This coming February I will have the privilege of having a student-teacher take over some of my classes. I have had student-teachers on two previous occasions but this will be my first as a Flipped Classroom sponsor-teacher. Previously my motives were often to catch my breath and take a break in my first couple years of teaching, this time my motives are entirely different.
The opportunity presented itself this past summer when I spoke to a couple of Bachelor of Education classes at the local University about the Flipped Classroom. At the end of my short presentation I expressed that I would be interested in having a student-teacher who would like to try flipping his or her classes. Thankfully, there was interest from a number of students and this fall the placement was made.
I think this opportunity is going to be beneficial not just for my student-teacher, but also for myself. The student-teacher will get a chance to learn a different method of instruction that will hopefully expand her thinking of how a class could operate. (I should note she will also be placed in a more traditional classroom in order see the pros and cons of both systems.) For me, the opportunity to work with a pre-service teacher from start to finish and share my knowledge on the Flipped Classroom is hugely beneficial. I have given plenty of presentations on the Flipped Classroom but never have I been able to see an implementation the entire way through. I am also interested to see what aspects my student-teacher incorporates that I never thought of, what she does that is similar and different from me, the discussion we will have together, and the challenges we will face.
I feel as though I may have taken this opportunity for selfish reasons; to extend my learning and improve my own practice. Having a student-teacher is one of the best ways teachers can stay current, share their expertise, and most importantly, learn. Student-teachers bring energy, open-mindedness, and fresh ideas into our schools. These ideas may or may not work in practice but it keeps us thinking and encourages discussion.
My hope is that I can convince my student-teacher to take risks during her practicum and learn from her mistakes, aspects that I continue to try to work on in my own practice. I wish I had done more of this when I was in my practicum rather than ‘playing teacher’ and giving people what they wanted see. Real innovation happens when we think about the way we do things in different ways, open our minds up, and extend ourselves into the unknown.
I am looking forward to this experience immensely and hope to share our journey together over the next couple of months.