I joined Cohort 21 a little bit later into the year than most, which meant that, along with lots of catching up to do, I had missed the first F2F session. I missed meeting all of the other Cohorters, and the coaches and facilitators. I missed getting the run down on everything that would be involved this year like the toolkit, the hangouts, and the action plan. And so I felt frozen when I thought about finally getting myself out here on the blog, as fears about not knowing my audience, not fully knowing the expectations, and not knowing what to write about seemed too daunting to overcome.
On Wednesday night, the wonderfully kind and helpful Les McBeth hosted a Google Hangout with a few of the other latecomers to the C21 party. Beyond getting us caught up on what we missed at the first F2F, she gave the best advice: not every blog post has to contain earth shattering revelations or deep, philosophical reflections. Sometimes it’s good just to get yourself out there.
So here I am, and just in time for the second F2F: my first blog post. Just putting myself out there.
My name is Jen Weening and I am the middle and senior school teacher-librarian at the Country Day School. In addition to heading up the library, this year I am also teaching grade 11 Communications Technology, which is a brand new course at my school, and which I am really enjoying so far. I taught 9-12 French for my first few years at the school, and so it’s been really fun getting back into the classroom after a few years away. I missed the relationships I was able to develop with my students, which were noticeably different than the relationships I developed with students in the role of librarian. Teaching a course in addition to my regular duties in the library is a great new challenge, but with all of the other things happening at the school this year — CAIS inspection, ministry inspection, and moving our library into a new space at the end of this term — it means it’s a busy one.
The decision to join Cohort 21 took me a while. I first heard about it a few years ago when Garth came to speak to the CIS librarians’ group at Sterling Hall. I was immediately intrigued, but I was about to embark on my first year in the library, and so it seemed a bit overambitious for that year. Then last year, a colleague and I attended the GAFE summit in Montreal, where we met several members of the Cohort. In our chats with them, we realized that we felt out of the loop, in a way. It seemed like the other Toronto-area schools were quite well-connected with one another, but we felt like an island unto ourselves up in King. But by then it was already December, and the chance to become a part of this network had passed us by. This year promised to be so busy that it seemed foolish to join, until, at this year’s GAFE summit, I spoke with Les after one of her life-changing sessions (it was DocAppender, obviously!). She helped me to realize that Cohort 21 wasn’t so much an additional thing to do, but that all of my new challenges and professional goals could become part of my learning and action plan. And the rest is history. Here I am, one of the newest Cohorters, ready to put myself out there and get learning! Who’s with me?
PS – As long as we’re here getting to know one another, I might as well start the way I intend to continue: with an adorable photo of my handsome man, Dante. Perhaps not professionally relevant, but one of Justin’s keys to a good post was to include a photo, and who can resist a puppy?