When You Flip, and it Flops. Lessons Learned from Flipping my Leadership. 

I’ve recently begun to experiment with flipping my teacher meetings.  Actually, I came across the whole concept of flipped classroom instruction through participation in the #oklaed chat a year or so ago.  At that time, I remember thinking to myself, “How could I take this concept and apply it with my staff?”  I also begin asking questions like, “What elements of my meetings could actually be flipped, and what would/could that look like?”   “What percentage of my teachers could I expect to participate or actually do the task ahead of time?”

So, last school year, I made my first attempt at flipping a teacher meeting.  I choose to have teachers watch a video from the Teaching Channel that was centered around effective classroom management.  Here is what I did leading up to the meeting:  Since meetings are schedule for every Monday, I emailed the link to the Teaching Channel video to all of my teachers the week before along with instructions to simply watch it sometime on their own before our Monday Meeting.  Monday came, and many had watched the video, but a few had not.  (Some weren’t used to checking their email regularly, and some said they just didn’t make time to watch.)  I went ahead and played the video during the meeting because I wanted everyone to be able to participate in the discussion about what effective classroom management looks like.

Lesson learned: Convey the goal, objective or purpose for the flipped component when it is assigned.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to give my teachers more specific directions, rather then just having them watch the video.  Maybe I focused too much on whether the whole idea of flipping would work that I did’t think through the process to consider the outcome.  I would never have told my students to just watch a video.  I would have given students a purpose for watching, or even specifics to note or a connection they could make to what’s been taught, etc.  Well, I’ve found that when flipping my leadership, teachers are no different then students, or any other human-type people.  I learned that I need to give teachers, especially in this instance of using a video, a goal or purpose for watching or reading.

So, I took what I’d learned from that very first attemp, and tweaked my flipping.  Here is my next email to my teachers:   

Now, I felt like I was getting somewhere!  When Monday Meeting arrived, everyone (or most everyone) had watched the video and was prepared to participate in meaningful discussion about informal assessments.   Also, by having them bring examples of informal and formative assessments that they are currently using, teachers were sharing ideas and assessment ideas with each other.  THIS IS SO POWERFUL!
Fast-forward to the end of this past July, and to my preparation for this school year.  Over the summer, I had the opportunity to attend The Best Practices for Better Schools Conferences, NAESP’s National Conference, in Long Beach, CA.  While there, I attended a session in which Peter DeWitt, @PeterMDeWitt, spoke about his book “Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel.”  I immediately purchased the book and had it read before our plane touched back down at Will Rogers World Airport.  If you’re interested at all in flipping your leadership, I recommend this book.  I would love to break down some of the sections of the book and discuss them, but I’ll save that for a future post.

This year, I’m hoping to build my abilities to flip teachers’ meetings.  I hope to be able to share more “lessons learned” regarding my trials at flipping various components of my meetings.  I have already had a couple positive experiences with flipping in the short time we’ve been back at school.  I’ll save those lessons for my next posts.

I would like to leave you with this thought:  Teachers’ time is such a precious commodity.  Knowing this, would you consider flipping your leadership?  Could you start with something, one thing, that’s fairly simple to flip like I did?  What is keeping you from stepping out of your comfort zone and into innovative leadership?  If I can do it, you can too.  Be awesome, and then share your experience with me!


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