Take Notes with Jen Rafferty

How to develop your voice and deal with hard conversations for effective communication with Jennifer Abrams

January 11, 2024 Jen Rafferty Season 3 Episode 12
How to develop your voice and deal with hard conversations for effective communication with Jennifer Abrams
Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
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Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
How to develop your voice and deal with hard conversations for effective communication with Jennifer Abrams
Jan 11, 2024 Season 3 Episode 12
Jen Rafferty

Ever wondered how to voice your concerns without sparking conflict?

Even though teachers have credentials to teach and work with students, it is a different skill set to talk effectively with adults.

Effective communication with adults, colleagues, and administrators, allows educators to express their concerns without complaining and still maintain relationships, both personally and professionally. And that takes skill building, including naming their fears and hesitations and remembering that they are in a team.

So joining us today is Jennifer Abrams, an international educational and communications consultant and a trainer for coaches, teachers, and administrators, to talk about empowering educators through effective communication and dealing with hard conversations.

Jennifer also shares the need to balance one’s personal development and professional growth, the future of education through a human-centered approach, and why teacher support is essential. 

There is power in your voice and the support systems around you. So, never shy away from asking for support because that’s a path to growth. 

Here’s to your journey as an empowered educator! 

Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Jennifer:

Jennifer Abrams is an international educational and communications consultant for public and independent schools, universities and non-profits. Jennifer trains and coaches teachers, administrators and others on new teacher/employee support, having hard conversations, collaboration skills and being your best adult self at work. 

In her over two decades at Palo Alto Unified School District (Palo Alto, CA, USA), Jennifer was a high school English teacher, new teacher coach, and professional development facilitator. She left PAUSD in 2012 to start her full time communications consultancy in which she works with schools and organizations around the globe.

Jennifer presents at annual North American-based conferences such as Learning Forward, ASCD, NASSP, NAESP, AMLE, ISACS and the New Teacher Center Annual Symposium among others. Internationally, she facilitated with the Teachers' and Principals' Centers for International School Leadership (TTC and PTC) and presents with EARCOS, NESA, ECIS, AISA, AMISA, CEESA and Tri-Association, and consults with schools across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Canada.

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, Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives, and her newest book, Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work.

Jennifer has been recognized as one of "21 Women All K-12 Educators Need to Know" by Education Week's 'Finding Common Ground' blog. She considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices - be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of a group, coaching a colleague, supervising an employee. 

Connect with Jennifer:
Website: www.jenniferabrams.com
IG: @jenniferbethabrams
X: @jenniferabrams
LinkedIn

Show Notes Transcript

Ever wondered how to voice your concerns without sparking conflict?

Even though teachers have credentials to teach and work with students, it is a different skill set to talk effectively with adults.

Effective communication with adults, colleagues, and administrators, allows educators to express their concerns without complaining and still maintain relationships, both personally and professionally. And that takes skill building, including naming their fears and hesitations and remembering that they are in a team.

So joining us today is Jennifer Abrams, an international educational and communications consultant and a trainer for coaches, teachers, and administrators, to talk about empowering educators through effective communication and dealing with hard conversations.

Jennifer also shares the need to balance one’s personal development and professional growth, the future of education through a human-centered approach, and why teacher support is essential. 

There is power in your voice and the support systems around you. So, never shy away from asking for support because that’s a path to growth. 

Here’s to your journey as an empowered educator! 

Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Jennifer:

Jennifer Abrams is an international educational and communications consultant for public and independent schools, universities and non-profits. Jennifer trains and coaches teachers, administrators and others on new teacher/employee support, having hard conversations, collaboration skills and being your best adult self at work. 

In her over two decades at Palo Alto Unified School District (Palo Alto, CA, USA), Jennifer was a high school English teacher, new teacher coach, and professional development facilitator. She left PAUSD in 2012 to start her full time communications consultancy in which she works with schools and organizations around the globe.

