First, I believe that as teachers we always want to do better and more for our students, but everyone face time constraints. As someone who has had a new prep each year of her teaching career, I can relate to not feeling fully prepared, wishing to have more time, and often wanting another class to teach that day so I can really “polish-up” a lesson before I put it to bed for another year. When I’m feeling bad for not having a gold medal lesson, I remind myself that I only can do the best I can with the time given to me and I’ll have another chance to fix the lesson in the future. As I’m getting older, I find that if I jot a few notes down on the page in the notebook where we completed the activity I have better success remembering exactly what I need to change the following year. And really, isn’t that all we can ask of ourselves is to get better each year.
Second, I’ve been beating myself up over my end of year evaluations. They weren’t all bad, in fact, most had positive comments about how much students felt they learned and how much they appreciated that I tried to make class more than just one long lecture. But after reading Marc’s blog, I realized it isn’t that my students didn’t like the class, it was just they weren’t familiar with a flipped class and; therefore, students felt uncomfortable. I did explain at the beginning of the year what we were going to do and why we were going to do it, but in the end the experience was just new to them. None of my students this past year had ever experienced a flipped classroom. Not only was the flipped classroom was different, it required more ownership of the learning, they had to construct their own understanding of some topics instead of listening to my understanding and photocopying it as their understanding, it challenged their understanding of what a teacher does, and most importantly it challenged the way they had been taught to learn for the past 10 years.
I’m looking forward to next year because I can share with my students how incredibly successful students were this year (ie student grades weren’t hurt because of flipping-they actually improved.) Most likely I’ll have a few students in my class who have experienced aspects of the flipped class; one our Biology Honors teachers incorporated aspects of blended learning in her class this year. In addition, I will take more time to help students reflect on what they learned via video lectures. And I will remind myself (and most likely my students) that no one is perfect and that all we can do is do our best and no more than that.
To Do List:
#1 Remember that you can only do the best you can and
#2 Students may feel uncomfortable in flipped classroom, but they are learning the content more deeply and are learning other important skills
I’m curious…how do you make your students feel more comfortable with a new learning strategy?