Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

Teaching really isn’t about the paycheck.  It’s about changing lives, building futures, and creating leaders.

Being a teacher can be overwhelming and exhausting at times especially if you teach from your heart and soul.  Many students will fight you tooth and nail about every paper, every test, and every assignment.

What inspires me to teach year after year? These two simple words, Thank You!

At the end of each year, two or three students either apologize for their misbehavior or they thank me for all of my hard work.

Food for thought: Appreciation and gratitude go a long way.

There are millions of teachers around the world that really care about their craft and how effective they are at implementing it.  I always tell people that I teach to the student and not the subject.  Since I am an English teacher, my primary job is to focus on reading, spelling, and grammar.  That being said, I am willing to put a perfect grammar lesson aside in order to motivate a student about life and goals.  At the end of the day, it’s their heart that we are after.

If you are a teacher, mentor, pastor, counselor or tutor, please use every moment as a teaching moment.  If we work together, we can change one mind at a time!!

This article can also be viewed on the Children’s Writers’ Guild website.


Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Los Angeles, CA: Today, Building Voices, an independent publishing company that specializes in Children’s Fiction, announced their new Kickstarter project. After creating the Kickstarter account nearly two weeks ago, Building Voices is increasing its fan base with over 50 Twitter followers and 28 likes on Facebook.

Building Voices’ CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva said, “Knowing that parents and teachers support our movement has been one of my proudest moments as an educator. I’ve worked with children for over ten years and one of the major issues that they face is their inability and lack of passion to read. Our goal is for more children to devote their time to reading.”

About Building Voices: Building Voices is a children’s publishing company based in Los Angeles, CA. Founded in 2011, Building Voices is steadily gaining interest from parents, teachers and school officials. Building Voices is scheduled to publish their first book in December 2014 called Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles.

Kickstarter.com is a crowd funding platform for entrepreneurs who wish to publish a book or to produce a movie, television show, CD and more.

I launched my first Kickstarter project on April 28, 2014.  It took about two weeks to upload the files and showcase the highlights of Building Voices, an independent publishing company that specializes in Children’s Fiction.  I included testimonials from professionals in the industry in addition to my bio and pictures of various speaking events.  Also, I provided the readers with the synopsis to my first book, Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles.

The day the project was launched, I mailed out letters and sent out emails to friends and family members soliciting their donations.  Also, I sent out various press releases to daily and weekly newspapers in addition to making frequent Facebook and Twitter posts.  I was extremely excited and felt that I had covered all bases.  I eventually realized that I should have promoted my project and sent out my press release way in advance, giving everyone enough time to run my story.

Although my Kickstarter project wasn’t successful the first time around, I still plan to publish my book Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles in December 2014.  I will relaunch my Kickstarter project again in June 2014, in hopes of raising enough money to secure my editor and illustrator.  This time around, I will focus more on my book rather than the company.

Check out: Launching My Kickstarter Project: Round 2


We are often inundated with work, bills, family, health issues, chores and day-to-day responsibilities.

Our brain simply cannot handle the stress nor properly compartmentalize all the clutter we load into it.

Many of us have blown the fuse to our power source and haven’t taken a moment to recharge our minds in order to think freely and clearly.  It is imperative that we practice daily rituals that sweep our mental waste and debris out of our minds.

1: Breathe and relax. Try to take the physical and mental pressure away by taking a deep breath and practice certain relaxation techniques.  Listening to soft music, lighting candles and getting a massage are likely to do the body good.

2: Get organized. It’s important that we learn to plan ahead and stay on top of things.  Don’t sweep your responsibilities under the rug; better yet, learn to conquer them and sweep them into the trash.

3: Eat healthy and exercise. A proper nutrition and diet will give your brain the fuel it needs in order to survive and maintain a steady lifestyle.

4. Try not to worry. Recognize that there are things in our control and things that are not in our control.  Reduce your stress by tackling the problems that you are able to accomplish and seek God’s help for those that are unattainable on your own.

5. Eliminate and avoid. You must prioritize your life, duties and expectations.  Ask yourself what’s most important to you?  When you find the answer, start there. Eliminate television and avoid people and tasks that simply drain too much of your time and energy.

6. Reflect. Take at least 30 minutes out of your day to do nothing other than think, analyze, ponder and reflect.  Use this time to focus on what worked and what didn’t work.

7. Change your surroundings. Team up with positive people who motivate and encourage you to do better and live better.  Negativity often leads to doubt which can lead to more worry and stress.