Jennifer presents at annual North American-based conferences such as Learning Forward, ASCD, NASSP, NAESP, AMLE, ISACS and the New Teacher Center Annual Symposium among others. Internationally, she facilitated with the Teachers' and Principals' Centers for International School Leadership (TTC and PTC) and presents with EARCOS, NESA, ECIS, AISA, AMISA, CEESA and Tri-Association, and consults with schools across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Canada.

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, Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives, and her newest book, Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work.

Jennifer has been recognized as one of "21 Women All K-12 Educators Need to Know" by Education Week's 'Finding Common Ground' blog. She considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices - be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of a group, coaching a colleague, supervising an employee. 

Connect with Jennifer:
Website: www.jenniferabrams.com
IG: @jenniferbethabrams
X: @jenniferabrams
LinkedIn

Jen Rafferty  

As an educator, you are well versed in your content area, and you know a ton about pedagogy and different strategies about how to teach kids. But sometimes the real challenges occur in the interpersonal relationships with the other adults. Effective communication takes skill building, including naming your fears and hesitations and remembering that we really are here in this together. So joining us today is Jennifer Abrams, an international educational and communications consultant. And we talked about how we can empower educators through effective communication and navigating hard conversations, because your voice is powerful, and so is your ability to create support systems around you so that you can continue to show up as your best self. And to support you and building that team, I am so excited to share that Empowered Educator is offering one to one coaching for educators who are ready to step into a life without the pressure and stress and wants to leave the unending frustration behind. It's not that you don't want these things. It's that you don't believe that it's actually possible for you. But Empowered Educator one to one coaching will give you the tools to live your life both at work and at home with more ease, more joy, aligning with who you want to be in this world. Everything changes when you say yes to yourself, learn more at empowerededucator.com



Jen Rafferty

Are you caught in the whirlwind of overwhelming responsibilities, and as the very thought of Monday morning sent chills down your spine? Well, it's time to toss those feelings out the window. Welcome to season three of the Take Notes podcast, where you get to make yourself a priority in order to show up as your best self. I'm your host Jen Rafferty, former music teacher, emotional intelligence practitioner, mom of two, and founder of Empowered Educator, and I've been where you are. In this season, we're not just talking about surviving, we are diving deep into thriving. Are you ready to take the lead in your life? Well, let's do this.


Jen Rafferty 

Hello, and welcome back to another fabulous episode of Take Notes. I'm here with the wonderful Jennifer Abrams, who is an international educational and communications consultant for public and independent schools, universities, and nonprofits. Jennifer trains and coaches, teachers, administrators, and others on new teacher and employee support, having hard conversations, collaboration skills, and being your best adult self at work. Jennifer, thank you so much for being on the show. We have so many parallels and things in common with the work that we do, I cannot wait to have this conversation.


Jennifer Abrams 

Well, Aloha from the North Shore of Oahu where I am. I'm here. I'm working. I'm doing zooms. And thank you for having me. I appreciate it.


Jen Rafferty  

It is my pleasure. So let's dive in. Right before we recorded, I was so excited that your blog is called Voice Lessons. I'm partial to that. And really my mission here at Empowered Educator is to inspire people to discover their voice. And your word for next year, you said was empowered on that blog. Can you talk a little bit about finding your voice and feeling empowered using it?


Jennifer Abrams  

Yeah, I think that when I do my work on hard conversations, I can also say, finding your voice around what matters. I think that many of us have credentials. I mean, I think we feel this way that we have credentials on how to teach. We have credentials in how to work with students at different grade levels. We know our subject matter. We don't have as much comfort, I think, or credential background and how to talk effectively to adults. So we shirk away, or get frustrated by, or do whatever, around that kind of stuff. And so I want to empower people to develop. It isn't that they should feel like a loser it isn't that they should feel like they don't have what it takes. It really is a skill set. And I want to empower people to develop that because I think that they will thrive in their school with more effectiveness and find it more joyful if they have a capacity to talk more effectively with the other adults in the school.


Jen Rafferty 

Oh, 100%. And I think what happens is, we grow up, we go through adolescence, we get to a certain age, and I think we're just expected to know how to do this. But like you said, it is a skill set. And unless we are learning it explicitly, like algebra or chemistry, we don't necessarily have the right tools to use to communicate effectively. So, what are some of those tools that we think we have, but we're really missing the mark a little bit?


