Finally, after three years, we had the opportunity for the participants in my (Hunter's) CS Teacher Certification program to get together in person. Last year, a handful of the cohort 2 members had a dinner but never a big gathering across the cohorts.
Not everyone could make it, so yesterday, we had close to 50 teachers out of our total 100 across the three cohorts gather at Yext in the Meatpacking district to meet each other, talk shop, and celebrate being New York State's first certified CS teachers.
Now, of course, meeting in person as opposed to Zoom, as we have been these past three years has some obvious advantages but one that never fails to amuse me is that we all now know how tall everyone is.
On Zoom, particularly if you see a screen with someone you know, everyone gets sized with respect to that person. If I see JonAlf, my co-teacher this past semester on the screen and he's about my size, everyone else, is relative to his size allowing for camera position.
Quite a surprise for me on for a few people.
Okay, ultimately that's not important but I did geta chuckle out of it.
A highlight of the event was that three of our teachers from the Dryden School district - a little east of Cayuga lake came down. They're in town today and tomorrow to visit the CS classes of some of our NY city teachers and we scheduled this meetup so they could meet their classmates and the rest of our teachers.
I guess that's really what I was reminded of - meeting other teachers, pulling them into your network can be so powerful. Many of the teachers last night commented on that. Yes, they commented on the content of the program - the CS, the methods, everything we did in the classes but they also commented on how they were "it" in their school. The lone CS teacher flying solo. Being in the program not only introduced them to other teachers in the same boat but over the year of the program it built relationships through common experiences and the in person meetup just helped cement the relationships.
Moving forward, they'll always have the content but now they're all in a network of CS teachers that they legit know, as opposed to just seeing at events here and there and I think that's going to be a big impact of the program I built moving forward.
What's next? Well, since I'm retiring, one thing I think I might do, assuming my friends at companies like Yext and Google and others provide space and food is get back to running the PD sessions that I ran prior to covid through my non-profit. The teachers last night were really enthused about that idea. That'll probably be a good way of keeping the community together and able to support each other along with our slacks and emails.