Musings from a high school Teacher
I know I have not been the best at blogging, but that doesn't mean the gears haven't been turning. I was just reading a great blog post about why the flipped classroom feels like self-teaching to some students. This struck a huge chord with me. My students give me feedback about the course; they have been asking me for more teacher-led, in-class instruction. I have to say that I have been trying to do that for them. I was relieved, and at the same time intrigued, to hear in the blog I read that this is a common growing pain of flipping.
If I think about what I am asking my students to do, I am basically asking them to do the opposite of what they have been doing the majority of their academic career, and likely the opposite of what they are doing right now in other classes. It is no doubt then that having them look at content in their own time and own way is foreign and feels like I am doing nothing.
I will admit it has been odd for me, too. I feel like I put so much effort in that no one sees. Students, parents and colleagues have no idea how many hours I spend outside of class researching and making content for my Youtube channel and for my website and assignments. To them, it probably looks like I am a slacker. I spend my class time working one-on-one with whomever needs it, with whatever they are working on; and, occasionally I do group instruction, if there are a few at the same place. It looks like, in the traditional sense, I do "nothing". My marking load is much different as I never just sit down and mark a stack of the same assignment: it is not likely that there is a stack of the same assignment. Most people are at different places at different times. Instead, I am constantly marking. I am constantly trying to stay on top of the 6 different classes I teach in 2 physical blocks of student time.
Flipping has allowed for us to run 6 different programs in 2 blocks. I don't know that I would try that again, as it is a bit too much, but it sure has been great for the students. They have been able to choose which computer course interests them the most regardless of the block designation.
Sometimes I do need to clone myself. I feel torn in so many directions that I sometimes forget what they are talking about. They are really pretty tolerant at explaining to my multitasking mind exactly which part of which assignment in which class they are struggling with. It may inadvertently be teaching better advocation skills. For me, however, it is overwhelming at times. I would like to try this again with a little less going on and see if this really is effective.
I feel like I am just keeping my head above water with it right now. I don't know if it is because I need more practice or if 6 classes in two blocks is just too many subjects. I am so grateful for this digital world of supportive colleagues. If you have suggestions or know if I am just going through growing pains, let me know. I could use the guidance.
Striving to explore flip: explain in order to engage!