Jennifer Abrams

All of that is skill-building. And so I think I want to empower people to say you shouldn't just think you should know it. Don't panic. It isn't something that was probably taught to you. My parents didn't teach me that. I'm from Minnesota or No, yeah, you betcha. We're nice people. I don't have some of those verbal skills. And so let's teach them to each other so that we can be more effective.


Jennifer Abrams  

So I think that when we need to express a concern, and not have it be a complaint, there's a way to do that. I think on how to have a hard conversation with somebody that you still want to be in relationship with and do it in a humane and growth-producing way. How do you do that? We're talking about skills. We're talking about developing a capacity to do that. I need to learn how to apologize more effectively. I needed to learn how to coach new teachers. I needed to learn how to facilitate a group and to bring people back. I needed to manage resistance at the beginning of a team meeting.


Jen Rafferty  

Yeah, and you said the word nice that I kind of glommed on to a little bit because growing up for me, too, it was super important to be nice. And what nice meant was no conflict. They were mutually exclusive. You couldn't be nice and express a concern. And so navigating that as an adult has been very difficult until I've now established some tools and I've done learning myself. But conflict is inevitable, and it doesn't have to come at the expense of being nice. So can you talk a little bit about that?


Jennifer Abrams 

Yeah, I think that we need to acknowledge that we have what Kegan and Lahey, two professors from Harvard would say we have competing commitments. We want to be nice, but we're committed to speaking up. They're not mutually exclusive. You can be respected. You might not be seen as nice all the time. But is that exactly what you need? So we need to work on competing commitments, fear of not being liked, fear of not being perfect, fear of How do I do this with, they're my friend in small towns, and they're my colleagues. So how do I change hats?


Jennifer Abrams  

We need to name our fears and our hesitation. So that's one thing that we could do. And then we need to actually ask ourselves two things. One is, are we sure that we ever had a clarifying conversation with somebody about this? Like you have expectations in your head, but have they been made clear? Are the agreements out there? Are the expectations stated? So, maybe you don't even need to have a hard conversation, you just need to re-member yourself to that relationship and go over agreements or things that you think will help.


Jennifer Abrams  

The other thing is if you're going to have a conversation, and you got to be ready for what do you want to see instead of what you're seeing. And not to say it in a, "You're a loser if you have to have me spell it out for you." Actually, they asked for that. Yeah. So this goes with all of these workshops I do on clarifying conversations and having hard conversations and all of that, but it's not, it seems so logical when people, I was just in a training as I'm here in Hawaii, and I was in a training and somebody goes, "Wow, this is exactly what we know." Yeah, we know this, we don't do this. And so they felt very validated and embarrassed because it was like, unless it's on the front burner, unless it's what we think about all the time, we just don't do it, even though we know better. Yeah, just don't do better.


Jen Rafferty  

Yeah, I think so often, we, I found and maybe this is similar to your experience, people don't often need more information. They need reminders.


Jennifer Abrams  

Yes, exactly. It's exactly. And so I always talk about it as remembering, because you had a team that you were on. And let's just remember ourselves to being on the team and really viewing what the best practices are, or what the statements are, the agreements that we're going to have are. Remember. Review. And I often say, let's be two feet in the present. We forgot, but now let's just re, just be, to fit in the present. And it's, whoa, we have to get back to it.


Jennifer Abrams 

I have a personal trainer that I work with when I'm at home, and I travel for work. And so it's so funny because I really shouldn't need him. Right? I should know that I've done this for years. And if I go to that machine, I should know how to use the machine. I don't remember what my weight was, I don't remember exactly the perfect way to do it. And he's there to remind me how to do it the right way. And so we almost need sometimes some people that actually just steer us back to remind us about the container, remind us about our best practice, because we fall back, we regress. And in order to elevate to be our best selves, we sometimes need a support.


