Ambition & Audience Spiral

Sunshine in a Jar: The Book

I am in the process of rewriting my recent Master’s thesis into a book. I feel the topic is timely and important. If you are an agent or publisher looking for a non-fiction manuscript on the topic of resiliency please contact me.

Using memoir, poetry, and collage I recorded a personal story of learning how to “burn-in” after experiencing teacher “burn-out.” Mental health is a hot topic now in education. Currently, I work as a high school vice principal and our recent administrator’s conference focused on mental health and resiliency. Learning to “burn-in” is all about resiliency. Resiliency is a necessary trait of 21st Century educators. This project is about resiliency, the inner landscape, and coming of age as a young educator.

Many teachers and other professionals “burn-out” in their careers for various reasons but what is the next step? Inspired by its working title Sunshine in a Jar, this literary non-fiction book is most like memoir. It explores the lessons a teacher learns on the inside, the lessons few teachers ever speak about.

My thesis utilized a newer academic, arts-inspired form called autoethnography. Its multidimensional nature and explicit links to cultural and environmental influences enhance the typical memoir experience. My current rewrite involves removing the academic language and inserting more personal narrative.

I became a secondary school administrator at age thirty-six. I love my job. The challenges I faced as a young teacher ignited a series of lessons that made me into a resilient educator because I learned from “burn-out.” So many leave education within the first five years of teaching. So many more become cynical and defeated yet continue to teach. By writing about resiliency through the lens of “sunshine in a jar,” I hope to share the inner landscape of a young teacher and encourage others to look at what is in their “jar.” It is a universally human quest for personal insight, understanding, and happiness.


  • Julie Jordan Scott

    I would buy this book for my own use and give it as a gift to many educators I collaborate with on the various ed committees I work on here in Kern County, California. There are not words to describe how thrilled I am to think of educators reading – and be inspired by – your Sunshine in a Jar!

    • Jessica Outram

      Thanks for the encouragement, Julie. Looking at your site I think we are writing kindred spirits. I’ve been unmotivated lately in terms of working on this project, thinking about the usual writer self-sabotage stuff–especially, the classic question of would anyone find this useful. Your comment means a lot.

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