Monday, September 24, 2012

I am still the teacher! - Reflections on Week 5

The last two weeks have been full of changes. The students, who in the beginning were afraid to talk to me, are now opening up more and asking more questions. I still, of course, have quiet students, but the majority of them are realizing that they need to ask me questions.

Many students quickly decided that they liked being able to email me when they have questions. I was shocked however, when I was receiving emails from students that asked if I could help them in class!!! I am constantly moving through the class, as always, looking over shoulders and offering help and suggestions. The idea that a student thought they needed to ask me via email to help them in class was very disturbing. Especially since, you guessed it, he is a student that when I offer to help him in class says "I've got it."

After talking to the student, and thinking about it, I decided that maybe I still did not do good enough job explaining about the flipped classroom. Or, maybe it is something that needs to be consistently brought up and explained in class. Many students are slowly realizing that I am not a babysitter, I am still their teacher. I can offer help and suggestions. Yes, this is a self-paced class, but I am here to help you every step of the way.

For me, I think I may have began the year well, taking it slowly and reinforcing how things work, but as a little time went on, slipped into my pattern......which was great last year when the kids totally got it. However, these students still need reinforcement and reminding about the process. Additionally, since I knew many of my students last year from lower level classes, the relationship piece was already in place. This year, I have to show them how the new system works while establishing relationships.

We are in full project mode in my class, which has been great. Students are getting that they can run ideas by me, ask me to double check scripts and count on me to answer tough questions for them. I am hopeful that as the project due date nears, this will continue and will help us build the relationship that I want to have with them. I want to be their mentor, their guide, and their student. I want to teach them what I know and have them teach me new things as well. I want to continue to get to know each one of them as individuals so they are comfortable coming to me.

I am excited about these projects as I try to implement project based learning more firmly in my class. Giving the students so much freedom of choice is a little nerve racking (for them and me), but they seem to really be getting into the work. I love that these students listen to me that they should not write rough drafts in English and then translate them....they are in Spanish, right from the beginning.

This group might be my best one yet. And I, as their teacher, can't wait to see it!