There’s something special about getting back to school and seeing students you haven’t seen in months, not to mention meeting new students who have just joined your school. There’s an excitement and an energy that flows through the school and into your
classes, you can feel it and it energizes you. You feel refreshed and ready to try new things and you fly through the first week. But then things start to pile up. You’ve got marking, parent calls, emails, meetings … Just when you think it can’t get any worse, you get a notification that in 2 weeks you’ll be launching your professional development goals into the stratosphere with Cohort21.
A new feeling starts to set in, a bright and shiny elation. It’s blended with excitement and maybe a little trepidation. It is difficult to say, at this point, just what Cohort21 will do to your life.
Face forward with courage my friends – you are not alone. Your support network is fierce: Facilitators and coaches are here to support you along the way, via email, hangouts or any other means and at almost any time of day (@lmcbeth and I are nighthawks). You’ll have C21 Alumni from your respective schools who have excellent tips and tricks to help you manage your time and commitment to the group. They will likely still be working on the next iterations of their action plans (which you can help to support as you bring new ideas back to your school). These are the people who will continue to shape your views of education, and who will inspire you in more ways than you thought possible. They will be the ones to propose a #blogchallenge if you haven’t blogged in a while, they will be the ones who will share something during Twitter chats or a Hangout that will ignite an idea in you and who will help you to flesh it out. These are the people who will continue to support you beyond this year as you strive to continually better yourself as an educator.
You will Tweet, share and comment on G+, you may even contribute to the excellent archive of resources on Diigo (the only platform from which you can Tweet and share on G+ from one place). You’ll blog your successes, and your failures. You will push your thinking to its limits and you’ll eventually dive deep into #designthinking and start sharing your #actionplan goals. You will iterate on these goals via Tuning Protocols and Crowdsourcing your PLN which will guide you in reflecting on these goals and creating a better #actionplan than you could have come up with on your own.
I won’t lie, it’s a fast and furious experience. It’s exhilarating and inspiring but, as @aconnelly (C21 2015-16) recently mentioned, “When you’re at the Face to Face all you want to do is Cohort21, but then you come back and you have a job to do back at your school and you wonder how it’s going to work” It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel inadequate, these are natural feelings, but they are not imposed by anyone but yourself. Rushton Hurley once said “The only person you should compare yourself to is the you you were yesterday” It’s important that we keep that in mind as we embark on this year-long journey of learning. So sit back, open your mind and enjoy!