Catching Up

Hey everyone, it’s been a minute and I’m happy to finally recover enough bandwidth to reconnect.  I mentioned in the post prior to this one (holy moley, two months ago!) that I’ve been working on the Galactic Cow and guess what?  We’re almost at the end of Season 1!  We’re recording eight episodes this season and ya’ll – I had no idea this would be as much work as it has been.  So. Much. Work.  Between prepping for episodes, recording, exercising my very minimal sound editing skills, packaging and posting, and then doing the smallest amount of social media promotion ever, it is a LOT.

But all that doesn’t matter because it is such a labor of love I can’t even truly call it labor.  The conversations we’re having about what education could be, how it could be a vessel or path or channel for transformation are so satisfying, so rich and spacious, that they’re worth almost any amount of trivial work.

As I write this, our sixth episode dropped and we are wrapping prep for the seventh.  Since I introduced you all to the podcast, we’ve dropped eps three, four, and five also.  In these first six episodes, we have covered an incredible range of topics including language, redefining our relationship to education, visioning and dreaming, pesonal transformation, radical self love, shame, vulnerability, boundaries, and love – all within the context of teaching, learning, and organized education.

Working on the Galactic Cow has made me realize I need to expand my blog range, so expect to see pieces on these topics, as well as trauma-responsive teaching, and educational abolition.

Project Time

“What else is emareena up to?” is a question that has probably been keeping you up at night, but tonight you can rest easy, because I’m going to tell you!

Seed pods of practitioners

My work with all kinds of teaching professionals to better understand the impacts of trauma on adult learners continues.  I’m working with several groups to create year-long, trauma-responsive Communities of Practice (or whatever other name people prefer). This includes building out an online learning shell that each group gets to hang onto, customize, and imbue with their own organizational essence and resources. 

I love this idea because it means there will be little seed pods of TR practitioners here and there, hopefully seeding themselves across their own institutions and into other places.  One of the unexpected bits about writing the first book on this topic is that I’m a solo voice until the rest of you are feeling confident enough to start integrating the work – talking about it, writing about it, building your own cool stuff that expands it and makes it better.

Another book?

I began working on a second book a month or so ago.  I wasn’t sure I would write anything else, so it was a bit of a shock when (earlier this year) I felt a herd? group? pod? school? gaggle? melody? of ideas coalescing, to the point they began demanding attention.  Some of them migrated to the Galactic Cow (which may end up in a written form), but some migrated in a different direction.  At the moment, I’m considering how to apply the principles of emergent strategy to teaching, learning, and organized education, but we’ll see if that’s where the writing decides we should stay ????

Training for incarcerated teachers

The last project I’m considering is how to bring the trauma-responsive teaching work into correctional facilities for incarcerated teachers, teaching assistants, and program aides, as well as other directly impacted teachers.  This is proving to be a difficult endeavor, more than I thought it would be.  I’m not affiliated with a college or carceral facility, so getting access to incarcerated teachers to share training, materials, and content is not easy.  Going in as a volunteer isn’t impossible, but there are a lot of obstacles and with only myself to handle all the hoops, it feels pretty daunting.

Andddd…my social calendar

One of the things any consultant or solo-preneur industry professional has to do is figure out who to hang out with in public.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially if you are in a field that is both incredibly large (higher ed) and incredibly niche (trauma-responsive learning AND higher ed in prison).  Some spaces are an excellent opportunity to share work, some are better for networking and it takes time to figure out which is which. Proximity and travel costs play a big part in deciding whether or not to attend, so this year, I should be at these soirees:

  • The National Conference for Higher Ed in Prisons (NCHEP, 11/08-11/11).  I’ve attended this confernce almost every year since 2018 and presented a couple of times.  It is one of the more progressive spaces I’ve found myself, and I have so appreciated all the people I’ve met and built community with over the years.  For me, this one is well worth the cost even though I’m a bad traveller and it’s in Atlanta.  But I love Atlanta, so…????
  • The Access to Justice conference (9/28-9/30).  This is a regional-ish conference that’s held in Washington bi-annually.  I’ve been on the planning committee for the last two conferences and presented at the one before that.  It is a dedicated, thoughtful group of legal practitioners who are putting in the work to shift and transform the criminal & civil legal systems.  This is a good general networking conference for me, and it’s close to home so minimal travel costs.
  • Corrections Education International conference (CEA, 8/20-8/23).  I’m not going to lie, I’m on the fence about this conference because it’s strongly DOC-flavored.  My main reason for going is that it’s being held in Portland this year and I won’t have to pay for travel on top of the exorbitant registration fee.  It’s also one of only two major corrections education professional organizations, so it should be a good networking opportunity.  Yes, networking.  My presentation proposal was politely declined, although maybe I’m on the alternate list? 

(I’m also giving a keynote at a ‘pedagogies of higher ed in prison’ conference in Tennessee later this year, I’ll share those details when they have them posted.)

We have arrived at the end of my “short” update and if you made it this far, I love you too.  I hope that your arrival into summer has been full of color and beauty and the smell of fresh grass and clean water. In case you haven’t seen something beautiful today, here is a photo I took at Gray’s Harbor, WA, clearly where the rainbow ends.

Looking out over a deep water harbor full of charter and commercial fishing vessels.  A rainbow is dropping from the clouds in the middle of the image, reflecting in the water.

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