JET "What is a Cohort" Seminar Reflection

As a new intern with the JET program, I was unsure what to expect when I walked into the room at Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury on Saturday, October 13. Of course I understood JET’s mission and all the wonderful things the program does to support paraprofessionals in the Boston area; however, I had yet to see our cohorts and program in action. I was excited to meet our amazing participants, and curious to see how the day would unfold.

I arrived early to help Pam and Angie set up, and at that time I could already tell it was going to be a special day. We were lining up motivational notebooks, books and planners for our members to grab as they entered, and I realized at that point how unique a group like this really is. A community of individuals with the same goal in mind who hold similar professional experiences coming together in the same place to support each other and work towards accomplishing this common goal.

As the participants began flowing in, I got the chance to meet each attendee and hear a little bit about their background. Each person stated something strikingly similar to their peers; it was something along the lines of “I just want to lead a classroom, teaching is my passion.” The motivation was clear in everyone’s voice. It was so incredible to me to get the chance to meet and work with a group of people who were so clear in what their mission was, and for me to get to be a part of the group that helps to make these dreams come true is such an awesome experience.

When Casel Walker, JET seminar faculty leader, began the session, the engagement and positive energy among the group continued and became even more evident. Every individual in the room: including JET employees, JET participants, mentors, and additional guests as well, were thoroughly interested in what was being presented to them. Learning what a cohort is and how JET cohorts work together to reach a common mission was inspiring. Everyone participated in activities, asked questions, and engaged with the material.

Overall it was a great day at my first JET seminar. My favorite part and biggest takeaway from the day was the passion of our participants and their stories. It’s something I will always remember and keep in mind as I’m working with JET throughout the course of this year. I am excited to see where each participant goes and how we can help them get there!