Jen Rafferty 

I think we always need a support. And part of that comes with really dropping your ego about the whole thing because if the ego gets in the way of I don't need support, and what does that mean about me if I'm asking for support, and the truth is, it doesn't mean anything about you, other than that you're committed to your growth and expansion. So.


Jennifer Abrams

I think that's stunning. I think that's beautiful.


Jen Rafferty

Thank you. You know, ask for the help get the support. Because we are not meant to do this by ourselves.


Jennifer Abrams 

I completely agree. I just was writing my next newsletter, where I'm offering people some new ways to work with me, that might not be that you are speaking to you, we need that one support person. We maybe need adjust in time, consult about something. You don't have to just make it up by yourself. You need that thought partner, that cheerleader to work with you in that one moment. And you're not weird, and you're not up for the task, and you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. But you just need, you need to check it out with somebody and kind of elevate yourself.


Jennifer Abrams 

And sometimes people just think I've gotten the job, so I should just be able to do it. And that's not necessarily true. And I go to the gym and I asked for some help. And I don't cut my own hair. It's like there are so many, I call it the extreme self-care support team. And that includes thought partners and it includes my hairdresser, right? You know what I mean, you don't know what to do for my body, my doctor knows. So I just include people around me that actually allow me to be my best and so I don't feel like a loser for that.


Jen Rafferty  

Isn't that beautiful? And what's so ironic to me about this is that this is how we take care of our kids. We provide IEPs for our kids that have a team of support. And we operate thinking that we need to go it alone. And we just, we don't have to and in fact, yeah, we're selling ourselves short. And therefore, our students short.


Jennifer Abrams 

I think that idea of an individualized education plan and individual individualized, coaching plan, and individualized, I'm now a new leader, what kinds of knowledge, what kinds of skills, what kinds of like, you need to create a package of supports that will help that person begin to embody that position in a more self-managed and self-aware way, but it certainly isn't there from the beginning, at all, and frankly, not necessarily for me. However, many years into this work, I now realize, oh, I need even this much more support, I didn't even know and really, you can ask for that? And so I'm putting that in my next newsletter. If it's on the menu, it's in the back. And you can reshape it to fit. So if it's been on anybody's menu, ever seen it, you can actually ask for it. And you're not weird.


Jen Rafferty  

Yes, I love that idea of the menu. It is so important to ask for help and ask for what you need because we can’t know everything. And that’s awesome because there’s always more to learn. So let’s talk a minute about conflict. You know, I grew up in a family where conflict was really uncomfortable. Conflict was something we avoided. And it was more important to be nice than to be heard. And I really had to unpack that myself in my own personal healing journey. And then, therefore, what I teach the people that I work with, because like we were saying at the beginning, they are not exclusive. And how can we learn the skills that we need to speak what's on our hearts, what's on our mind, to move the needle forward towards a common vision, especially when it comes to organizational structures, like schools, and do that in a way that feels good and empowering so you can go to bed at night saying I did a great job today. And that's really important work.


Jennifer Abrams  

It's hugely important work and as leaders, that our emotional development, our psychological development, the work that you do on emotional intelligence, it isn't just a nice to have, it isn't... I always talk about like child development, absolutely. No problem. That's what we do in schools. Adult development, essential. And so we're working with people that might not be on that journey with us. They care deeply about students, they're not people that are cruel or mean. They themselves are on their own journey, and they haven't been supported.


Jennifer Abrams  

And so for us to be on a journey of self-awareness, other-awareness, how do we do this? And a model for other people is hugely important. And to not, I've been working on not being as frustrated with other people when they're not where I want them to be. The answer is, what's the alternative? Love them where they are and model and support the concept of adult development in schools. Hugely essential.


Jen Rafferty 

Absolutely. And I think there are some states that are getting this faster than others. For example, in New York State, they just updated their social-emotional learning benchmarks to include adults. I know. It's so exciting. And so I'm hoping that this is more than just a trend. This is something that people realize that it is in the research. And like you said, just a moment ago, our kids need models of adults, speaking to each other in ways that are healthy and safe, and productive. Because otherwise, we're just perpetuating this lack of skill set that isn't working, but it's not working. So something needs to change.


