. "How techy” would you like to get?" asked my academic director, noting that one of my professional goals was to improve the use of technology in my practice. "Would you like to attend Cohort21? It's an intensive, year long commitment that will require a lot of work, but, the payoff will be worth it."
I have lots of ideas of what I’d like to do with technology in the classroom, but little time (and less patience) to learn the skills that I need to in order to make all those ideas a reality. So, I was doubtful of the wisdom of committing so much time to something that is definitely not a passion. Up until now, I’ve used technology on a need to know basis. Nevertheless, I promised to check out Cohort21 and get back to her in a few days.
I considered that I am notorious for taking on more than I should, that I really have too many time commitments already, and that I should try harder to balance work, family and personal interests, and I decided to decline the offer.
Just prior to making my “Thanks, but no thanks” announcement, I listened to our Head Master’s address to our new prefects. He told a story of how Steve Yzerman took the risk of moving way out of his comfort zone to make the necessary changes to his leadership style to lead his team to win the Stanley Cup. No doubt he intended to inspire our Grade 12 students to risk moving out of their comfort zone.
I don’t know if any grade 12’s were inspired, but his words must have resonated with me, because later that day when I went to tell our Academic Director that day that I would not be participating in Cohort21, I heard myself saying – yes, I will attend and thank you for the opportunity.
To say I felt out of my comfort zone at my first face to face session of Cohort21, is an understatement. Having navigated the Toronto by Go Bus from Hamilton, and street car (the TTC was under construction.), I was greeted by unfamiliar faces (but thankfully friendly ones). The language of the day was often foreign, and the pace was frustratingly fast. Every question I ask was answered, but quickly replaced by new ones, and I am embarrassed to say, I can’t remember everything I learned that day. Six hours later, still feeling technologically inadequate, I can only say it was amazing day.
I am not certain I will live up to my own expectations on this tech trek I’ve signed up for, but I left our first face to face feeling giddy with excitement and my brain overflowing with new ideas and skills to share with students and colleagues. I am still out of my comfort zone, it’s early in the process, and I have an enormous amount of “homework, and even more questions, but the fact that I am looking forward to the next face to face is tells me that this venture is worth the risk.