Looking back on the last couple of months, I’ve been really glad that I was pushed to apply for Google Innovator. I’ve been evolving as an educator for over eleven years now and the process forced me to reflect on everything as a whole to try and focus on ‘what’s next.’ Really, this is something everyone should do every now and then. Not necessarily go through an application processes (but that’s fine too!), but rather to stop, sit, and reflect on your past, present and future self. Believe me, it gets DEEP when you do this. Especially if you rummage through past artifacts while in reflection mode!
With this most recent exercise, I spent countless hours thinking about my years as a high school Biology educator and the lives I have impacted. I thought about all the bonds that were formed between my colleagues and myself. Looking back on the time we spent thinking about how we could push ourselves further in order to make learning more attainable and meaningful, I also reflected on the past two years wanting to do more and impact a greater number of students but in a different way… (more on that later…) And, after all the reflecting, and nudging by coworkers, friends, and family, I decided to go all in. Why? Because throughout my reflection of where I was, and where am I today, my passions and my goals have always been the same. I realized that I already had most of the work done! And that was to tell my story about what I’m passionate about in education. I’ve come to realize that this isn’t something new at all. This is exactly what I have been doing ever since I first set foot into a classroom: discovering ways to provide the absolute best educational experience to as many learners as possible.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi
Cliche? To some, yes. To me… no. It was the saying that was etched into a stone paper weight that was given to me as a ‘Thank You’ when I first started teaching at Ascension Middle School in Oak Park, IL many years ago. It is a saying that drives me to this very day. To always be a better person, to help others be better people, and to be the one who encourages others to be amazing in their own rights! It is a saying that reflects my passion as an educator. I innovate so that I can always be that change. There are no resting on laurels in this house for sure!
Over the past weekend until this very moment, there are probably hundreds of applicants who have spent hours reflecting on their role in education and how they leave their marks. With that, I’d like to say ‘Thank you Google Edu.’ Thank you for giving educators everywhere an opportunity to do some deep reflection and sharpen their focus as it has done for me. I have a feeling the next generation of #GoogleEI will be truly ground-breaking!