process Blog Tour1975002_10203179337583343_1691525101_n I’ve been invited to join the #mywritingprocess blog tour by Dr. Allana Todman-Da Graca, the author of Tomorrow Can’t Wait and Temple: Self Discovery Through Truth. I met Dr. Todman-Da Graca as a PhD candidate at Capella University. Today, Dr. Todman-Da Graca is an artist and a professor. My instructions are to answer three questions for you: 1.

What am I working on? Writing: I am currently completing my dissertation. I have published an e-book, Writing Essentials: Strategies to Master Freshmen English and Writing Placement Exams. I plan to submit an article for a journal submission this month. Well, I blog frequently too. However, for the next two months my dissertation is my primary focus. Therefore, I will post my thoughts about the process.

Recordings: I am creating videos for my On-demand Lecture Series too. This is a complicated process. I love the challenge of creating and using technology. My writing process encompasses using technology and my experiences to create little snippets for my audience to “see” into my world.

2. How does my work differ from others in that genre? My e-textbook is different from other books because it has been written for English language learners, veterans and an urban audience. The book provides strategies for learners with special needs such as dyslexia and post stress disorders. Most books with an emphasis on placement exams do not address learners with special needs.

3. Why do I write what I do? My Publication The first reason I wrote my e-book was to incorporate my love of technology and the English language. I also needed a textbook for my non-course based WRIT 101 course that would incorporate all of my teaching needs. I wanted to show students how to conduct research, how to develop strong sentences, and I wanted my students to be able to access their material from any electronic device. Moreover, I understood students needed to know where to focus their time when preparing for placement exams. More important, I understood how important it was for students of different races to see themselves in a textbook. Finally, this book was created to address learners with different learning needs.This content of this book addresses various learners and their learning styles.

My Blog My blog focuses on various topics.  I talk about everwebsite photoything from gardening to politics.  My struggle to complete my PhD will take center stage for the next couple of months. I think my blog is different from other blogs because I share my experiences from a female middle class point of view. Although I am an instructor, I am a student too. My views on education varies depending on which set of lens I use. In my posts, I share my honest personal opinions. I use my blog as a place to express my views, my fears, and my faults. Moreover, the blog questions other people’s position on sex, socioeconomic standings, education, and politics.

Capella Sisters Finishing Their Journey by Sheila Pope

A Coca-Cola, Smartphone, Burrito, Pen, Note Pad and other Published Dissertations
coca-cola, smart phone, and dissertations

I met Deirdre through Capella University. We met in Dallas, Tx during a colloquia. We bonded instantly. Dee is attractive, ambitious, a leader, smart, funny, and determined to obtain her PhD. We share the same characteristics and determination. We met almost six years ago.

Along the way, I became seriously ill, divorced, and ran out of student loan money. Dee was promoted on two jobs, dated, and traveled around the US. However, we managed to speak to each other regularly. Our friendship grew because we needed each other.

We found the journey to complete our doctorates from Capella University required support and understanding from true friends/supporters. We learned we needed to surround ourselves with people who understood our plight. We have heard horror stories along the way. Some of our Capella Sisters graduated and some quit their programs to complete other goals.  As a matter of fact, Dee quit for one year. I had to stop for a year due to health issues and financial setbacks. Yet we came back to Capella and decided we would complete what we started.

I went to Dallas as a delegate for the Democratic State Convention. However, I wanted to see my family and my Capella Sisters. I met with Deborah W., Wanda M., and Deirdre Hill. The four of us share a special bond: we are single African-American females completing a PhD online. All of us enrolled in Capella University with the goal of earning a PhD in psychology.

Deirdre was about to complete her dissertation before me this summer. However, she realized she needed to make some serious changes before she submitted her dissertation to her committee. So, we met on a Sunday morning on June 29, 2014 to edit her draft.

Luckily, I was able to obtain some participants for my study. Therefore, I could write-up my cases and finish this summer too. I knew how I wanted the format of my dissertation to look. Dee gave me vital information to help me write my dissertation. I gave her my two cents on edits. I had not planned to stay another day in Fort Worth, but my friendship with Dee is a true sisterhood. I knew we could help each other finish what we started six years ago.

Capella Sisters Finishing What We Started

Looking at our photo tells the story. I did not comb my hair; Deirdre was doing the natural look. We were a hot mess! We were in Starbucks inside of Tom Thumb Grocery completing the journey. It has taken me almost 10 years to complete my doctorate. Dee has been my friend for six of those years. We have searched the literature, shared our frustrations about collecting data. We have shared our ah moments. We see ourselves in the literature. We call each other Dr. Hill and Dr. Pope.

We are currently writing chapter four and five of our dissertations. We will complete our journey by the end of this quarter. We are both single, determined and grateful for our journey through Capella University. She will walk across the stage ahead of me at our graduation (Hill before Pope). Yet we will both stand by each other after graduation and throughout our lives. #Capellaproud

Publication Spotlight by Sheila Pope

Great River Technologies Blog
Greatriverblog.com
Great River Tech Twitter Account
@GreatRiverTech

I am honored to have my first publication, Writing Essentials: Strategies to Master Freshmen English and Placement Exams, spotlighted by Great River Technologies. The interview and was posted on the publisher’s website and Twitter feed (click here to read the interview). Digital publishing in the future. I am glad that I am actively playing a role in the future of education and publishing.

If any of you want to publish a digital textbook, I suggest you contact Michelle N. Smith, Senior Acquisitions Manager, at Great River Technology@ msmith@greatrivertech.net or by phone @1-512-663.2834.