My advice to Google Teacher Academy applicants: ya gotta believe!!!

Posted on May 8, 2009 by kjarrett 16 Comments

This is a repost of an earlier entry on the same subject – it’s how I feel, so, why rewrite it? :-) GOOD LUCK!

Hi everyone,

A couple of people in my PLN have asked for advice about their applications for the Google Teacher Academy coming up in Boulder, Colorado on August 5th Washington, D.C. on December 9th. So, rather than writing a few emails, I thought I’d post here instead. Please note: these are my opinions only, no warranties expressed or implied, your mileage may vary, void where prohibited by law. ;-)

So, let’s get started … when working on your application (thank you, Dalton Sherman, for the inspiration):

  1. You have to believe in YOURSELF. There is a saying, “everywhere you go, there you are.” Think about it. No one, including the people reviewing the GTA applications, is going to believe in you unless you believe in yourself. Easy to say? Perhaps. What does this mean in practical terms for your application? Check out the short answers section. You’ve got to respond those questions in 150 words or less. Your words have to demonstrate your belief, but…
  2. You have to believe in YOUR STUDENTS, YOUR COLLEAGUES, YOUR STAFF, YOUR SCHOOL. This is your application, but it’s not about you, your personal accomplishments, or anything like that. It’s about how YOU can help your those around you succeed and thrive.  In my view, the most powerful evidence of effectiveness as a leader comes from the achievements of others. What is your best example? What was your role in the process?
  3. You have to believe IN POWER OF THE NETWORK.  Do you surround yourself with people who are more knowledgeable than you? Do you regularly “stand on the shoulders of giants”? Explain why!
  4. You have to believe in the GLOBALIZATION. Have you helped connect learners in your school to others, across the country or around the world? Or do you WANT to? Work that in!
  5. You have to believe YOU HAVE A SHOT. You can’t win if you don’t play. Period. Forget the competition. If you want this experience, apply – by Midnight, July 3rd!

Final advice…

  • Write, let it sit; re-write, and let it sit some more. Repeat. I had my answers to each of the application questions in a Word document that I revised for two weeks. The more it ‘sat’ the better my revisions became. Whether it was tightening up wording, changing the focus, or injecting humor, my revisions always improved my entry.
  • The application video … what to do? Well, first, search for examples. Here’s mine (which is a violation of #2 above, but anyway). There are more examples here. As you will see they range from students appealing directly to the camera to poetic summaries of educational philosophy to photo essays about creativity and innovation. Personally, I think what you say matters more than how you say it. Skip the fancy visuals and  spend your time coming up with a compelling message!
  • Are you a Google BEAST? Do you use Google tools in creative ways every day? Work that in, above! You don’t HAVE to be a Google fanboy but it probably won’t hurt your chances, especially if you follow #2 above. :-)