The cohort21 experience was amazing today. I am always blown away by the experiences and expertise of the people in the room. There are people there who have done some AMAZING things and everyone is so excited to share their knowledge to help others, but in a really genuine way (read: not in a bragging way).
As I sit in the airport, I’m sort of struck by how the people here are like teachers at school. Everyone is busy, everyone has a destination in mind, there are timelines and sometimes time crunches. Sometimes you have time to eat, sometimes you eat on the run. Occasionally you have time to go to the bathroom and everyone is carrying around way too many bags.
As we look to build our action plans in the next week – don’t be afraid to sit on the airport floor by the nearest charger and just watch. What the people, their struggles, their successes and ask yourself: What are the issues you see arising? What are the current solutions? Is this something in your sphere of influence? Is there someone in your school working on this issue? Is there someone in #cohort21 alum directory who has looked at this issue?
Once you think you have a handle on what you see, ask! People love to tell their stories, ask them and listen.
As I sit on the plane heading to #cohort21 I was struck by many of the same feelings I had last year when I really just had no idea what to expect other than to expect something awesome.
I know that the day is almost here and so many of you are excited and nervous about so much of the #cohort21 journey. I wanted to let you know that the feelings of excited and nervous are exactly the ones you need to get the most out of this journey.
You might be feeling excited because you are seeing this as an opportunity to make a change in teaching routine, or perhaps it is school culture that you want to change. Perhaps you have an inkling of an idea that will help students or teachers in your school, and this is the push to get it started. Whatever your action plan ends up being, know that we all want you to be successful, we want to help you and we are excited to see just how far you can take your action plan.
I hope that you can find a refreshing excitement that can come from being around so many genuine and caring professionals. Personally, I always return to school feeling like a first-year teacher – all shiny and full of bright ideas that are going to change my corner of the school.
You might be feeling nervous about thinking deeply about your own classroom practices and all of the things you might find once you really let yourself reflect on areas of improvement. I know this is how I was feeling before my first “onboarding”. I am well aware of my shortcomings (there are many) and as an educator and am constantly reflecting, reading, observing and working to change my practice to really become the teacher that I aspire to be for my students.
Maybe you are nervous because you just do not know what to expect, what kinds of questions we will ask and how you will find this mystery “action plan”. Know that this is OK too. Know that even people coming with an idea will likely change parts of it. It’s OK if you do not decide what to focus on until long after Saturday once you have had time to digest the people and the sheer amount of collective knowledge at your disposal.
I want you to know however you walk into that room on Saturday, we are excited to have you all on board and know that we won’t make you skydive without a parachute.