I was talking to a colleague about the application process for the Google Teacher Academy – Mountain View and was comparing it to the New York application. I told him that all the questions and video requirements were the same and the process was identical. He asked me what I had done differently on the GTAMTV application compared to my GTANY. This was an easy answer because I had done a lot differently.
- Time – I spent far more time on this application. I was trying to cram the GTANY application in between a family trip to Hawaii and creating three different presentations for a CTE conference.
- Help – I asked for it. My principal, CTE coordinator, and my wife all read, reread, and suggested edits and critiqued the video. The extra set of eyes helped me realize that I take most of what I do in the classroom and outside the classroom for granted. I had to do something that I am not comfortable with – being a little boastful.
- Change the Narrative – With the exception of my favorite teaching moment, I changed the response on every answer and I changed one essay response and the entire video on the second to last day before the deadline. My responses were missing something from the first time and in my early drafts. They seemed a little cookie-cutter and nothing seemed to stand out until I bumped into one of my students in the hall. He asked what I was working on and I told him. He responds with “I love Google. It makes everything easier and more efficient when working in group plus I get to take it everywhere.” This was what inspired me to attend the Google Teacher Academy – the students. My passion for teaching was finally explained in words and in my video because of this quote. My writer’s block was gone and the video was remade because I finally realized that it was my passion for teaching and improving myself for my students, school, and district.
- Change the video – In my first application, I tried to explain how I use Google and technology in my classroom in 60 seconds. It was 60 seconds of non-stop talking. If I had 5 minutes, I probably could not get all the different ways I use Google and technology into a video. In the GTAMTV video, I had a theme – Passion. I minimized my words and let the video do the talking. Finally, I had pictures of students and their work which allowed me to show some of the technology I use in the classroom.
- Social Media – I started posting information more often to Twitter and Facebook. The biggest item here wasn’t the posting, but after I missed out on GTANY, I started to follow everyone who was accepted and those who didn’t. I watched their videos, followed their blogs, and spent more time on Twitter. I have learned a lot from these educators and while it may not have had a direct impact on my application, it probably helped me indirectly.
The biggest difference between my applications was mentioned earlier – passion. I wrote about my passion and included it in my video. My application was more about that passion and less about my resume. I have no idea what made the difference this time, but I am proud of the changes I made because it enabled to give the reviewers a better perspective of me.