As educators, we are used to being vulnerable. We stand in front of crowds (and sometimes very big crowds) of humans and explain what we know. We guide the ship, so to speak, and if we make mistakes, they are usually very public. I have visceral memories of teaching my first classes at the college level, back when I thought all college professors were all-knowing geniuses. I remember the horror and fear I felt that my students might find out that I was just trying to pretend to be an all-knowing genius. I was terrified of the questions I couldn’t answer and hid my insecurities beneath a carefully crafted lecture that left little time for spontaneity. After a couple years of teaching at the college level, NO ONE thought I was an all-knowing genius….so I could relax. And then I decided to start recording flipped lectures.
Recording video lectures requires a different kind of vulnerability, and it can be very intimidating. It really is awkward to make videos of yourself, for all the world to see. I can still remember sitting in my office before recording my first video lecture in late August 2012, rehearsing my introduction for the 47th time and feeling like all I REALLY wanted to do was throw up. I definitely found myself regretting the decision to dive into that cold flipping water. Pretty soon however, the semester was just a week away and I still had not recorded a single video lecture. In the end, I just had to overcome the stage fright…and I probably did it for one reason: I had already told everybody I was going to flip my class and I needed the content ready to go…by tomorrow.
Now the truth is, I am a perfectionist. I knew that I could easily spend a month working on each lecture, finding the perfect images, drawing the perfect visuals, linking to the perfect supplementary resources, and then embedding the perfect assessments. But I as I ran out of time to make this happen, I had to accept the imperfections of the product and just get the job done.
After pulling together flipped lectures for three courses, I’ve definitely gotten better (and more comfortable) talking to myself in my office or my living room. My skin is a little tougher too…I don’t shrink into the corner and hide when my students tell me that my right eye was twitching in last night’s lecture, or that my hair looked like I’d just gotten out of bed. In fact, by the end of my first semester of flipping, I was so comfortable (or desperate?) that I actually recorded a flipped lecture in the Seattle airport. Topic? The male reproductive system. While this was one of the more popular lectures with my students, I still blush when I think about THAT one.