As many of you know, I attended my first Google Summit in Charlottesville, VA in the spring of 2015 and I was hooked. That spring I also learned of the Google Level 1 exam and prestige that went with the badge. I wanted it. No one told me I had to do it. I was motivated by the excitement and learning Google had to offer and soon after I passed both the Level 1 & 2 exams. Three years later I still love EdtechTeam Google Summits and I am Google Certified Trainer. But, things have changed a bit.
Across the United States, schools have started to adopt the policy that every teacher become Google Level 1 certified. In several areas, leadership has also decided to attach the level 1 exam to teacher re-certification. Therefore, this policy has effectively taken away the joy and intrinsic motivation for which I saw the test represent.
It is November and the first nine weeks has come to a close. For the most part, the training we offer to help with Google Level 1 has gone well. Recently, I met my first group of sincerely uninspired Google Level 1 exam teachers and they made it clear they do not want to take the exam. They do not see a purpose in how the exam will improve their teaching or ability to influence students. They are the uninspired for a variety of reasons. Some are valid, some are not.
This is where leadership and a growth mindset comes into play.
I have difficulty with the premise that the test is built for self-motivated learners and someone decides to change it to a benchmark. But, I have grown because of the GSuite for Education platform and I believe these teachers can as well. I believe that learning stretches are mandatory for teachers to help them understand how students feel when tackling a subject they may not be interested in.
So, my job as a leader is to make it relevant and practical. My leadership style is based on how I react to the uninspired. I need to put on the coaching hat and become the instructional leader they need to pass the exam. My opinions on the philosophy behind the exam have to stay reserved. My ability to focus on the task at hand will not only send a consistent message, but it will allow me to work on my past inability to maneuver the minefield of political, parental, and community agendas in the future.
I'll let you know the results in May when everyone is certified or certifiable.