I create research-based, interactive experiences that help teachers, education leaders, and other caring professionals prevent burnout and thrive in their work.
I offer THREE WORKSHOPS that explore the deep roots of burnout and provide steps that participants can take the next day to make their educational practice more fulfilling and sustainable.
Descriptions are below. All can be customized for groups of any size and sessions of any length, including teacher workdays, faculty meetings, and leadership retreats.
With almost thirty years of experience in facilitating transformative moments, I can bring the missing ingredient your school needs to thrive in a year like no other.
Contact me about building an event and a quote that meets your specific needs.
Workshop: Dial In Your Life!
What are the roots of feeling good at work? It starts with separating what we can’t control from what we can — and identifying how much of what we think is “burnout” is actually “weariness.” We’ll work on identifying the eight types of weariness, and finding new ways to make small changes in our lives to get big results.
Workshop: Dial In Your Practice!
What we think is the “problem” in educational work — is also the “solution.” We educators came to this work to have specific experiences that fulfill and sustain us, but we often spend our time on tasks that don’t. We’ll work on naming the experiences that make us go, and tuning our instructional choices to increase our access to what we need to thrive.
Workshop: Dial In Your Leadership!
Education leaders usually feel like they need to have the answers to all the challenges our teachers and schools face — but before we can solve problems, we need to build authentic connections with our faculty around our shared values. We’ll work on finding ways to be with those we lead in their struggles, and supporting the positive and energizing parts of the work that we all care about most.
TESTIMONIALS FROM PAST PARTICIPANTS
This was really helpful! I really appreciated the opportunity to reflect and dig into what brought me to teaching. I always want to walk away from PD with something I can immediately enact, and I did that this time.
I appreciated the emphasis on what elements in my career have been fulfilling and how I could shift my teaching to recreate as many of those experiences as possible.
Thanks for seeing/hearing/understanding teachers and really having our backs. Thanks for empowering teachers!
Gave time to think, process, re-boot, re-evaluate. Gave time for myself to think, which I don’t get enough of at all. Everything was straight forward and easy to understand. All info was helpful. Just perfect timing-wise with regard to what it provided for me to think about as a professional educator!
I thought it was excellent. Perfect amount of time to think/write/reflect/share/discuss. I really appreciate you taking the time to work with us. Thank you!
Specifically naming what brings me joy in this profession and ensuring I capitalize on those parts of the job for myself!
WHY A RED BIRD?
When I was young, I lived in upstate New York, where we didn’t see many cardinals. There were plenty of blue jays: screeching, aggressive, attacking each other, occasionally attacking you if you came too close to the nest.
But the cardinal was elusive, rare, special. It was my mom’s favorite bird, so I watched for them. When one appeared, it meant something.
One morning, decades later, I was driving into a job I didn’t love, bracing for a day I was dreading. It was ice, drizzly, and gray; I was barely awake, and miserable. At a stop light, I looked into the impenetrable heavens and asked for something to let me know that I was still on my path, because it sure didn’t feel like it.
A minute later, a flash of red flared into my periphery. I glanced to the shoulder of the road to glimpse a frozen, leafless bush, stark against the white snow, aflame with cardinals. Seven or eight of them, a few fluttering, the rest still, looking placidly back at me. I blinked and craned my neck to get another look as I rolled past. There they still were, their heat fading as I continued my commute.
Later that year I found Annie Dillard’s account of a similar experience, and I recognized her as a fellow traveler in the quest for meaning in a life that sometimes seems meaningless:
One day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I’m still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.
I’m still spending the power. And in the mountains of North Carolina, cardinals abound.
Red Bird Workshop is named for that moment of enlightenment and hope, and dedicated to cultivating the conditions for all of us to find the deepest and most nutritive meaning in our own journeys through our lives.
Below please find free downloads of my series Root Down: Preparing to Thrive. These are materials to support ten one-hour conversations with preservice and early-career teachers and other caring professionals about burnout prevention and sustainable practice.
Each one-page essay and set of questions supports a stand-alone conversation, with reflection, small group sharing, and full-group harvesting of insights and take-aways. Use them individually, or as a ten-week lunch-and-learn series!
They are free for you to use, according to Creative Commons license.
If you find them valuable, please drop me a line and let me know about your experience!
Here are opening slides with norms and agenda for use with Zoom groups.