The Beginning Never Ends
Many thanks to Paul for allowing me to be a guest blogger, sharing my experience as part of the LON19 Google Innovator Academy in July 2019. I’m the Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Channahon School District 17, Channahon, Illinois, USA. I spent a little more than 20 years teaching junior high school language arts before transitioning 7 years ago my current role. You can follow me on Twitter -- I’m @mrsbogacz!
The first time I applied to be a Google Innovator was to be a part of the DEN18 academy. I had an idea for a problem to be solved in education. I also had a solution for that problem. I shared both in my video. I consulted a friend and coworker who is already an Innovator and took his advice. I watched many other people’s application videos before making mine, and I really thought mine was pretty good. I told myself not to get my hopes up, that the odds were not in my favor to be accepted on the first try, but I got my hopes up anyway. Of course, I didn’t make it. But I was not going to quit. I decided right away to revise my approach, remake my video, and apply again. My work was not done here. The beginning never ends.
The application process changed somewhat the next time I applied, which was for SYD19. I did the same things this time to prepare my application and video -- watched videos, spoke with my coworker, and put together a new video, one that focused more on the problem and tried to avoid any mention of the solution. This time, I knew my hopes were up -- this wasn’t my first attempt, so I felt like what I learned would serve me well and I would get accepted. Of course, I didn’t. But still I was undaunted. Once again, I reevaluated and decided to apply again. The beginning never ends.
I decided to apply for LON19. This time, I reached out to another Innovator as well as my trusty coworker. They both had some really solid advice. My coworker had me go through 4 different iterations of my application video before I had it finalized. The other Innovator who helped me really pushed me out of my comfort zone, letting me know it would be advantageous to put myself in front of the camera so the selection committee could have a better idea who I was. I hit submit, feeling good, but wary of getting my hopes up since I had been disappointed twice before. This time -- the third time -- was the charm. I got accepted! Finally, my work had ended! But really, the beginning never ends.
Once I was accepted and the excitement wore off, I realized there was going to be quite a bit of work to be done before I even got to the academy in London! We were given homework assignments to complete, some directly related to the project, some designed to create camaraderie and team building among the members of the London cohort. From the time of acceptance until the time the academy started, there were exciting and challenging things to do because the beginning never ends.
Of course, the three days at the academy are intense. There is much iterating, reiterating, building, rebuilding, designing, redesigning, imagining, reimagining, accepting, and rejecting of ideas that happens each and every day there. I discovered that just when I thought I had my brain wrapped around an idea or a direction, something else popped up to change my idea or direction, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The beginning never ends.
By the time graduation arrived on the last day and I had my project ready to go, I felt good and settled inside. I had a project to work on with a name, a slogan, a pitch, and a direction. I stood on stage and shared my heart’s work with the world, beaming with pride. I had done it! I had achieved the goal of becoming a Google Innovator! And when the adrenaline of graduation had worn off, I headed home, filled with the excitement created by the birth of my project. I sat down to get the ball rolling on my project, to start to bring it to fruition, I was smacked in the face with a stunning revelation: if I wanted to bring my project to actual life, I had so much work to do and so many things I needed to learn! Just when I thought I had finally accomplished a dream, I discovered that the beginning never ends.
This is my big takeaway from the London Academy. Each milestone achieved is really just a stepping stone. Just when I thought I was done with something, I realized it was all just preparation for the next thing around the corner. All endings are temporary because as a Google Innovator, the beginning never ends.