15- Why Do We Do This?


I’m on week five of my 16 week semester.  It is 11:30pm and I haven’t yet solidified the activities I will do in class tomorrow…in just 9 hours.  I could probably benefit from using that 9 hours to sleep…but sleep becomes disposable as I tackle these new approaches in my classes.  It is easy to get discouraged by the work load, especially when I know that everything I am doing could be so much better…because I’m trying to get it all done in this 9 hour time slot that I have left before I need to show up in my classroom, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and ready to motivate my crew to tackle the anatomy of articulations.

I find it really interesting to think about WHY I keep doing this…and the fact is, I am hugely motivated to do this work because my students love it.  I am struck by the moment when I realized just how much they loved it.  It was almost exactly one year ago, in the middle of flipping Anatomy for the first time, when a dear friend of mine was killed by a crazy person in a hit and run incident while she was out on a morning run.  I was in class when her husband called me…my students were incredible as I processed the news.  They packed me up to go help, they completed the lab on their own, they called me to check in, and they offered hugs and food and cleaning and support.  As I became a primary support person for my friend’s husband and her small children, I inevitably found myself getting behind in the flip.  So I asked my students an anonymous survey question: “How would you FEEL if we stopped flipping?”  I halfway hoped they would be indifferent so we could return to the old methods, which would just be easier. But in spite of everything I was going through, 80% of my students said, essentially, that they would fall, writhing upon the ground, if I stopped flipping the class.

I think back on that moment, when I embraced the rewards of having my efforts so valued.  You’ve probably all experienced something like this.  It is what keeps us working so hard, isn’t it…

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