Using Certifications To Tell Your Story- May 22, 2019

As we begin the final weeks of school in Northern Virginia, I have been reflecting quite a bit on my first year as a SBTS. Today, I have my final evaluation meeting of the year. As I read my feedback from my administrator (see right), I was so proud of not only all that my school has accomplished this year, but also how I enabled and contributed to it. I have to admit when I walked in to my office on Day 1, this job was more than a little intimidating but through the course of the year, I have grown so much.

This is especially on my mind since I am currently de-staffed to 0.5 at my school next year and will be 0.5 at another elementary school. This is a result of enrollment and is not a reflection on my performance at all. But it has made me think, what do I want to be the next chapter in my story as an educator?

The whole concept of telling my story came to me while reading Lead Like A Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf. In this book, they talk about leaders using social media to tell their school's or district's story. This year, that was an area my school grew quite a bit in. We doubled our school's use of Twitter and families were invited in to share the stories inside classrooms. Moreover, staff became more aware of the school's stories as they followed other educators in the building.

So what is my story? Where do I want to go as an educator? It hit me then- the certifications I choose to get tell that story and the ones I aspire to earn direct my journey. Like the @SonsofTechnology mention in Episode 009 of their podcast, certifications are more than just badges in your email signature, they show accomplishments and a high level of proficiency in using a tool for instruction. They definitely tell your story!

My story starts with Google. After being a faithful listener to @GTTribe for close to a year, I was using GSuite regularly in my classroom. I was definitely a Googly girl.

During summer break, I decided to take it to the next level and take the Level 1 Certified Educator exam. I was very excited that I passed, but this exam was no joke. It was a 3 hour exam and I used close to all my time.

How does being a Google Certified Educator- Level 1 add to my story?

This certification validated for both myself and my school community that not only did I have basic competencies using GSuite for Education, but also that I was dedicated to using this tool with both my staff and students to create transformative educational experiences.

As Winter Break approached, I decided to take the next step. Could I become a Level 2 Google Certified Educator? I was not sure but knew I wanted to try. Once again, I sat down for another 3 hour exam and used close to all my time making sure that I showed how much I knew about Google. Once again, I passed and was thrilled!

How does being a Google Certified Educator- Level 2 add to my story?

This certification demonstrated that I was all in as far as Google went. It showed that I had "master(ed) the technological skills needed to integrate Google tools into the classroom, helping improve teacher efficiency, communication, and student outcomes. " (GCE Letter of Commendation)

My next certification was a bit of a welcome surprise. As I shared in my blog post on 3/19/19: I Didn't Know Wixie Could Do That?, Wixie was a new program to me this year. But as I learned more about it, I quickly realized what an impactful tool it was. I started using it regularly for my kindergarten and first grade students and often tweeted out their work on my Twitter feed @MrsTannenb. So imagine my surprise, when thie email below popped into my inbox on March 9, 2019 from Carolyn Daly at Tech4Learning.

How does being a Wixie Innovative Educator add to my story?

Congratulations! You have been named our most recent Tech4Learning Innovative Educator. I am very excited to have you included in this group of inspiring educators and appreciate all of your hard work in supporting creativity in education. We are thrilled to recognize all of the hard work you are doing with passion, and appreciate you including Tech4Learning’s Wixie in your curriculum.

After getting these certifications, I started to think about the tools I use and Flipgrid immediately came to mind. As I shared in my 4/23/19 post: Falling Into Flipgrid Fever, I decided to get Flipgrid Certified to show both my proficiency and support for this amazing resource.

How does being a Flipgrid Certified Educator, Levels 1,2 and 3 add to my story?

As of today 5/22/19: I am now a Level 3 Flipgrid Certified Educator. I am so proud of this accomplishment. I love how this tool empowers students and gives them a voice. It is truly one of my favorite tech tools to make student thinking visible.

So what's next, you might ask? Yesterday, I signed up for @ShakeUpLearning's Google Certified Trainer course. The next chapter of my journey will include my journey to become a @Google Certified Trainer and I can't wait. I know it won't be easy but I truly want to share my love of GSuite for Education with others as part of my position.

And maybe some day, I can apply to be a Google Certified Innovator...I dream big and love to learn and add to my story.