I was in my office the other day when a colleague stopped by unexpectedly and began offering advice. I always appreciate hearing different perspectives, but when he started telling me that I spend too much time flipping my classes and not enough time home with my kids, I had to struggle to maintain objectivity. Perhaps his comments hit a nerve simply because I am (of course) engaged in the familiar, guilt-ridden battle between motherhood and career. But I found it really interesting that he focused particularly on the FLIP. So I spent some time thinking about the flip…and whether or not the time I’m investing in the pedagogy is WORTH IT.
While I do not in any way shape or form agree that I’m neglecting my family, I do agree that flipping my classes requires a ridiculous amount of time and I’m far from satisfied with the results. My list of complaints about my approach is lengthy.
- My video lectures are long and I tend to ramble.
- If I change the order in which I cover content, the video lectures end up filled with confusing references.
- Sometimes I say things that are incorrect…and these mistakes are on my PERMANENT record, unless I re-record the lectures! Yikes.
- I’m a relatively new teacher and I always want to improve my stuff. Updating video lectures is really time consuming!
- Even with the amazing resources in the APS Life Science Teaching Resources Community, my class activities are sometimes too basic and become boring.
- My class activities are sometimes too complicated and become overwhelming.
- I never really feel like I have enough time to completely PREPARE for any week.
- I never EVER feel like I “nailed it.” EVER.
So as my colleague criticized my priorities, I took a tired breath and wondered WHY I keep flipping. But in spite of every single imperfection, I honestly cannot imagine going back to the traditional approach. I get to assume my students have covered the content when they come into my class. I feel good about holding them to a higher standard than I might otherwise. And I love the opportunities to talk about the content in a curious and meaningful way, every single time I see them, because I don’t have to “cover everything.” I’ve already covered it!
The simple fact is that my students are more engaged now than they were before I started flipping. Yes—it is far from perfect. But I guess it is worth it to me.