So much of this Google Teacher Academy experience was unexpected and a welcome surprise.
Application. I don’t know anyone that would put together their application and expect to be accepted. Boiling my educational philosophy/approach/POV into a one minute snapshot was humbling, frustrating, consuming hours of my life. I truly appreciate the quick turn around time. Just as when I was applying for admin jobs in our area, the rejection letter because the norm. So when the congratulatory email came through it was just…. amazing. I just stared at it in stunned silence. No way.
And then real life steals back my attention and energy. End of school, hiring, summer plans… lots to do. So July 29 & 30 snuck up on me. Boom! We’re in the car headed to the Googleplex.
What I expected vs. what really happened.
I expected a mind-bending avalanche of information, training and collaborating. Like Google Summit, when on Sunday after lunch you just can’t take in one more piece of information no matter how amazing and nerdy. That’s what I expected.
What happened was much more subtle. No easier on the mind, but a slowly approaching tsunami rather than an avalanche.
It hit me at 5pm on day 1: Creative Leaders. Outstanding Educators. Ambassadors for Change. It’s absolutely not about stuff: hardware, apps, platforms, tools, tricks, etc. It’s totally about people.
Students. What are we doing to enhance learning for students? How are we supporting them to do the work of learning?
Teachers. What does teacher training look like? Does it live in the realm of stuff or does it transcend stuff to real teaching and learning. Do we put teachers in the position of learner? To what end?
Administrators. What role do we play in this big picture of teaching and learning and technology? Are we learners? Shouldn’t we be?
The three-fold mantra of Google Teacher Academy is all about we, the people, who strive to teach and learn and lead in an increasingly complicated school landscape.
Speaking of people, many new GCT write extensively about the people they’ve met and connect with over the two-day experience. For me, this was a real challenge. I’m plenty social, but lack the social stamina needed to interact in meaningful ways with sixty people. What a crowd! Despite my best efforts, I know at least 5 people I never had even a minimal exchange with and that’s disappointing.
The good news is the continued connections. Our GHO Chat continues 24/7 and I love the easy way we have with one another. Google+ continues to be a meeting/sharing place. And Voxer keeps a voice in my ear to remember and connect.
So Now What?
The action plan is next. I think I’m going with two. #overachiever One with my colleague and fellow GCT Amy Fadeji and one of my own at my site.
But it’s really not about the action plan. It continues to be about people. My new GCT family. My site family. My district family. Our students. How will I embody Creative Leader, Outstanding Educator, Ambassador of Change? I can’t wait to see.