When I first embarked on the Cohort21 experience in its first year, I remember being really nervous but so excited. Once I signed up and read the short description I remember thinking to myself “Where will I fit in the group? Am I good enough? Will this be worth my time?” After the long drive to Toronto from Lakefield for our first face to face at The York School I remember thinking to myself “What a nice group of people!” based on initial conversations we had. The first day was fast and furious and although I thought my head would explode, I felt like Bradley Cooper must have felt in Limitless. I felt empowered. I felt supported. I felt like I couldn’t wait to get back to my classes to try some of the Edtech tools and pedagogical approaches we had explored. All of these feelings that I experienced initially in my Cohort21 experience were feelings that stayed with me for the entire year and drove me to want to be a better educator.
My spouse Erica Chellew and I have come up with what can only be described as the C21 Effect. Things that will happen once you’ve been a part of the experience.
- Your spouse/friends/parents will leave the table due to the fact that so many of your conversations will include “Did you see that post on Twitter today that talked about …(something in education)” when it’s clear that they haven’t… * Substitute Twitter for Google +, Diigo or Cohort Blogs
- Your spouse, friends, parents will think you’ve had a surge in popularity because your phone will receive more notifications but instead of just messages it will be articles, ideas, resources about what you could be doing in class that day!
- Walking in the city will take on a whole new meaning as you think you recognize most people you pass but can’t place them, only to realize that you may be following them on Twitter.
- You will always have a social circle at conferences, in the halls of your school, and as far as the Middle East, as you connect with other C21 members over Twitter so that you can hang out in person! * The #GAFE Summit in Montreal last year is a prime example!
- Not all of the effects are good though… as you may notice some of your colleagues start to shun you because you’re so jazzed about teaching and learning. But hey, life is short and they’ll come around!
In that first year, I had a feeling C21 was going to be something good, but I didn’t realize how great it would be! Being a member of this group of highly motivated and engaged educators is a truly transformative experience that never ends. I am still in contact with many from my original cohort and we continue to share and learn together!
There is no mould to being a C21 participant, in fact we’re trying to break just that! We meet people where they are, we help provide tools, support and we help you to extend your teaching according to what you want. All you need is an open mind and be willing to take a chance, and you will not be disappointed… after all, it’s the best personalized professional development going!
I am so excited to be embarking on this journey again this year with so many great people! Can’t wait to see everyone and meet the new members at the first F2F on October 17th – and yes that is a Saturday…
Hey Past C21 crew, any other funny or witty Cohort Effects? Please add to comments!