Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I am the anti teacher of the year.  Some days, I like to think I'm doing a pretty good job, but I'll never be teacher of the year.  I've come to accept this, but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed anyway.  I'm hard on myself, and as much as I'd love to say I'm all about Dan Pink's Drive, it's a realized fact of my life that I'm after the gold star.  The external motivator drives me, just as much (if not more) as wanting to do a good job because I want to do my best.

This year has been a tough one for me.  In addition to it being my first year back from maternity leave with a second child, I'm teaching a course I haven't taught in more than 10 years (and it was my FIRST year teaching to boot), a course I haven't taught in 4 years, and a completely new, online course.  To say my days are spent trying to keep my head above water the next day is an understatement. 

Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, I've made attempts to incorporate the Flipped Classroom into my US History 2 course.  Thus far, I've done two attempts, using both The Flipped Classroom and Mastery Learning.  It has, by no stretch of the imagination, been easy.  I feel like all my homework assignments are crap, which means what the kids are doing in class is crap.  I feel like in order to give fast feedback so students can make corrections, I spend all my time in front of a computer or at my desk marking papers so that they can be turned around and handed back.  Of course, the point of the Flipped Classroom is so the teacher has more engagement time with her students, but I feel like I have substantially less on those days.  And, for some reason, my students are frustrated but not telling me about it.

In short, most days I feel like my implementation of the Flipped Classroom gives the Flipped Classroom a bad name.

I believe there have been successes, though, and they're big ones.  I think my implementation has gotten students thinking bigger about the content--many of them are thinking more and memorizing less.  I've also been using essential questions to frame my units, and these essential questions, or elements of them, have become my test questions.  I believe students are thinking deeper and making more connections across time, whether by the lessons I've designed or because of something else.

My principal has asked me to write a reflection on what I'm doing here, and since the likelihood of me losing anything I write on paper is high, here's that reflection.  In my compartmentalized blog world of six blogs under this account alone (most of which haven't been updated in months), I hope I can remember to post at all.

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