When You are Your Biggest Flipping Problem

“obstacles, barriers, snags, and other complications to flipping”¬†
[topic for the September 27 livechat]

I know that I am more fortunate than some flipping colleagues: my administrators have always supported the practice, parents have never complained about it, and technology access is a minor concern in this community. (When I surveyed students in week 1 about their ability to do online assignments, 100% reported accessibility at home and/or school.)

My teaching would be a lot easier with some curriculum improvements. In this state the Social Studies Frameworks have not changed since 2001, and the district has not revised its curriculum since 2003. It’s stale, overstuffed, and basically impossible…so we all mostly ignore it. Massachusetts has no formal test for history and social studies, which alleviates pressure but reduces structure and funding. 1750-1865 America feels like such a wide area with too many topics and skills for 180 days, so we have to pick and choose and make different decisions each year. That complicates my flipping because we can’t always recycle videos, and because we’re always curriculum unit planning as well as lesson planning.

But that’s not my biggest barrier. The most diabolical complication to successful flipping is between my ears. I get in my own way like nothing else ever could. Many of The Awkward Yeti comics illustrate my internal struggles better than I could manage in paragraph form. Here are 2¬†particularly appropriate cartoons:

Oh yeah, the force of self-doubt is strong with this one!

My solution so far this school year may seem counter-intuitive: I spend LESS time lesson planning than I used to do. That makes me more efficient and less likely to overthink, re-design, overhaul, kvetch, and commiserate. Trying to work smarter, not harder. That will also mean simpler video production this year, as already visible in my policies & philosophies clip. Getting out of my own way feels better than my usual “why are you hitting yourself?” approach. Let’s see how long this lasts!

1 Comment

  • I think it’s worth making a distinction between “LESS time lesson planning” and “effective planning.” In my experience, I needed to be prepared for more contingencies, which meant planning more in some ways. Knowing which areas are difficult or being prepared to guide students through intricacies of the material required more research and design on my end. Yes, flipping helped the time crunch, but not at the expense of preparedness.

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