With registration starting up for the new year of Cohort 21 and our first Face to Face session beginning October 17th, a few teachers in my PLN have asked whether this PD experience would be a good fit for them. Seeing three revolutions of this learning cycle now, I hope this post can be a guide for those wondering whether they should sign up (or put their names forward to their admins).
In no particular order, here are some ways to tell if Cohort 21 is right for you:
You have a growth mindset and love to learn
Cohort 21 puts you in the driver’s seat of your professional learning. Being able to to look at your practice and be able to design solutions to the challenges you face as an educator is a deeply satisfying experience. If you see setbacks as motivators to success (#growthmindsetanyone?) and are willing to explore new territory as a teacher, you will thrive in the Cohort 21 world. Moreover, if you are willing to take responsible risks and step outside of your comfort zone, you will not only thrive, but you will blossom into that teacher you have always wanted to be!
You have questions about teaching and learning that you want to explore
Good teachers, as far as I’m concerned, are always asking rich questions. Obviously we direct questions towards our students, but the best teachers are also constantly asking themselves how they can improve, how they can help their students grow, or simply put how to be better. If you have always wanted to explore a certain issue in your practice, if you have big ponderings that you don’t know how to unpack, or if you don’t even know where to begin…you need to be in this year’s Cohort.
You can be comfortable with discomfort
Let’s face it: learning can be hard. If we are doing our jobs properly, our students are constantly in that state where they are always just a little bit uncomfortable. Vygotsky says that this is the ideal place for learning to happen. But what about us? If we are bored with our learning, if we are unengaged, texting through staff trainings, or find everything we do as teacher-learners monotonous and easy then we are not actually learning anything. If you are okay with being uncomfortable at times and “leaning in” towards what you don’t know, then Cohort 21 is not only right for you, but it was made for you!
You can make space in your schedule for awesome
Greatness doesn’t happen instantly. Cohort 21 is unique in so many ways, but one key difference between every PD experience you have done and what we are doing is that it happens throughout the year. You will be attending four whole day Face-2-Face sessions, but peppered throughout the year are some extra-learning experiences: Google Hangouts, Twitter Chats, Blogging, self-reflection, and personal reading are some of the time considerations. While these pieces between Face-2-Face sessions are so worthwhile, engaging, stimulating, energizing, and motivating, they do take some time. That said, everyone who puts the time in reaps the rewards tenfold, so don’t worry about the “extra” hours you put in…you will thank yourself come April.