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Employee Spotlight: Gladys Mae Bullock

Employee Spotlight: Gladys Mae Bullock
Posted on 04/28/2014
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Pasadena ISD’s Employee Spotlight recognizes valued employees whose exemplary performance improves the quality of students’ educational experiences in our schools.

This month, the district is proud to recognize Miller Intermediate’s Campus Independent Study Monitor, Gladys Mae Bullock.

A public speaker, poet and entrepreneur, Gladys channels her experiences into her writing. From poetry to prose, she shares her stories with students to help them overcome adversity and teach them how to learn and grow from those experiences.

Her first book, entitled, Ten Cents of Your Own is Better Than Twenty-Five Cents of Someone Else’s helped her through a painful period in her life. But thankfully, her pain has become part of her success. “I believe that I experienced these hard lessons so I can deliver some type of inspiration to students and to the world.” ~ Gladys Mae Bullock

Gladys was tickled when she found out that we wanted to feature her in this month’s Employee Spotlight. When she took us on a tour of her classroom, there was a contagion of energy that transferred from the colorful displays of poetry on the walls to students walking in the room. When the bell rang for school to begin, her students were eager to begin morning discussions about a poetry assignment they received prior to class. Much like many of Gladys’ assignments, students were required to think critically and share their feelings about the poem with the rest of the class. Each student was completely engaged in the discussion. It was like watching a battle of the minds.  “Kids look at these posters and they enjoy asking about them because it causes them to think outside of the box,” she said.

There’s more to Gladys than what you see in the video. Read the Q&A below to learn more about our inspiring employee.

Bullock’s Passion for Poetry Puts Students on Path to Self-Discovery 

Gladys talks about how she uses poetry as an “instrument of inspiration.”

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A: A typical day for Gladys Mae Bullock is waking up between three-thirty and four o’clock and exercising, as I did this morning and every morning. I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years. I write a lot. I do a lot of things on the weekend. From poetry readings to backpacking and climbing mountains, I stay extremely active. That’s the only way I know how to live. My medication is exercise. Once I get that going, I’m good for the day. And sometimes I follow that up with a cup of coffee.

Q. How did you get into hiking?

A: I got into hiking from walking around my block. I love to walk. Walking has a rhythm and that rhythm bred the poetry. That’s how that got started. It was a simple walk around the block. There was a poem, entitled, Out, one of my signature poems that I recite while I’m at a reading. (she recited her poem from memory):

It started out as a simple walk.
It took me from block to block 
From thought to thought-
I came out.

The self I had lost was finally coming out.
The joy that comes from hearing the birds sing
Or feeling the wind against my face
And seeing the trees sway back and forth.

With each step of my feet,
The joy that comes from the sight and the sounds of nature
Had more importance-
The self in me was coming out.

As I felt the rhythm of my footsteps, 
The thoughts of the joy of feeling 
And thinking of life 
And how I could simply walk to enjoy it-
I came out.

I could no longer stop challenging myself
With new ideas and experiences
Fear has left me 
And confidence has come out,
By me simply,
Simply, Walking.
 

I actually pinned that poem in my head while walking in my neighborhood some years ago. It represents moving your feet, moving your mind and changing with time. Every poem, every story of my life is autobiographical. It is something that I have experienced and I would like to share with the world. I have walked many miles in this life.

Why do you display poetry posters on the walls?

I like for people to think critically. I encourage entrepreneurship. I owned and operated a small HOSA bakery for seven years. I was featured on Channel 13 News. I had accounts from Baytown to Houston and Austin. I want people to take risks because as a business owner, you have to do things that are not like the norm.

I knew that when I was five years old, I was destined to be a speaker. I hid behind my foolishness. I made some crazy choices. But those choices led me here and helped me to write and inspire and encourage people. I’m here as an agent of encouragement. If you ever see me and I don’t say something encouraging, that’s not who I am. It’s in my DNA. It’s because of my own journey, low self-esteem, fear, that I now use that to write about and speak about. I am convinced that how we think about ourselves is how we make poor or good choices. But most of these choices are centered around those emotions (she points to one of her posters).

These posters are about self-discovery. Most of us will not take the time to think about ourselves. But to sit in silence and really think about ourselves is rare. In this class, students do that and I am so grateful to get to share my world with them. It is such an honor.

To learn more about Gladys, please visit the following link: http://gmbullockcommunication.wordpress.com/about/