Who’s Doing All Of The Work?

Since my post on teaching in the hybrid classroom a few days ago, I have had some amazing conversations with several educators who are either teaching a hybrid/blended course or have thoughts about doing so. This has given me even more inspiration to continue writing about what I’ve experienced teaching a class like this. Thanks for that. 

Whether you are teaching a face to face class or online, there is a preposterous amount of planning, prepping, thinking, and discovering that goes on BEFORE the students even come into the classroom. That’s an incredible amount of work, and most of that normally falls on us, the teachers. I can’t even begin to explain how many hours of YouTube searching I have put into looking for something that directly correlates to a vocabulary word that might be used in class for further understanding. My thought was that I wanted my students to make a connection, so it was my job to find the source and explain the connection. In my brain it made sense. I am the teacher; therefore, I should be finding the material. I never realized how wrong I could have been. 

Our district (#FraserSchools) has been looking at lesson design differently through a really cool company called Modern Teacher. This professional development has allowed me to look at my own lesson planning and asks me to find ways to ask the deeper questions and promote thinking. Looking at my own classroom, there were plenty of resources to assist with (my version of) planning  that I never thought to ask for help. The students. Isn’t it believed that the person who does all of the work does the most thinking and learning? I have been missing out on PLENTY of learning opportunities because I have always been the one who chose to find all of the learning material.

So here is what I am NOW doing:

I’m planning differently by creating more open-ended questions and requesting inquiry, so that students can teach their classmates and myself. Rather than sitting on the couch and finding several different sources that best exemplifies a vocabulary word (i’m just using that as an example), I send it out to the students. I ask THEM to scour the internet to find ways to explain a particular word or concept to the class. They then share them in a discussion board in the class. The results? THEY FIND BETTER SOURCES THAN I DO! Think about this win-win situation…THEY are learning, THEY are sharing, THEY are doing the work. This is all because I decided to own that I shouldn’t be the creator.  Instead of receiving only a few resources from their teacher, they now have plenty of sources to choose from since their classmates are providing the material and posting it in an open forum on our class site.

The hybrid environment has made it easier for me to loosen the reigns and give the students control, and what a difference it has made. I feel it’s a place where we can all call each other learners!

Side Notes:

  • The students shared some REALLY awesome examples of words to prove their understanding. They’re going to have some really cool study guides for a final now and in the future.
  • I love admitting that many of my students are smarter than me




3 responses to “Who’s Doing All Of The Work?

  1. Great post! Students can be very resourceful and by letting them find their own answers, you are empowering them to take ownership of their learning and letting their passions lead the way! I am working on the same approach… and while some colleagues believe I am taking a back seat and not teaching, I am in fact giving my students voice and choice allowing them to take ownership of their learning, at their own pace, style, and preference. Keep up the great work, Chris!

  2. Thanks for your post! I think that’s the biggest fear right now is that if you aren’t providing DIRECT INSTRUCTION then you are not doing your job. We need to remember that we definitely aren’t the smartest person in the room, nor should we ever be. With today’s technology, why should I bore my students with my 15 year old lecture on the Puritans when I can provide them MILLIONS of other places to explore on their own.

  3. Great Post,
    I to am transitioning from finding, researching, and putting together all of the learning resources. You are right my command of the learning material does build my knowledge of the material and find a couple of examples that students may learn from.

    Recently I have been sharing “paper-slide” videos students have made that shows their knowledge of subject matter. I am amazed at how quickly phones, iPads, laptops stop and student attention is on the student created video.

    I teach at Western High School in Parma. @runfardvs
    has introduced me to you and your blog. We are currently putting together a Blended learning class and are looking for any tips, advice, or beware of you have.

    Thank you again. I can be reached via email. I do follow
    Steve Weller

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