What I did on my Sabbatical: by Shelly Furuness

May 24, 2017
  1. Took an art class on drawing at the Indianapolis Art Center
  2. Documented my creative process
  3. Took a tennis lesson
  4. Took a swim lesson
  5. Created little paintings with oil paints and really liked it
  6. Saw Hidden Figures in the movie theater at 10:00 in the morning all by myself on a Monday morning
  7. Wrote a book chapter about teaching middle schoolers in an online environment
  8. Read about 20 books
  9. Got a tattoo
  10. Got a massage
  11. Saw a nutritionist
  12. Wrote weekly at CTS and had several wonderful lunches in the cafe there
  13. Attended a Writing Workshop on Flash Memoir
  14. Learned about Scandinavia’s healthcare and education systems
  15. Met new Journey Fellow friends at Waycross in Bloomington, IN
  16. Canoed at Sugar Creek
  17. Hiked at Turkey Run with those Journey Fellow friends
  18. Contra danced in a barn near a historic covered bridge
  19. Made a story stick to walk with
  20. Spent 9 days in Florida with my boys and in-laws for Spring Break
  21. Went to Universal Studios to explore the expanded Harry Potter World
  22. Took a glass bottom boat ride in a natural spring in Florida
  23. Hit golf balls
  24. Worked out with fidelity the whole semester
  25. Learned that the Indiana Department of Education loved our Middle-Secondary Special Education proposal
  26. Tried spin class again
  27. Loved water aerobics
  28. Watched an Atlanta Braves spring training game
  29. Started a blog
  30. Began a daily writing practice thanks to Bryan’s Boot Camp
  31. Drove my son to weight training all semester
  32. Meditated with Oprah and Deepak for 21 days
  33. Had brunch with my friends more than once
  34. Attended Birdman with a live drumming performance at Clowes
  35. Attended several One Butler Brain Project lectures with my boys
  36. Volunteered to review science textbooks for my boys’ school district
  37. Hung out at the middle school team meetings at the Lab School on Fridays from February-May
  38. Wrote an (almost finished) article with my friend and colleague, Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco
  39. Visited Stockholm, Sweden
  40. Visited Copenhagen, Denmark
  41. Visited Reykjavic, Iceland
  42. Rode a bike (without crashing) in Copenhagen
  43. Ate herring–multiple times
  44. Listened to newly arrived students in Vallentuna tell their stories of arrival in Sweden
  45. Had wine and cheese in the lovely home of my Swedish Hoosier colleague, Angelica Granqvist
  46. Got to know my Butler colleagues better by traveling with them for 14 days
  47. Soaked in the Blue Lagoon with a silica mud mask on my face and a drink in my hand
  48. Ate a salmon burger off a salmon wagon
  49. Tried Thai food for the first time
  50. Walked through Kronsborg Castle which is the setting for Hamlet
  51. Saw the “real” Little Mermaid
  52. Thought deeply about the restructuring of our College of Education and proposed some ideas
  53. Took a class called Writing Life through the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers
  54. Applied for and was granted a BAC grant
  55. Spent 13 days from 9:00-4:00 being a student in the National Writing Project at IUPUI
  56. Continued participating in the Writing Life and reconnected with a writing friend from high school
  57. Hiked 8 miles at Clifty Falls with my boys
  58. Fell in the creek hiking trail 2
  59. Didn’t teach the summer cohort for the first time in 9 years
  60. Celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary
  61. Co-wrote an article with Michelle Trainor for the Middle School Journal
  62. Took baby steps rethinking curriculum with colleagues that might enhance preparation of for middle childhood
  63. Learned that STEM grants require much more than a month to prepare
  64. Traveled back to the UK with Dr. Esteves, Bryan and 16 students
  65. Navigated the Tube in London
  66. Saw Twelfth Night at the Globe
  67. Saw Julius Caesar performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon
  68. Climbed to the summit of Arthur’s Seat
  69. Participated in a storytelling workshop with a professional storyteller in Edinburgh, Scotland
  70. Walked along the dock where the Titanic was launch in Belfast
  71. Meditated with Oprah and Deepak for another 21 days
  72. Had my first pint of Guinness
  73. Walked along the Giant’s Causeway and learned about Finn MacCool
  74. Learned that the Peace Wall in Belfast is about keeping peace, not celebrating it
  75. Took time, breathed deeply as often as I wanted, and remembered my “why”

