Thursday, June 20, 2013

Google and I broke up today #GTAchi

Dear Google,

You broke my heart today. You made me cry. You forced me to question my resiliency, professional work, and passion. You see, this morning I woke up anxious for the Google Teacher Academy notifications that were going out. You know because it was clearly marked my Google calendar. All morning, even while providing training (of course on Google tools for the classroom), I refreshed my email impatiently waiting. I even made up a song! *Sing to the tune of "If you're Happy and You Know It".
If you're waiting on an email quick refresh
If you're waiting on an email quick refresh
If you're waiting on an email from GTA Chicago
If you're waiting on an email click refresh.
So the waiting continued. Then, in the middle of the afternoon while sharing the Google gospel and spreading the #GoogleLove with 150 teachers, the email I had long-awaited arrived. You know this too because it came into my Gmail. But it wasn't the good news I had anticipated. It was a generic form letter of rejection. Kind of ironic for a company that prides itself on individualizing the web!

As social media exploded with people disappointed with their own copy of that generic letter and the select few who received acceptance, tears well up in my eyes. I felt betrayed. Cheated. Rejected. The tears spilled over and my stomach churned. At the first opportunity, I walked out of an auditorium filled with 1000 friends, got into my car and sobbed all the way home. My Google Now card told me it would take 44 minutes to get home in traffic.

Thirty minutes or so into that painful drive, a dear friend called. You can check it out. He called on my Google Voice number. He asked me questions about the journey I went through that brought me to this rejection. He helped me focus on the learning I had experienced and how I could bring it to other educators. I dried my tears on the purple Google shirt I was wearing, took a deep breath and realized that you and I... we have to break up.

My professional work has revolved around sharing your tools with teachers and students. My heart has filled multiple times over as I have trained teachers who have transformed their classrooms becoming more collaborative with the use of Google Drive. Like a proud mama, I've stood behind students supporting them as they created amazing blogs, Google Sites and shared their experiences on YouTube. I have literally had goosebumps watching teachers knock down the four walls of the classroom bringing the world inside with Google Hangouts.

You see, this is my passion. I usually tag these experiences with #GoogleLove but that, I now realize, is a misnomer. It's not YOU I'm in love with, it's them... the teachers and students. It's not your tools that have transformed classrooms, it is their use of them. It's not your blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this work, it's mine. I so desperately wanted you to accept me so that my work and the work of all these teachers and students would be validated.

Now I know that's not needed. While all of this was transpiring, this conversation was happening on Twitter. **Look at the image.* This was the reminder I needed. My work already has value. You may have rejected me but the people I truly love welcome me with open arms. They want my opinion. They need my experience. I refuse to let down tens of thousands of students because you decided to break my heart. Their work is already great and will continue to be amazing even without you. It's official: you and I are no longer an item. Don't don't worry though. It's not you, it's me. I now realize my heart belongs to teachers and students.

4 comments:

  1. This was a very difficult post to write. I actually wrote it last night but decided to sleep on it before publishing. To be sure, I'm very excited for those that did get in. I have some near and dear friends that will be attending. I'm not angry or bitter. I was taken aback about how much the rejection hurt. It just solidified my passion and my work. I will apply again and may very well get rejected again. That's ok though. No one said learning and growth was easy.

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  2. I am an old man who learned long ago through the wisdom and advice of others that you have to be careful about going all in on "any tool." You yourself say that "My professional work has revolved around sharing your tools with teachers and students." A tool, a relevant tool, a free tool, a useful tool, a tool that wants to be the alpha and omega of tech. Not just edtech but technology. And yet they (THE TOOL) have deemd it necessary to eliminate things such as Reader and I am sure many other things and yet they didn't listen to anyone that complained about the tool going away.

    I like that you have now narrowed your focus to the teachers, students and educators you serve. It should always be about that, those we serve and doing what is right by them. I am sure you were amazed that the sun came up this morning, or that it is still hot in the 5th ring of H E double hockey sticks Texas, and that you will have another shot at applying for the GTAWherever.

    I could give you all kinds of cliche's but I know nothing will soothe that. Your inner 5 year old got to express itself in an outer form. Just know that all of us who know you are impressed that you took the time to apply, were willing to face the rejection that you have seen so many others go through and we will still talk to you because you were brave and laid it all on the line.

    You are loved by many, you will be better(that's right with an E not an I) and you will help others achieve many things with use of whatever tool suits them for what they want to do. So enough said from me about this "first world problem." I need to go polish the chrome on my bumber before I leave for San Antonio and I need to crank up my Alta Vista and find some placed to eat on the road to San Antonio and I have a few emails to send out from my compuserve account, oh but I also need to check MySpace to see who else may show up at ISTE.

    I look forward to seeing you there.

    Paul

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  3. Love you my friend and can't wait to hug you at ISTE.

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