Back to the Beginning!

The first face-to-face session of Cohort 21 (2015-16) has come and gone!  It was a great day of meeting like-minded educators and getting familiar with the toolkit for our year long learning experience. For me, it was like I was back at the beginning of my Cohort 21 journey, this time with keen eyes and full of excitement for how it all ends as I have been there once before.  While I wish I had found the inspiration for this blog post in time to correspond with all of the Back to the Future references floating around this last week, I realized that my second year of Cohort 21 has a lot in common with one of my favourite movies.  Here are a few thoughts on the Cohort 21 experience and our first F2F session, inspired by quotes from this movie:

  • I’m back from the future!
    Just as Marty McFly and Doc Brown went back in time – more than once – I’m thrilled to be back with the Cohort 21 program, this time as a Coach. My experience this year began as I remembered all of the amazing people I met last year at the first F2F session.  A year later, I’ve met another group of truly engaged educators who are each inspired to make a difference in their classroom and teaching practices.  Since last year, I’ve also had plenty of time to reflect on all of my learning and growth as well as the ideas and experiences of others through their blogs and the #Cohort 21 Twitter feed.
  • we’re going… we don’t need roads:
    One of the best parts of this year-long PD is that there are no defined, set pathways to the experience or the learning plan in Cohort 21.  You will have the opportunity to explore new ideas, engage with educators who you may never have met if it weren’t for this program and take all of this learning back to your school to challenge the teaching and learning program at your home school.  Where you go next is up to you!

  • I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it!
    There are two parts to this quote and you may find yourself amidst one or both parts at some point throughout your Cohort21 experience this year.

    • I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet — Are you ready for the challenge of thinking about your teaching in a different way, encouraged and inspired by the ideas of other like minded educators at independent schools across Ontario?  I know you are as you’re already a member of Cohort 21!  What you may find though is that you encounter ideas that are “ahead of their time” for you right now. That’s okay!  Keep them in mind for a time when you are ready to embark on trying that new tech tool or design challenge.  The future will be waiting!
    • Your kids are gonna love it!  While many teachers are not always ready to try something new (we want the first try to run ‘perfectly’ right?) our students love to try something new with us!  They will jump in and check out a new edtech tool and they will almost always teach us a few things in the process, reinforcing how a love of learning enables us to grow in our classroom experiences together.  So, while we may not be ready, our students are… that’s a good enough reason to take the risk and try!
  • Great ScottGreat Scott!
    This phrase reminds me of those lightbulb moments when we have a breakthrough in our teaching or learning… we can’t wait to tell others about it!  Well…Great Scott… do it!  Blog about your ideas and your questions as you will find many other members are thinking the same things.  I found it challenging to share my thinking in blog form last year… but in persevering through the experience of posting on this blog, I’ve learned that the conversation that arises as a result is the greatest reward for the risk…. another Great Scott!

Well… that is likely plenty of the Back to the Future references for one post.  I hope you can see what is ahead in your future with Cohort 21 — a year of learning and growth that will change you forever!

p.s. If you’ve got some free time, here’s the appearance that Doc Brown and Marty McFly made on the Jimmy Kimmel show, October 21, 2015!



One comment to “Back to the Beginning!”
  1. Such an engaging post and a great blast from the past! I am particularly drawn to two parts of your post – the part of not needing roads is key! The next steps are up to us and bringing it back to our schools is so important. Sharing what we’ve learned is what makes C21 so magical! There are no secrets to hoard, or wants to be the best teacher at our schools – I think our shared vision is that we’re all in it together and we’re pushing ourselves to be better everyday.

    Thanks for the enjoyable read and it’s great to have you back as a coach!

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