Monday, January 12, 2015

Getting out of my rut

            When looking at my teaching looking at getting out of a rut I think that getting into flipped classroom got me out of my rut.  During my first ten years of teaching I taught according to the traditional lecture model.  I thought I was pushing students because of the high level questions I was asking the students and the responses some of them were able to give them.  As I looked at my overall student experience, however, I noticed that although student test scores were remaining about the same the level of student engagement was decreasing.  In fact, I noticed more students sleeping during my lectures.  No matter what the class, be it physics or astronomy, I noticed more students nodding off during what I thought were educational and exciting lectures.  I came to look at this as me in a rut and began thinking it could not be me, it had to be the students.  This foolish idea led me to get out traditional lecture model of instruction and change how students will learn the information.
            This led me to a search for better ways to communicate with students or, as I came to see it now, get out of my professional rut.  I looked for was to deliver instruction.  I first had the students read a book assignment and ask questions for me to answer in class via a moodle message board.  This led to great conversations in class and allowed me to really see what was confusing my students.  This also led to a new level of excitement in my class because my classes varied from hour to hour in the level of questions and, in my opinion, forced me to enhance my knowledge of the material.  This created a more positive outlook on my part and most of the students enjoy this education where they are responsible for their learning.   This change has led to a renewed enjoyment in my class and has led to me sharing this technique with many teachers, some of who are jumping into the flipped classroom world!
            This has also led to another rut of doing too much work at home and has unfortunately led to additional work at home.  My wife has started calling me out on my work at home, which has forced me to look at the rut I was getting into.  This has led me to finding ways at home of forcing myself to find ways to getting out of the work rut.  This has led to me working out more and finding distracting activities like puzzles and channeling my inner child and working with the increasing amount of legos, yes legos.  These techniques have helped me relax and have given me an additional way to escape the rut.

            So, when I get into my rut, I get out of it by taking me time and looking for new and exciting things to do!