Have you ever tried to run a marathon? Well, learning and implementing Blended Learning is a lot like getting ready for a marathon.
At first you tell yourself, “If other people can do this, so can I.” Then you begin training, educating yourself and before you know it you’re hitting the track, or in my case the classroom floor running. Yet, at some point you become overwhelmed thinking, “Can I really do this? Maybe I should go back to what I was doing before. It seemed to work and I was good at it!” Of course there are those days when you have to just splash the cold water in your face and recognize how far you’ve come and the impact that you’ve made. Before you know it you’re running that race and nothing can stop you.
Let me tell you about my marathon. I joined Dallas ISD’s Innovation in Teaching Fellowship to recondition my mind. I knew very little about Blended Learning before I entered the fellowship, but I was eager to learn. Our first few days were filled with trainings and collaboration; I felt motivated! Then, the school year started. Think of the first day of school as my “starting line.”
At first I said, “Pace yourself.” Although, that didn’t happen. I took off sprinting, implementing as much as I could from training within the first six weeks. Station rotation, playlist, choice homework, flex seating, and the 7 Habits. By the end of the third week of school, I was exhausted! This was all new to me and my students, and not to mention I was teaching a mixed-age group, for the first time. Eventually, I had to go back to the drawing board and redesign my approach and implementation. In other words, LAUNCH, using design thinking to boost creativity and bring out the maker in every student. This marathon now included my class; we would run a unique course together.
helped with classroom management and culture. Before, students struggled with transitions, valuable time was lost and everyone was frustrated. Now, students use a choice board that focuses on “Must Do’s, Can Do’s, and May Do’s” allowing for more fluid transitions. Throughout the journey, I’ve implemented other systems that didn’t work as well as others, however the most important lesson of it all was understanding the students’ misconceptions and listening to their feedback.
Throughout this experience, I have been excited to teach, struggled to understand why things didn’t always work, innovative, felt stressed, overwhelmed, wanted to give up, became re- inspired, and most importantly, became transpired into a Blended Learning educator.
Now, are you ready to start your marathon?