Guest contributor Amber Anania (@msanania) is a 7th grade language arts teacher at Westfield Middle School who recently became a Google Certified Educator Level 1. In this post, she shares her experiences preparing for and taking the qualification exam.

I jumped wholeheartedly onto the Google bandwagon when it arrived at my school a few years ago. After using Word for so many years, it only took one element to make me jump ship: shared documents. I work closely with the other people in my department, and we were constantly changing Word documents, but we never knew which was the latest one or the one we liked the best. Sharing documents and always knowing the information is updated made sense to me. At the end of the last school year, I had an opportunity to attend a Google Bootcamp with the expectation of taking the test to become a Google Certified Educator. Without hesitation, I signed up for the two-day class.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Google Bootcamp, but I was pretty confident that I would know most of what was being taught. Was I wrong! I learned so much about the Google Suite of products. I was excited to learn how to use Sheets as that is not my strong suit. As a language arts teacher, I like to say that I don’t do math, but I am now able to use Sheets…and that is math! Rosanna, the Five-Star presenter, made the boot camp fun. She encouraged us to ask questions and email her if we needed anything before the test. I had a couple of questions before I took the test, and she was very helpful in answering them. She said it would take the full three hours to take the test, and she was right!

I was initially nervous about taking the test because I worried about the timed aspect. Wanting to get it over with, I took the test a couple of days after the boot camp. That way the material was still fresh in my head. I did have a few technical difficulties related to the permissions on the wifi at my school, but I persevered and passed the test. Being a Google Certified Educator has helped me in my own room, and it makes me feel like I am qualified to help others. I recently worked with the board of directors for an organization I am involved with to help them utilize the Google Suite. Many of the members had never used Google and were leery to learn something new. Hopefully, I helped them see the benefits of using Google. It will make the organization more manageable as it grows and new members take over the board.

Now, I cannot imagine using anything other than the Google Suite. It just makes everything so much easier!