Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 Goals Revisited!

In late December and early January, I decided on my goals for 2019.  I outlined some professional goals and a personal goal for the year with steps on how I wanted to achieve those goals.  As we are already in the middle of May and approaching the halfway point of 2019 (already!), I wanted to revisit those to update myself on my progress, make modifications to my goals if needed and set some new goals for the remainder of the year.  Here is a link to my original 2019 goals blog post if you would like to read it in its entirety rather than getting the CliffsNotes version of it in this post.  

Really proud of this badge, I worked so hard for it!
One of my goals for 2019 was to earn the Google Certified Trainer endorsement.  I have been providing training to various groups and individuals on Google tools and pedagogy for several years, and I have applied to the program in the past.  I was rejected once in 2016, then again in the summer of 2018.  I had ideas as to why I was rejected and I wanted to make sure that this time around, I was going to submit an application that went above and beyond the criteria required.  My goal was to complete the application in stages, that way I could pay attention to all of the details and have everything in order when I was finally ready.  

The plan was to have the application requirements ready by the end of February and the video requirement ready by the end of April, then submitting the entire application (the application window is now year-round; from what I have seen, there is a monthly deadline for review of applications).  I actually got everything in order and submitted in time for the February 28th deadline,  a full two months earlier than I had planned.  However, just submitting it was not my goal; my goal was to have the application accepted and earn the endorsement.  After submitting, the confirmation stated that a decision would be made in 4-6 weeks.  On April 7th, I received the notification that my application was accepted and that I was a newly minted Google Certified Trainer! While part of the requirement of the program is to provide training to others, I think the best part about it is the learning that I have already benefitted from as a result of the interactions with others in the #GoogleET community, and I look forward to continued learning and relationship and PLN building.  

Good feeling when this was displayed on the university's app!  
Over the course of the past year, I have been working on the credits required to earn a Master's in Special Education.  While I could have spread out the program over a maximum of two years, my philosophy was to complete it in as little time as possible to save money, as Western Governors University charges the same amount for tuition regardless of how many credits are completed in a term.  In my first term that ended in December, I had completed 23 of the 31 credits.  Technically, I had all of the requirements for two more credits done, but I would not have received my financial aid if I completed those credits before the end of the term, as it would have made me only part-time with the remaining six credits.  So I held onto my final paper for that class and waited until the first day of the new term, submitted it, and received notification later on that first day that I had completed that class.  Then it was on to complete my practicum hours and Praxis tests.  I completed all of the requirements and submitted my graduation paperwork on April 19, a month and a half before the end of the second term.  

While I thought I was done, it turns out that I had overlooked one more Praxis test that I had to take as a requirement of the university.  I had to scramble to find an available slot in which to register, pay the fee (don't get me started on fees for Praxis tests, the ACT, SAT, or any other test that is provided by some educational testing company, that's a rant for another day, in fact, possibly my next blog post), and take it.  Luckily, I was able to get into a testing center a few days later and complete the exam.  As of this writing, I am still waiting on the results, but I am confident that I did fine, I already passed three other Praxis tests for special education.  But any day now, I should be officially completed with my M.S. in Special Education and I can submit the endorsement for my teaching license.  

As for my personal goal of riding my bike more, while it has not been a complete failure, I certainly have not been keeping up on my goal of riding 100 miles or more a month.  I underestimated the impact of my schedule, the winter weather and its wrath, and my kids' desire to ride with me.  My work schedule is very hectic, often keeping me at school for 12-14 hours a day.  Most days, I want to sleep until I absolutely have to get up and when I get home, it's time for a bit of food, then sleep.  Weekends often mean that I want to relax.  The winter weather was certainly a roadblock for several months, as the cold, the wind, and the rain and snow was often a convenient explanation as to why I wasn't able to get out on the bike (or was it an excuse to stay in and play Nintendo?).  And because my kids got bikes as well, it has been hard to go out on long rides, as they are still young and using training wheels.  

However, I haven't completely ignored my bike.  I like to ride to the post office to get the mail, I've ridden the bike to the local breweries a few times, and I love getting the kids out on theirs with me to ride around the neighborhood a bit.  The 100 miles a month is more like 10 miles a month currently, but with the end of the school approaching soon, I should be able to get more miles under those tires.  And speaking of tires, I even learned how to fix a flat tire after getting a pinch flat on the rear wheel a couple of weeks ago.  I went and bought the tube and tools needed and after a quick YouTube video and 15 minutes, I had fixed it myself.  All of the years riding bikes as a kid and into college, I never had to replace a tube or tire, I only ever had to fill a tire when it got low, so this was a new experience.  I have even explored how to convert my tires to tubeless! A coworker told me about a method where you line the rim with duct tape and it creates a seal that is sufficient enough so that the tire will no longer require a tube.  If you are a biker, here's a quick video on how to do it!  

The Truckee River in Downtown Reno on May 16, 2019, screenshot from a
webcam hosted by the City of Reno.  It is predicted to look like this for
several more weeks as the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada was well above
average for the 2018-2019 winter season.
So at this point, I have met two of my three goals.  So my next step?  Set some new goals and modify my bike goal.  With better weather and more time, I am modifying my riding goal to 30 miles a month, essentially a mile a day.  This will take into account that I cannot do long rides with the kids yet and if I can't get out every day, I can do a longer ride on my own a few days of the month.  Another personal goal: take the kids fishing! My son got a fishing pole for his birthday, so he's been asking almost every day when we can go.  The rivers in our area are raging from the melting mountain snow (with tons of snow still to melt) and the lakes and ponds are high as well, but I look forward to getting the kids out to pull in some trout very soon (I lived on the water when I was kid, fishing was something I didn't get do as much as I would have liked living in Las Vegas, Northern Nevada has many more options to get out on the water more often).  Professionally, I am going to start exploring the Google Certified Innovator program further.  I don't believe that would be able to afford the travel in the next few months, but I would love to explore the application and prepare it for when I am ready to submit, as well as think of a base idea or two that could turn into a project.  I also am setting a goal of helping educators in my district to become excited about the Google Certified Educator level 1 exam.  I would love to help at least 10 educators earn that certification by the end of the year. 

Have you revisited your goals for 2019?  Where are you at in your journey in achieving your goals?  Let's hold one another accountable!

Until next time... 

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