And so it begins…
New job. New journey. New blog.
Welcome to my blog on my journey to create the best, most innovative classroom I can envision. After 9 weeks of teaching at my new position, I am excited and engaged into what the future holds in my classroom.
When I walked into my classroom today I read what my substitute wrote about my students yesterday and she said, “You have some of the most fabulous students I have ever taught. They were engaged and self-motivated. You were correct when you said they would run the classroom. They answered each other’s questions only asking me for help when they were all stumped. Impressed is an understatement.”
But lets take a step back. My classroom was not always like this. My classroom once consisted of me standing in front of my classroom lecturing to my students for most of the period. This, of course, is after I spent 10-15 minutes grading math homework and answering questions from the night before. If time permitted students would spend what was left in class doing the homework I assigned, sitting quietly as I watched them. This routine repeated itself every. single. day. Just writing this bores me. What was I thinking?
It was January 2013 when I was sitting at an inservice the day before school started for 2nd semester and I watched a video on homework and how it was ineffective. It hit a nerve. A big nerve. The type of nerve that sends signals to your brain where you no longer can think rationally about an issue because everything you know that how to teach is being questioned and in one 4 minute video your teaching walls come crumbling down. My honors students came to mind, often spending hours of work at night struggling with problems. Frustrated and ill-prepared they would do what they could either asking others for help (or cheating) or getting help from parents. I then would spend a good chunk of class going over these problems the day after thinking it was a worthwhile use of class time. (Seriously what was I thinking?)
That’s when I did it. I flipped my class. I had heard about this flipping nonsense before so I was familiar with how it worked so I did it. I left the inservice and made one video the day before kids came back to school. They always tell you to take things easy. Ease into flipping. Dip your toes in the water to test it out. That wasn’t me. I jumped into the deep end, head first with no lifeguard on duty. Third quarter I flipped every lesson in my two honors classes and by the end of the 2013 school year I flipped all lessons in all six of my classes.
Last year my entire school year was flipped. Every lesson. Every class. Everyday. The first time I actually got up in front of my students to teach was around February and my students looked at me with such confusion. They had no clue what I was trying to do.
Back to the present. Currently my students make the class themselves. I am only a guide on the side, only offering support when needed. My students work at their own pace, initiating their own conversation while I sit back and watch. My students will actually get up and go to the board and discuss among themselves concepts and come up with their own ideas while I only ask, “why?” or “how?” and just this week my students even took over that job of mine. While a student was at the board going over a problem two students shout out, “Prove it!” Oh the glorious joy that overtook me.
My blogs over the next few weeks will discuss the struggles and successes over this journey and what I morphed my classroom into. I am always learning and trying out new things. If anything I am no longer to jump in for failure.
However, there is one thing I still have a hard time dealing with…control. I love control and I want control of my class. It will never leave me but I have come to terms with the fact that the students now have the control in my class. It’s their class, not mine.