Embracing Growth at Our Edges

May 3, 2021

“Inward, Upward, Outward, Onward”

That’s my catch phrase to describe the essence of my new book, Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work. The book is available for purchase here and you can read more about it here and learn more about the workshop I am facilitating around the content here. And, you can see me talk about the ideas here. So many links.

This new work and sheltering in place have both asked me to go inward reflectively and inside literally. In the last 14 months I have been asked to grow (up) emotionally, socially, and psychologically. And now, God willing, with the vaccine we will be together again – going outward and onward. We are stretching back into the world.

I wrote the book to be a contribution to the conversation of how we can move forward with more self-regulation, maturity, and strength. We will need to manage both our inner and outer tensions to do so. It isn’t easy work, but it is essential.

My colleague, Jennie, gently asked me if there was an appetite for this book at this time. I respectfully said I wasn’t sure people had a hunger to do add anything else their plate as many feel they are full up. Yet here we are, needing to move forward with focus and grace into the upcoming school year. So an appetite for the book? Maybe. A need for it? Absolutely.

A need for:

  • being more capable and prepared to work towards increased equity, inclusion and belonging in our workplaces
  • being able to suspend our certainty and work toward more inquiry in our conversations and discussions
  • being able to live as an even more stable, rooted person and not as a stressed out and reactive one
  • being an empathic and skillful colleague who is a value add in each group she joins
  • being one who understands what it can look like and sound like to increase psychological safety in a team by one’s actions and language
  • being able to express concerns not complaints, and to ask for clarification and help with more agility and purpose
  • being happier and more grounded in our interactions and our workplaces

So in the spirit of moving outward and onward in our work, ask yourself:

  • What are my learning edges – where can I grow (up)?
  • What might be the next ‘stretch’ learnings for my team?
  • What’s next for me in my development and on my learning journey?
  • What is it time for me to unlearn in order to move forward?

To stretch and to engage with our edges should be a consistent practice – we must always be learning and unlearning. I write books that are at least one size too big for me and this is yet another one of those books. I look forward to stretching at our learning edges together.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cool Resources

We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina Love. “Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex. To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist.”

The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift by Rabbi Steve Leder. “This inspiring and comforting book takes us on a journey through the experience of loss that is fundamental to everyone. Yet even after having sat beside thousands of deathbeds, Steve Leder the rabbi was not fully prepared for the loss of his own father. It was only then that Steve Leder the son truly learned how loss makes life beautiful by giving it meaning and touching us with love that we had not felt before.”

Teaching with Light: Ten Lessons for Finding Wisdom, Balance and Inspiration by Carol Pelletier Radford. “It takes courage, positivity, and passion to thrive as a teacher. This vivid and inspirational guide offers educators practical wisdom and strategies to promote their wellbeing and balance. Pelletier Radford shares 10 important lessons for a fulfilling and lifelong career in education. In each lesson, readers will find: stories of resilience from classroom teachers, self-care tips and assessments, reading plans and podcasts with inspiring teachers and leaders.”