Jennifer Abrams  

There's a, there's somebody that you should check out. And I don't know if the other things are as relevant. But there was a person on Instagram remains Mrs. Coleman and she's from Atlanta. She was on Insta, I don't know where I found it. I use this all the time. Someone is learning how to be a person by watching you. Let that sink in. And when I saw that, I thought about my nephews. I thought about the students. I thought about all my new teachers that I work with and the people that are aspiring leaders. How I say I'm going to manage something, how I'm going to suspend my certainty, how I'm going to share my hard conversations stuff to somebody. So they're learning how to be a person by watching me. So our social-emotional development is essential. 


Jen Rafferty 

So in your latest book, Stretching Your Learning Edges. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that we can be really cognizant of as we're stretching? Our edges?


Jennifer Abrams 

Yeah. So it's the first addition. And I've been in education since I was 22. And I've worked with new teachers, and I'm now 56. So we're looking at 34 years in the business trying to figure out where do we need to stretch in order to be even more effective as colleagues. One is, we've got to know ourselves better. That could be DEIB work. That could be I'm woke up white from the West Coast mainland of the United States. How do I see the world? How might that be different than other people? What do I need to understand about my history, my biases? it could be work style, it could be Myers Briggs, it could be all of that. It could be that I need to learn how to suspend my certainty. So my way isn't the only way.


And how do other people see things? I think that's hugely, it's just interesting. And I'm fascinated, somebody was telling me that they were working in their department at a county office, you would call BOCES in New York, but she was there, she said, our entire division is doing a winter theme. And we've decided to go with blue and white and silver. And I said, thank you, because not everybody celebrates Christmas. And she said it is so interesting that when I pose that idea, people have to suspend their certainty, Oh, I thought that everybody thought this way, it was no problem. And it was like, Oh my gosh, right? So those merged together, know your identity, and suspend your certainty.


Take responsibility for your side of interactions, and build your own resiliency so you don't emotionally pollute meetings. You're healthy psychologically and emotionally for people all because you should be, this is an assertion, we need to be value-add team members to the other adults in the school.


And so that's where the book goes, it's got five different facets, lots of lots of exercises, and readings and videos and self-assessments and all that. And it's been an interesting journey to think about it because new teachers that I was working with many years ago in my district, they were non-renewed, and they were non-renewed, as first and second-year teachers sometimes are. Many of them, because they didn't have the skills to be a good team member. But we never taught that. Because we think professionals should just be professionals.


So the work that you do around SEL, for adults, the work I do. This is like news. And it's not news. It's, it shouldn't be news. And yet, I think once the children and mental health and trauma-informed and social-emotional development really came to the fore with students after COVID. All of a sudden, it was like, Whoa, we should be teaching that, oh, we need it. And it was like, we've always needed it. This has amplified it and you know what, I'll take it, I'll take it whatever, unfortunate that COVID existed, and that we're still dealing with it, but it's a place that provided an opening to really say, Wow, we aren't just about academics, we're about a whole child as well. And that requires a whole adult.


Jen Rafferty  

Sure does. And COVID stress, it wasn't anything new, but we couldn't ignore it anymore. That's what COVID did. We couldn't ignore the blaring sound alarms that like people were in trouble. And so now we're really starting to come around to it, which I'm also very grateful for because I'm sure as you've seen, when school communities really prioritize their own socio-emotional wellness, the kids perform better. There's less disciplinary referrals. There's less student absenteeism, less teacher absenteeism, there's higher engagement.


All of this is super tangible, and it's so easy to look at something like social-emotional skills and say important for the kids, but it's, we really don't need it. But if you're looking at those results, this is actually how you're going to get them and it's not by focusing on the test scores. It's just not, it's just not.


Jennifer Abrams 

And then somebody goes, I'd like to piggyback on that. And he was a little less divisive, but he said it had never occurred to him, that he needed to be a better colleague, and what that would take from him, and he's really trying to wrap his head around that. Another person, lovingly, new teacher, goes, I just learned how to teach. And now you want me to be good with the adults too. That's a lot.


