Go Out And Be Changed

June 2, 2016

I remember reading that writer, Ralph Fletcher, author of Craft Lessons, had a snake skin on his desk to always remember to molt.

My Zen calendar for June 1st had a quote from Walt Whitman, “Now I see the secret of making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

The Sun magazine featured an interview this month with Craig Childs, writer, naturalist and wilderness explorer. His comment was, “I’m kind of a transformation junkie: I want to go out and be changed.”

Having returned from a few weeks of work in New Zealand where I was sung in at schools in Maori, offered lodging in homes, worked with rural and sole charge principals who know how to do everything including bleed a generator, had a dinner with Yorkshire pudding and roast beef with Rotary members who were sheep breeders, and am still stuffed on scones, cream and jam, I am changed.

I don’t want to write a travel log. It would be fun, but not particularly useful. One doesn’t need to move from location to location to discover. One, however, does need to want to transform no matter where they are.

I want the newness. I want the tastes, sounds, smells and sights around me to change and the discussion to provoke me, to move me. To me, that is living. Ken O’Connor, my colleague who focuses on assessment practices, has on his website, “I have not worked in Yukon, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Alaska, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Opportunities to work in that province and those territories and states will receive special consideration.”

Like Ken, I say ‘Yes’ to invitations that offer me the privilege to engage with those I am not with in my day to day. In the next few months, my summer plans include small towns, drives through mountains, and time to see both Dollywood and some history (the Whitney Plantation outside New Orleans). I also have an ‘inside goal’ to be more open and embracing of the unplanned; to be optimistic and trust that the unorganized moments can yield wonderful experiences as well. Of all my travels, this inside journey will be the most important, I imagine.

Am I a transformation junkie? Yes. My name is Jennifer and I want to be changed.

Cool Resources

AS you can see, my website had a makeover! Updated and polished. I think it looks mighty fine and it is easy to navigate. Includes videos, blogs, and other resources, along with my calendar, workshop topics and my Twitter feed.

The Women in Leadership Institute website is live!. Corwin just posted its call for proposals. Please put in a workshop proposal and join us to learn from so many wonderful women (and men) from across the USA and Canada! Here’s a description of the conference:

Finding Our Voice: Women as Leaders in Education
Aspiring, emerging and current women leaders have been calling for a venue to meet together and learn from each other about issues of gender in the workplace and about opportunities for leadership in education. This institute will convene educators from across the globe for three days of learning from leaders in the field. Experience interactive sessions where you can develop your talents within your strands of interest including leadership, supervision, advocacy, authorship, consulting, and more. Smaller by design, this institute is more intimate, allowing for personalized support and true networking among attendees. Join us for real talk, laughter, skill building, and support. Join your peers to become stronger and more authentic and empowered leaders in education.

You will:

  • Explore gender issues and opportunities in educational leadership.
  • Learn to build leadership skills — as a team member, leader, supervisor, facilitator, or consultant — from peers and expert practitioners.
  • Establish a network of colleagues from around the world interested in changing the landscape of leadership.
  • Leave with practical knowledge that can be used immediately in your work with your team, school, district, or organization.

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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Praise for Jennifer

“Jennifer was one of the most engaging and dynamic speakers our conference has had, according to the attendees themselves. She received so many positive comments and her expertise is so well articulated and relevant, that we have subsequently invited her back to present and will continue to look for other ways to involve her. When other speakers are referencing her talk and content, the positive impression and impact she’s made is clear.”

Nicholas M. Perrino, President & CEO
Advanced Practice Provider Executives, Inc. (APPex)