Books I Read During Sabbatical

May 4, 2017

Do Not Go On–Manuscript Draft by Bryan Furuness

Hillbilly Elegy–JD Vance

A Gentleman in Moscow–Amov Towles

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness–Michelle Alexander

Station Eleven–Emily St. John Mandel

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone–J.K. Rowling (for ol’ time’s sake)

One Hundred Demons–Lynda Barry

The Promise of Paradox–Parker Palmer

Turning to One Another–Margaret Wheatley (Re-reading from 2011)

The Servant as Leader, original Essay–Robert K. Greenleaf

The Case for Servant Leadership–Kent M. Keith

Teaching from the Heart–Sharon Draper

The Heart of Higher Education–Parker Palmer and Arthur Zajonc

The Wonder–Emma Donoghue

Let Your Life Speak–Parker Palmer

Hidden Wholeness–Parker Palmer

Show Your Work–Austin Kleon

Start with the Way–Simon Sinek

The Active Life –Parker Palmer

Just Mercy–Bryan Stevenson

To the COE Class of 2017

May 4, 2017

So traditionally, I select a children’s book to share, but I have something a little different for you all. I have a poem I’d like to give you.  The poem is by Joyce Rupp with a few tweaks for our occasion.  The poem is called Old Maps No Longer Work. Here it is:

I keep pulling it out –
the old map of my inner path.
I squint closely at it,
trying to see some hidden road
that maybe I’ve missed,
but there’s nothing there now
except some well-travelled paths.
they have seen my footsteps often,
held my laughter, caught my tears.

I keep going over the old map
but now the roads lead nowhere,
a meaningless wilderness
where life is dull and futile.

“toss away the old map,” she says
“you must be kidding!” I reply.

she looks at me with those eyes
and repeats, “toss it away.
it’s of no use where you’re going.”

“I have to have a map!” I cry,
“even if it takes me nowhere.
I can’t be without direction.”

“but you are without direction,”
she says, “so why not let go, be free?”

so there I am – tossing away the old map,
sadly fearfully, putting it behind me.
“whatever will I do?” wails my security

“trust me” says my soul.

no map, no specific directions,
no “this way ahead” or “take a left”.
how will I know where to go?
how will I find my way? no map!

but then my soul whispers:
“there was a time before maps
when pilgrims travelled by the stars.”

it is time for the pilgrim in me
to travel in the dark,
to learn to read the stars
that shine in my soul.
I will walk deeper
into the dark of my night.
I will wait for the stars.
trust their guidance.
and let their light be enough for me.

Friends, for the last four years, you’ve been following a map someone else determined for you—Okay,—it was probably me and my curriculum maps.

But now is the time for you to be your own mapmaker. Let your life be a map in the making. Live your adventure and document the obstacles so that others might travel by the light that guides you until they find the courage to make their own way. Parker Palmer says, “Draw deep on your values and visions for a better world, and follow them even when doing so gets you crosswise with others.”

And know this. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. More than 126 million seconds have passed since you arrived on campus as first year students. See, there is plenty of time. But time is funny–it has a way of slipping by quicker than we’d like on occasion and dragging on indefinitely, especially when we are looking forward to spending our time differently. So, I encourage you to not waste a single second on doubting whether you are ready to make your own map and chart your course. You are.  And I, for one, am incredibly grateful for all the time I’ve had with you and for your willingness to trust the maps made for you while you were waiting for this moment to create your own.


Outstanding Seniors

May 3, 2017

Since 2012, one of my favorite (and most anxiety producing) responsibilities in my role as the COE’s Middle-Secondary Program Coordinator at Butler University is to write the address for Senior Celebration night which ends with the  announcement of the graduating class’s Outstanding Middle-Secondary Student award winner. I love doing it because it provides me a bit of a respite at the point in the semester usually fraught with stress, deadlines and demands to stop and reflect on the joyful journey I’ve witnessed another group of amazing students take.  The address almost always begins the same way–recognizing (okay, bemoaning) the difficult task of naming just one student for the award. Each time I write it, I struggle with the paradox that while I start each address nearly the exact same way year after year, it is no less true each time I say it. In the act of writing, I’m always reminded of what a privilege it is to have witnessed up-close so many moments of transformation in these young people. In the act of addressing the class, I’m reminded of what a privilege it is to witness up-close the specific moment of transformation where we change roles from being students and professor to being colleagues.

This spring, as I’m only sabbatical, the privilege of writing the address belongs to my colleague, but even as she prepares to give the address, I’m still thinking about the joyful journey this group has had. This got me thinking back to the other addresses I’ve given and I thought  I’d like to share those past addresses here to honor my former students and to make their beautiful teaching practice more public.