September 1, 2016
Happy September! We’re off! Out of the gate. Running fast.
Endorphins are kicking in. Adrenalin is rushing. We are flying high. Until we start to sputter. It’s an inelegant way to say it, but we poop out. We can’t keep up this pace. Emotionally. Psychologically. We need to take a nap.
One of my friends, John, had mentioned in an email I read as I was moving fast, teaching daily and flying across several time zones per week, “Pace yourself.” I thought, “Yeah, yeah…I’m fine. Thanks for the reminder. Not needed, but thanks for the thought.”
And then the thought became reality. I got snippy with a participant in a session. The title of the session? Identity Safe Classrooms. Yes, seriously. Of all of the workshops I could have been facilitating that day, Identity Safe Classrooms was the one. It was right after morning break. It was a silly moment. I said something aloud unnecessarily. In front of everyone. (Grimace.)
Pow. “Pace yourself” hit me straight on. On a Friday morning – after a long week – and there I was…not my best adult self. In THAT session of all sessions. Oy. Nothing like irony…
And when the participant called me on it when I went up to his table, he was right. I hadn’t paced myself. I just didn’t have the emotional stamina to handle the moment as maturely as I should have. Ugh. I hate admitting I am human. No fun.
We think at the start of school we are invincible. We’re fine. We had a good summer. A fun time. A restful vacation. And then we find out we don’t have the stamina we thought we had. We need to pace. It’s the beginning of the school year – full of many adventures, and Monday mornings, and learnings. Take a knee. Breathe deep. It’s just the beginning, folks.
Sleep. Hydrate. Eat well. Walk. Practice extreme self-care. Meditate. Try listening to Davidji. Take naps when you can. Go easy, my fellow travelers.
Spent a few hours watching Vice Does America. What an adventure. “Last summer, VICE gave three of its employees a pretty simple mission: Drive through the heart of America and figure out what the hell is going on in the run up to the 2016 election…. So much of what VICE is known for right now is sending reporters to far off, dangerous places that are unfamiliar to a lot of Americans. VICE Does America is a reminder of what is ugly, beautiful, hateful, majestic, and tragic about our own backyard. Check it out to see your country like you’ve never seen it before.”
AITSL – The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership – has some great videos for educator observations. “These resources provide an introduction to some common observation strategies. Combining instructional guides and accompanying videos, the resources explain all you need to know to choose and implement an appropriate classroom observation strategy for your school.”
Why a Women in Leadership Conference? Author, consultant and colleague Jane Kise answers this very question and invites you to join us at the Women in Leadership Institute November 16-18 in New Orleans!
About 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 latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous 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.
Work with Jennifer
Praise for Jennifer
Honest, Humane and Growth-Producing
“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”