Monday, June 23, 2014

True Confessions

As I often do before I present at a conference, I am sitting in my hotel room and gathering my thoughts. I am here outside of Pittsburgh, at the Flipped Class Conference, and trying to decide what questions I want to try to find the answers to in my own classroom. I feel like I have really been neglecting my personal reflections and really want to take this time to recommit to my original ideas and goals from my first Flipped Class Conference 4 years ago:

  • I want my students to increase their fluency in class.
  • I want students to WANT to learn not just the language, but more about the people and culture of the world. 
  • I want to facilitate my students' learning, not dictate it.
  • I want to love my job every day, no matter what other things are going on in my school.
In so many ways, these four things sound so simple, and yet they are often difficult to achieve. I have fallen into the trap of tweaking minimally and not really trying to continually improve my curriculum to adapt to the needs of my students. I work hard for my students, always have, always will. However, I think I need to turn the focus back on their thoughts and ideas. How can I continue to move to the more student centered classroom? How can I help them to love learning and build on their abilities and interests to keep them learning beyond the requirements?

I don't have the answers to these questions.....which is ok. But, I think I haven't been continuing to search for them, which is not ok. 

I am very fortunate to have such a great PLN to turn to for advice and encouragement and so many of them are here with me at this conference. I need to focus not just on the social side of this conference, but try to look at the sessions and speakers through the eyes of the teacher new to flipping trying to find the path that will help students achieve success.

I want to move to more creative assignments, inspired by me, but created by my students. Shall I give more choice boards to show the students their capabilities and help them understand how to express their knowledge on their own? Should I reject all grammar practice and have students instead approach everything from a cultural perspective? Should I model some of my colleagues and find the right way to have online portfolios and true student interaction online?

I sit here tonight full of questions that I have no answers to. It is the search for the answers that helps me see things from my students' eyes and helps me be a better teacher. Join me on this journey.