As you may know, I'm now the UK Director at AppsEvents. We run Google for Education training and events all around the world. It's a super fun job and I love every second, meeting enthusiastic educators all over the world. Just before I took on the position, I did a quick interview for their blog and thought I'd repost here. Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
AppsEvents: Hi Dean. Thanks for doing this interview. For the benefit of our readers, please tell us something about yourself.
Dean: Hey, my name’s Dean Stokes and I was a full-time teacher in England for over 8 years before deciding to freelance and travel the world in July this year. I’ve used Google products since Gmail was released in 2004 and began using them in my teaching in 2013.
AppsEvents: When did you apply for the Google Certified Trainer program and what was your greatest motivation?
Dean: I attended the Google Teacher Academy (now called the Google for Education Innovation Academy) in London, 2013. It was totally inspiring and I met some great people there including other AppsEvents speakers like Ben Rouse and Oli Trussell. I was already training the staff at my school but was inspired to share even further.
I applied to become (and was accepted as) a Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) in early 2014. My biggest motivation was the opportunity to share my enthusiasm more widely. Being a GET definitely gives you more credibility when presenting to other teachers. It has also opened lots of doors for me and provided a huge, supportive personal learning network (PLN).
AppsEvents: Did you encounter any challenges?
Dean: Time. Trying to make my application as strong as possible whilst working with a full timetable of lessons was difficult. I would bullet point my ideas for the video and answers to the questions whenever I thought of them before bringing it all together when I had a decent chunk of time to do so.
AppsEvents: We’ve heard that you’ve been travelling around the world while doing Google Apps (now G Suite) training and/or consultation. Can you tell us more about it?
Dean: I really loved teaching in a secondary school but this year I made the decision to leave in order to freelance full time whilst travelling the world. Being a Google for Education Certified Trainer essentially enabled that to happen. It meant that I had built a large enough network of contacts and events that I could earn money whilst enjoying visiting different cities and countries.
In the last 12 months, I've completed a road trip across the USA from New York to San Diego, went whale watching off Vancouver Island, enjoyed a sauna in Finland and lived in Barcelona for a month. I’ll also be visiting the Philippines, South Korea and Italy. In total, this year, I will have presented in 12 different countries for a number of schools and businesses including AppsEvents and Google directly.
AppsEvents: In your own words, can you list the top benefits of becoming a Google Trainer?
Dean: For me, it’s people, people, people. It’s thanks to becoming a trainer that I’ve been able to meet other people as enthusiastic as me about using G Suite for Education. That ultimately leads to more work but, most importantly, helps you to continually grow and learn from others.
AppsEvents: Do you miss teaching full time? Is there any similarity between teaching in a classroom set up versus what you do now.
Dean: I definitely miss teaching students but the great thing about my job now is that I get to train adults who will be able to collectively reach and improve the experience for more students than I would have ever been able to on my own. I'm also lucky enough to work on projects that involve students directly. For example, I'll soon be supporting a school in training a group of digital leaders who will in turn support other students and their teachers who will be using Chromebooks.
AppsEvents: What is the best thing about working as a full time trainer?
Dean: I really love the freedom that working this way offers. I'm able to essentially freelance full time whilst still enjoying life full time! It certainly didn't feel like I had the same work/life balance when I was in the classroom five days per week.
AppsEvents: Most memorable training experience?
Dean: I worked for Google on their BETT stand for the past two years. I met 1000s of people new to G Suite and Chromebooks and provided their first experience of Google Classroom. I am proud that Google asked me to work with them. I have some other particularly exciting projects in the pipeline too, but I'm not able to share them publicly yet… Sorry!
AppsEvents: Can you share with us what people can expect from the Google Certified Trainer bootcamp?
Dean: The Certified Trainer Bootcamp will go beyond using tools. Participants will get involved in learning how best manage change by supporting schools and leaders. We’ll also run through a number of real-life scenarios to help them develop skills for creating relevant training plans. Different training strategies will be introduced to help aspiring trainers deal with reluctant or disengaged learners.
AppsEvents: Aside from attending our bootcamp, anything else you would like to share to fellow educators who would also like to switch careers from being a classroom teacher to a full time Google for Education or G Suite trainer/consultant?
Dean: I do miss teaching and I really enjoy the times that I get to spend back in the classroom. The reason I switched was because I had a bigger goal of seeing as much of the world as I could. Full time freelance work has given me the flexibility to do that. It has also made me realise how much I enjoy training adults. Helping people realise what they’re capable of, no matter their age, is my favourite part of the job.