Stretching Your Learning Edges, Growing (Up) at Work, and More with Guest Jennifer Abrams–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

by | Apr 17, 2023 | 0 comments

5 min read

About Jennifer Abrams

Formerly a high school English teacher and a new teacher coach in Palo Alto Unified School District (Palo Alto, CA, USA), Jennifer Abrams is currently a communications consultant and author who works with educators and others on leadership development at all levels, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations and creating identity safe workplaces.

 Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community, Hard Conversations Unpacked: the Whos, Whens and What Ifs, and Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives.  

 Her newest book, and the focus of this episode, is Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work

 Jennifer shares her work in other mediums as a featured columnist on growth and changes for Learning Forward’s The Learning Professional journal as well as contributing to The International Educator (TIE), focusing her writing on adult development and collaboration skills.

 Jennifer has been invited to keynote, facilitate, and coach at schools and conferences worldwide and is honored to have been named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know” by Education Week’s ‘Finding Common Ground’’ blog.  More about Jennifer’s work can be found at her website, and on Twitter @jenniferabrams.

What You’ll Find in this Educational Leadership Podcast Episode with Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer starts with the fact that “we speak to” being lifelong learners, but are we really living up to that? 

 What if we developed ourselves in ways that allowed us to respond rather than react? Listen to what she says about the typical response to feedback. 

 Joe asked why we have such trouble with a learning culture. Jennifer’s response is profound–time, being “done” as a learner, school leaders assuming that the adult is already good enough.

 You have to hear what she says about the difference between how teachers are given prep periods but not reflection periods. 

 T.J. asked about why educators often become defensive when given feedback or asked to make a change. Jennifer puts it simply: the system is not designed that way. We don’t have the apprenticeship-style learning that would induct us into the profession as a learner. 

 Jennifer talks about resiliency as working on our own emotional and psychological hygiene. Don’t miss what she says about Pigpen and how people can bring in a lot of dust.

 Education is complex. Listen to what she says about shifting from “teacher of record” to “a space of learning” and how it can have a huge void. 

 You want to know how to use the tool she describes to get people to check their energy when we start a meeting. 

 Jennifer follows Shane Parrish at Farnam Street. She also studies Jennifer Garvey Berger, Cultivating Leadership for adult learners.

 Pay attention to her leadership check-in questions that gauge relationship health, but can work well with a team. 

 Jennifer wants to learn how to cook better. But she wants to feel free to fail. Powerful statement.

 Three things to do to learn and grow as a leader: 

  1. Find a conference and attend as a learner. 
  2. Find a conference and apply to co-present with someone. 
  3. If you’re interested in someone’s work, find them. Reach out to them. 

 Jennifer reveals that she has a cognitive crush on Peter Block, author of The Answer to How is Yes

 Lastly, Jennifer reminds us that you can get things done. Just go forth and do it.

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

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We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 


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