So we're preaching to the choir with each other. I did have one gentleman. And I'm really struggling as to how to shape this. So I'm just putting it out there, there was a gentleman in a International School, he was on one of the Zoom calls that I was on. And he was in one of those Brady Bunch boxes. And he was very clear, he said, the idea that I could develop myself to support students, no problem. That is what I do here, I want to be my best self in the classroom. I'm not sure that I want to develop myself just to be a value add to a team at the school. And I just don't think that's really where I want to put my energy in how to be better for my colleagues.


So I think that what we're talking about does have research. It is becoming part of state frameworks. It does speak to very specific increases in lots of different ways. But it isn't the get on board, it makes sense to everybody. And so I've got to work on that I've got to work on trying to explain it without being angry. Because do you want to be right or effective? We think it's wonderful. We know it's essential. It'll help us thrive as adults.


We'll be less subject to such pain and overwhelm, I think if we are better able to communicate, people can hear us, we're having less tense interactions. We have greater boundaries, we are welcoming other humans. And we're staying human. And we have some self-compassion. I think all of that's there. It's just not what everybody thinks. And I'm just, I'm working on that. I'm working on how to bring that up in a kinder way, but a pretty clear way. So anything, you've got let me know.


Jen Rafferty

Yeah, well, I will say, and I'm glad you brought this up because I love being able to have this even just vulnerable conversation here as an example for everyone too, right? What I say to people, and I truly believe this is my favorite Greg Brady quote, wherever you go, there you are.


Jennifer Abrams 

In the classroom, not in the class, right? 


Jen Rafferty

You are not a different person. When you're in front of kids, and you are in that team meeting, when you are, when you're at home with your partner and your kids, when you're at the bar with your buddies, you're the same person. And when we compartmentalize our growth and development, we're cutting ourselves short from what's actually possible for our impacts. You want to have a greater impact on kids, then you get the opportunity to honor yourself by doing the personal work. It's the same. And I think that's that's one one thing that I share.


But another thing and I think we can talk about this, too, is identity. People, I think particularly teachers feel often consumed by their identity as teachers first. And when you ask somebody who are you? What do you do? When I was in the classroom, teacher was the first thing out of my mouth, which I think during COVID, particularly for me and I know many other educators, we went through this, not just professional identity crisis, but a personal identity crisis.


Because if I wasn't in front of my kids doing the work that I'm usually used to doing, then who am I? And I think in times like that people either took that as an opportunity to explore or because of the fear glommed on to the identity that they held so dear, and, and so now what? And so can you maybe talk about from your experience what you've observed with that identity? Because I think that has to do with what you're talking about.


Jennifer Abrams 

Yeah, there was a guy Dan Lurie, L U R I E, and he did a sociological study on the school teacher. So there's a book out there from the 70s or the 80s, where it's really as an anthropologist or a sociologist, what are the ways that a teacher actually views him or herself? And how do we want other people to see us and how do we see ourselves? And the idea I think of teacher of record, the idea of that we can't look at an idea outside of it being so tied to us, that our kids are our kids, that we're not there for just it just it's a super interesting or you cheated on my test. You're failing my class.


I don't not think that we should be invested. I think we should be invested but when we then look at the data and the test scores aren't as high, then all of a sudden, we crumble because we failed, as opposed to being able to look at a set of data. And that's really where change happens and people resist it. I don't think that as professionals, we have developed enough of a distance and a mindset and a stomach to be able to look at information as outside of us.


So the schools scores your idea. It's always it's so enmeshed, and we want to be perfect, and we care. So it gets even worse to untangle it. But also that idea of I'm teacher of record, so I have to be certain. And I don't want to look like a wimp. So I'm gonna double down on on stuff. I've seen administrators do that. I've seen teachers do that. And it's to the detriment of students. We can't hold a bigger frame.