I hope this helps!

Tip 1 of 6 Tips for Aspiring Writers

When you first begin writing, don’t pay attention to formatting and structure, just focus on getting out all of your thoughts and ideas.  Make sure that you set the scene, give all of your characters names and start putting together the conflict and action within the story.  As you focus on setting, ask yourself where do you want the story to take place?  Is it based in the 1950’s and 1960’s or is it based in today’s society?  Now start to think about geographic location.  Is it based in California or some made up city?  If you decide to write a fiction piece, then you have endless opportunities.  You also want to consider whether the story takes place in the day or night and does the whole story take place during a specific season, during an intense weekend, on a deserted island or at a drama infused wedding?

Next, as you name your characters, make sure that you describe their physical appearance, emotions, actions as well as their personality.  Character development is extremely important.  We want to know and feel who your characters are.  Are they tall or short?  Are they quiet or feisty?  What culture are they from?  How old are they? Remember to show and not tell!  Let me give you an example.

Tell: Tom is ten years old today.

Show: Tom blew out all ten candles from his birthday cake.

Tell: Robert wears glasses.

Show: Robert jumped down from the tree; luckily his glasses didn’t fall off.

Finally, make sure that you have a plot.  Your plot is basically the events that make up your story.  What is your plan, your storyline and what do you want your characters to accomplish? Now throw in some conflict and rivalry and now you have a story.

Have fun writing!

Aspiring Writers Tip 2
Aspiring Writers Tip 3
Aspiring Writers Tip 4
Aspiring Writers Tip 5
Aspiring Writers Tip 6


Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.

A figurative mirror is completely different than a literal mirror which hangs in your restroom and projects a physical image. A literal mirror is commonly used for personal grooming whereas our figurative mirror is used to observe, cleanse and sanitize our inner being. A figurative mirror simply projects what’s in your heart and soul. It is a gateway to your inner core and has the ability to help you look inside of yourself to view what’s good and bad. It gives you the opportunity to later change the things that you don’t like about yourself.

We should spend more time looking inward than outward because who we really are lives inside of our heart and not through our physical appearance. Here’s the million dollar question, what do you see when you look into the mirror?

If it takes a village to raise a child then where is the village?

Issue #3: One major issue in our educational system is parent participation.  Most parents work and have their child’s best interest at heart, but they fail to realize the importance of their presence at school.  Regardless if you’re attending Back to School Night or Coffee with the Principal, it is imperative that the school, the teachers and your child don’t view you as an absent parent.   There is a direct correlation between parent participation and academic achievement.  See articles below:



Tip #3: At the beginning of each school year, make sure that you obtain a school calendar.  This is important because it lists the events for the year.  Make sure you attend as many things as possible, especially Back to School Night, Open House and Parent Conference.   If you are unable to make an important event, make arrangements for a family member to attend in your place.  It takes a village to raise a child, but it first starts at home with the parents.

What sort of mindset do you have?  Are you a positive or negative thinker?  Are you optimistic or pessimistic?  Are you hopeful or doubtful?  Do you complain or pray?  Do you sink or swim?

Our mindset and the way we think are powerful tools designed to either lift us up or bring us down.  The way we deal with problems, setbacks, hurdles and obstacles speak volumes about who we are on the inside.  Our outlook on life will be displayed to others by the way we think, speak and live.  What are you displaying to the world?

We don’t have the ability to schedule when our tragedies should come and go.  We must remember that tragedies are spontaneous, sudden and unplanned.  Just like God, they are not a respecter of persons.

Wouldn’t it be nice to plan every single event that occurs in our life? Sure, but this isn’t realistic.  What is realistic is the ability to change our mindset after each life occurrence.  So you’ve spent ten years in jail.  Is life over for you or just beginning?  Change the way you think, motivate yourself, flood your brain with knowledge and start making the right decisions for you and your family.

Maybe you lost your home and feel that your sense of security has been stripped from you.  You’re right, to some degree it has, but what is your next chess move?  How about roll up your sleeves, save your money and try to purchase again?

I know you’re probably thinking that I sound cocky and all of the above just doesn’t work for most people.  I have spent many days looking into my figurative mirror and changing certain things about myself especially my mindset.  That being said, I am very confident that we all can change the way we think and ultimately change our life just by telling ourselves that it is possible.

Don’t limit yourself.  Think better, live better and do better!!

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