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The Flipped Teacher: Back to School in the Flipped Classroom

Aug 12, 2019

It's that time of year again.  The time of year where teachers are doing more reflecting and planning than most people do in an entire calendar year.  You are thinking about your future students, wondering what to expect, imagining the impact you can have, and dreaming of the connections you'll make in meaningful, authentic ways.

If you're reading this right now, I bet you are also the type of teacher who is thinking about ways you can make things better.  Ways you can optimize class time, strategies to increase student accountability and engagement, creative management techniques, the new Pinterest-worthy classroom decor items you can buy, build, and add to your walls, the new folder or mailbox system, and don't forget the new classroom library!

Don't get me wrong, these are all awesome things, exact ones that I have been over the moon excited about over many summers in my teaching career.  I do NOT fault you for these ambitions and goals during this time of year.

I would also bet, though, that you have a small part of yourself that is thinking, as you plan all these amazing things, "Man, that's going to be a lot."  And your next thought is "But that's ok.  I can do this.  I work ridiculous hours 8 months of the year, and then get great time off in the summer.  I've done it before, I can do it again.  It's all worth it."

You rationalize the impact these decisions and changes will have on your classroom as worth the time, sweat, energy, and commitment they each take.

Hear me when I say, you do you.

There is so much judgement going around right now about what teachers do in and for their classrooms as they prepare to return to school for the year.  I'm not judging you AT ALL.  I LOVE the cute, cozy home away from home classrooms.  I also know how many hours and dollars it takes to make those possible.  I've also spent plenty of both of those on my classroom and I don't regret a single second or penny spent.  It's fun.  It's for the kids; most of them enjoy the atmosphere, and I like it... that means something.  How the teacher feels in their own classroom means something.

But it's not about all these fancy things, is it?  You're not just doing them for the sake of doing them.

Of course not.  It's about the impact they have.  It's about the impact they have on both your classroom and your students.

And I bet that impact you're wanting these changes to have sounds something like this...

It's going to build the safe and comfortable atmosphere in my classroom.

It's going to increase student accountability.

It's going to increase student engagement.

It's going to put students at the center of my classroom.

The Flipped Teacher

If you have flipped your classroom, or if you've ever thought about flipping your classroom, then your goals for your classroom may look a little different.  Yes, you desire each of the impacts I listed above, but you're also thinking about things like this...

I want to put my students at the center of the classroom because that means their brains are working harder than mine, and I'm not forced to lecture all the time.

I want to increase student accountability because that means they are engaged in their learning while I'm guiding them through the content.

I want my classroom to function even when I have an unexpected absence, like with my own children are sick.  I don't have to worry about the guilt of missing a day.

I want my classroom to run like a well-oiled machine, where mastering standards is the focus but that doesn't require me to go home complete exhausted every day.

If any of those are your desired changes and impacts in your classroom, then you, my friend, are a Flipped Teacher.

I know what you're thinking...

You are thinking one of two things (unless you are totally ALL ABOUT what I'm saying so far, and if so, we're going jive like peanut and butter, just stick with me)....

  1. Yea right!  Those all sound great, but none of that is really attainable.  At least not in a way that still looks good on my evaluation and maintains or increases student growth. Or...
  2. I don't know... I mean, sure, that sounds awesome, but focusing on myself and how to make my classroom more manageable, attainable, and sustainable for me is not what it should be about.  That's not where I should be focusing my energy.

And THAT, my friend, is EXACTLY what's wrong with education today.  The mentality of teachers where we think doing "what's best for kids" means that ANYTHING that's best for kids is the best route, even when it sacrifices our evenings, weekends, sustainable pace of work, sanity, health, and just overall ability to live a manageable, happy, healthy lifestyle while also doing one the hardest jobs in the world.

Thinking that we CAN'T stop for a second and think about how to make our classrooms better for ourselves is why teaching has such a high overturn rate.  It's why a huge chunk of us don't make it past year five.

Teacher Guilt

When I became a mom, I realized almost immediately what mom guilt was.  It's different for all moms, and I envy those that just fly the bird in mom guilt's face, but for me, it was and still can be a very real, present force in my life.

I believe that the only match to mom guilt (maybe not completely, but the closest second I can think of in the race of what can make you feel the most guilty), is teacher guilt.

But is it what's best for kids?

But it means you'll miss a day in the classroom having more impact.

But that's not the pace our society says we should be moving at.

Screw that.  All of it!

You are a Flipped Teacher if you feel it's high time to make your classroom work for YOU.  Because sometimes, (I would even argue, most of the time), what's best for the teacher (of course there are exceptions) is best for students.

Yes, your students can still be the center of your classroom when you make changes in your classroom that benefit you.

Yes, your students can still make huge gains in learning in your classroom when you make decisions that allow you to manage it all better.

Yes, your students will still thrive even though you change how you provide feedback that doesn't require you to grade ever sentence or answer they write.

There are ways to have both.

And if you've ever thought that flipping your classroom will help you get BOTH, then you are a Flipped Teacher.

Join other Flipped Teachers in our Flipped Teacher community over on Facebook.

Just answer a few questions to join, and I'll get you right in to the group where I'll be going live about the flipped classroom every week.  I want to support you on your journey of flipping whether you're a seasoned veteran in your flipped classroom, or want to start but know it won't happen just yet - you can still benefit from tips, strategies, and general support along the way.

 Again, I personally invite you.  If you've ever thought about your goals for the school year in this way, and maybe you've thought about the idea of flipping your classroom, whether that be now or years down the road, come check out our group.

I also want you to check out our new and improved Ultimate Flipped Classroom Starter Kit.  It's 3 ways to get you started in your flipping journey now.  Get the workbook, join us in the group and you are going to feel more prepared than ever to take the plunge in flipping.

See you in the group.

Until next time,

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