When people send me feedback about my workshops. How do I stay curious, but not from low? You know what I mean? How do I not identify because I identify deeply with the consulting work I do. But if we want to move things forward, we're going to need to have a balcony, we have to have a balcony point of view, we have to look down, look at the data, and not feel like we're riding the dance floor and in a mosh pit, you know what I mean? And so connected to it, I don't think we can move. We can't move the field if we don't have that skill.


Jen Rafferty  

I agree with you. In CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, the term detached, detached involvement is what you're describing right now. It's not that you don't care, you care very deeply. But there is a detachment that's there, where your identity, that where your wholeness, where your value as a human being is unshakable, regardless of what's happening on the outside. And that is a skill that is not taught. Let's add that to the list. Where did we go? I think we're writing a new book here. Yeah.


Jennifer Abrams

That's what we need. I can tell you that immediately.


Jen Rafferty  

Yeah. Yeah, that is because you're 100% right. And we can't be effective if we're jumping into the story. We have to be detached.


Jennifer Abrams 

I might actually use that in my next newsletter because I'm always thinking that I am a thought partner for somebody. And I'm there as a cheerleader, I'm there as somebody who can sit with you and look at an idea and bring you to the balconies so that with support so that you can be detached a little bit more, and you're not totally enmeshed. I have a colleague who once said to me, as I'm completely enmeshed, enough with the story, what's the lesson? And it was like, Oh, I have to like, I have to like be involved. But I have to take myself out so that I can learn from this as opposed to just being gossiping and whiny. And I think detached involvement would benefit our field a lot. So let's go do that. Let's go do that, my friend.


Jen Rafferty  

Alright, right after this is over, we're getting to where I'll meet you in Hawaii. How's that? Oh, get out of the New York snow. So as we're closing out this conversation, because I could talk to you for forever here, but this is not gonna be the end of our chats, I'm sure. I would love to know something I asked all my guests, what is your dream for the future of education?


Jennifer Abrams

I think this idea of what does it take to thrive as educators is a big dream. And that is to bring people away from just being subjected to what we think schools need to be, and go up to the balcony a little bit more, and be able to see a bigger thing, and be able to do micro-macro, be able to build these adult to adult skills so that we can transform it to be even more of a human-centered experience. I want us to be interdependent, and be able to have those skills so that we can work as a community to support the kids. So it's a dream. Not... It's a dream. It's a dream, but I want to be a part of that dream. So how to thrive I think we need to get out of subject to a lot of stuff and be able to see things with a bigger lens.


Jen Rafferty 

Yes. And you said human-centered learning. Isn't that nice? Because otherwise what are we doing? If we're not doing that?


Jennifer Abrams

A lot of people are not doing that. It wasn't about that. It's the three R's or it's just making sure that we get through the standard words or it's, we want people to be good not just citizens but productive in the economy. And I think I want people to think about us being on the globe. And what is success? Yeah. So I think the dream of school needs to be bigger and how we show up in it needs to be much bigger.


Jen Rafferty 

Yeah, yes. Yes to all of that. Yes. So, after this conversation, I know people are going to want to know more about you and your work. How do they get in touch with you?


Jennifer Abrams

So I have a website, JenniferAbrams.com. You can find me on Twitter at Jennifer Abrams. I'm not as good on Instagram, but it's at Jennifer Beth Abrams. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm everywhere. You can just look up Jennifer Abrams on Google and you'll see videos. I've got books. I try to be present out there. But yeah, and you just write me an email, jennifer@jenniferabrams.com  like you did, Jen. So that's the way you do it. Fantastic.


Jen Rafferty 

And all of those links will be there in the show notes. So it'll be super easy for people to get in touch with you. Thank you so much for your time, for your talents, for the work that you do in this world. I really appreciate you sharing today.


Jennifer Abrams

I appreciate you, too. Mahalo. 


Jen Rafferty  

Thank you, same to you. And if you liked today's episode, go ahead and write a five-star review, share with a friend, and subscribe so you never miss an episode. And I will see you next time on Take Notes. 


Jen Rafferty 

Incredible, right? Together, we can revolutionize the face of education. It's all possible. And it's all here for you right now. Let's keep the conversation going and Empowered Educator Faculty Room on Facebook.