Hello, I’m Rafranz and I’m a GTA Reject!

A few weeks ago, I took a gamble and applied to the Google Teacher Academy in Atlanta. I knew going in that being chosen was a long shot as there were only 35 slots but I wanted to go for it because eventually, I wanted to apply to the academy in Austin…a more realistic “local” location.

I even reflected on the process…here.

So, to be clear…I NEVER considered myself a “real” contender to get in which, as I write this…maybe that was my first mistake

Fast forward to yesterday…my friend Beth Still reminded me on Facebook that today was coming. Tweets were rampant with excitement from others that applied. All of a sudden, that “thing” that I wasn’t thinking about was slapping me dead in the face and then I made mistake #2…I allowed myself to think that maybe…just maybe…I could get in. (I’m annoyed at myself for even thinking this way as I type)

So, I spent a great part of my day…while in training for our district instructional model roll out…checking email and twitter for a sign that notifications went out. I got nervous and all of a sudden, I felt myself caring about THIS application…the one that was NOT supposed to count. I checked my email and read…

Thank you for recently applying to the Google Teacher Academy. We’re sorry to inform that you were not selected to attend. We appreciate the time and effort that you committed to this application. Even though only a small number of applicants can be accepted, we know each applicant is a dedicated and innovative leader in education. Thank you for your service to your students and colleagues.

We hope that you’ll consider applying for another academy, and wish you luck in your continued endeavors to create positive change through education in your community.

Cheers and best,

The Google Teacher Academy Team

I read this but all I that I heard was the Charlie Brown teacher after sentence 2 which in my mind translated into…

“Dear Rafranz, Thank you for applying to our super special society but I’m sorry…You suck…Goodbye!”

Yep…for about 1.25 minutes…that’s how I felt. (mistake #3)

Then… I remembered who I was and what I stand for and then my pity party ended.

I talked to my director, a GCT and she explained that the rubric follows the application requirements. I saw others post advice like…”consult with a GCT before hitting submit”… which I did, ironically. I went back and forth debating about repeating this process again for Austin but then I remembered that I had no idea what I needed to work on. Was it my video? Was it my resume? Was it my reflective questions? What was it? (I’ll keep it real…I’m sure that it was the video…I think)

The thing is…how am I supposed to know what to address without feedback. It’s interesting that doing this would be frowned upon in the classroom yet there is no GTA application feedback? So, I’m supposed to go into this thing blind again?

Interesting, but then again, this is a “super special society” so…yeah

Dear Rafranz,

(In case you forgot…let me remind you of who you are and what YOU do)

You work in a district of over 65,000 students and you are personally responsible for supporting learning for over 500 teachers and their students. Technically, your job title is “Instructional Technology Specialist” but like your good friend Kristy Vincent reminded you, your mindset is so far away from thinking in terms of tools alone.  YOU support learning. In a district that is currently undergoing a major overhaul in instruction, the tools come in handy to make learning accessible, equitable and transformative. In addition, YOU are a learner who fully immerses yourself in reflective as well as social learning environments that challenge you to grow which is even more amazing because part of your growth is an understood responsibility to share.

You don’t need three letters behind your name to do the things that you do. You don’t need to wait for an academy in order to learn. This is a choice. You want to do this. As you remind your children often..there is a huge difference between NEED and WANT.

So, hear me and hear me well. Do not sit here and allow yourself to be defined NOW or in the future by any of the opportunities that you earn or fail to earn. You know better and guess what…YOU DO NOT SUCK.


Your Rational Self

PS: Before you even consider applying again, reflect on your purpose and decide if this truly matters to you and your own personal growth. Also, remember that a “no” has never been okay in any aspect of your life so don’t start letting it be okay now. If you want Austin to be a “thing”…make it happen.




Comments 10

  1. + 10…. you know… even if you saw the rubric there would still be some “evaluative magic” going on. Not everyone can get an A on this. There are only so many spots so at some point you have to use your gut and heart and I’m sure there were some tough choices. There are probably 15-20% of the applications on the top and bottom that are an easy yes/no and then there is a group of teachers who are all RAD who they have to sort and it’s not easy and it’s quite messy.

    1. Believe me. I know. Honestly, those were my thoughts at the moment. This was my way of thinking out loud. With that said, this entire post was less about the process that I cannot control and more about my own process…my thinking….what I could and should have done better.

      At the end of the day, I want to apply again. I’m going to and this time, I’ll approach it a bit differently.

      1. I give you credit about applying again I am not sure if I am there yet, what I do know, that over the next year, I have an amazing journey ahead, but, I would of liked some feedback. My heart is heavy for the students I teach every day I just wanted to better for them. I felt I put a lot of time and effort into that application. My question is can an “online” instructor even get into GTA since I am not face to face with students everyday.

        1. Why wouldn’t an online instructor be able to get in? What you are doing IS where learning is going. So, the question is…how can you showcase how GAFE supports what you do to promote change?

          Looking back at my own video, I should have and could have focused more on the tools but I didn’t. I focused on the learning from the lens of a teacher and how her revelation stimulated growth.

          The bottom line is that we “could’ve…would’ve…should’ve” all day long and that won’t change a thing. You still won’t know where you fell short.

          With that said, you don’t need GTA to become a more effective instructor. You don’t need to be in that physical location to learn any tools. Connect with people through twitter. So many are offering their support daily and you CAN implement so many ideas through doing that.

          At the end of the day, your growth is in your hands…your control…not reliant on the lens of any other entity.

          1. You also might have a better chance of getting on board second round (that might be on their list of “things that are plusses”).

  2. Pingback: Lunch Reflection on Growth: My 4 Rules | RafranzDavis.com

  3. You are, and always have been, an inspiration to me. You are not defined by this process but by the students, teachers, and administrators you are helping each day – Chin up!

    1. Post

      Thank you Lise! I sooo look forward to not only seeing you but learning with you in Canada! Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  4. I applied to Stanford’s “design school” last year, with the same scenario except I kinda thought I might get in. I was stuck in a hotel in Dallas with the Missed Flight Blues the night the announcement email came out (past 11)… since my application included links to stuff on my site, I could also infer from when those pages were hit that I was an early washout.
    I don’t suck though, and nor do you 🙂 Listen to the rational self.
    I *did* use it as motivation: I’m going to do something even better… because it’s on my terms…
    Listen to your Rational Self. YOU DO NOT SUCK.
    Google is probably looking for people that will be Loyal To THeir Brand… they might have figured you think too much for that…

  5. Pingback: Would’ve Should’ve Could’ve: Reflecting on the Google Teacher Academy Austin Submission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *