Cohort 21 Saved My Life.
You don’t hear that every day about professional learning, I’m willing to bet. Sure you might have taken a few tidbits of useful ideas back to your classroom, but actually fundamentally changing the way that you think about teaching and learning is a life-altering experience.
I started Cohort 21 in my first year of teaching. I can’t think of a better formative experience to have as a new teacher, other than teaching in the most incredible school imaginable. I can look back on how I have been learning and growing with the Cohort over the years and it is undeniable that my life as a teacher would not be nearly as rich, as fulfilling, as powerful, or as effective had it not been for the magic of the Cohort.
To start with, learning how to engage in real action research in my classroom has meant that I see problems in a completely different way. When I am faced with a challenge in my practice, instead of wishing it would go away, complaining about it, or just talking about this problem, I have the tools now to invent projects, possibilities, and prototypes to move me towards different solutions. When I started to learn about Design Thinking and how just by asking questions that start with “How Might I…”, I started to realize that I actually had the power to be the architect of my teaching life and I didn’t have to be beholden to the myriad of metaphorical paper cuts that too often break our spirits in this profession.
Instead, I’ve found a community of keen, eager, inquisitive teachers that extend beyond the walls of my own school. It’s kind of the reverse silo effect with Cohort 21…I have found over the years that my doors and walls have opened up to the point where I know I can send out a question to my fellow teachers from Cohort 21 and I will find an answer that I could never have imagined in my own bubble. The fact that once you do Cohort you can be involved for life (kind of like the mafia, yes) means that the expertise, the collective wealth of knowledge, and the bar of excellence just keeps going up!
While I would still have a pulse had I not done Cohort 21, I would not be the positive, problem solving, empowered teacher that I am today without the tools I gained through my time with the Cohort. I got my life as a teacher, the question is, what are you going to get from doing Cohort 21 this year?