My First Day of Fall Quarter: The Aftermath

This certainly has been an interesting day to say the least. I have never been so quick to exit a class and try and find a way to switch it. I am generally one of those people that wants to see if it’s just the first impression that left a bad taste in my mouth, and try and see things through. Not this time.

I’ll start with the good – my French class. My teacher seems nice, and the best part is she is not American. I have had my fill of French American teachers that butcher the language. My very first French teacher in high school was actually Ukrainian, and French had been her second language from primary school, and she spoke beautifully. However, English was her third language and while she spoke fluently, there were times when grammer got the best of her. I can deal with that. However, the next two that I had (my initial teacher went on maternity leave and and I tried to take French as a Running Start student as well) were American and vomited out words phonetically, making me cringe even when they swapped back to English.

However, this instructor has a beautifully French accent when she speaks English, though I don’t know where she is from. It is refreshing. Even if I don’t get along with her, at least I know I shall be hearing the right things.

A scheduling hiccup on my part left me with a three hour break between classes on Tuesday and Thursdays – and as the quarter progresses I am certain I will love that break. However, a friend of mine has the exact same schedule (though with different classes) as me, so we went for a nice trudge along a trail in the sweltering, waning summer sun. Exploring campus we found free coffee and muffins on one end, and free pancakes on the other. It was a good call of me to refrain from a large hearty breakfast before leaving (though I didn’t indulge in the pancakes).

When my math class came around, I was delighted to find a youthful instructor with a cute pixie mop of red hair, and fun style. I even had people that I knew in the class, which was nice as well. My delight began to fade as we played get-to-know-your-classmates Bingo and she began to tell us that the majority of our in-class time would be learning in groups.

My upper lip began to tighten when she informed us she would not be lecturing, but instead we would be going home from class, watching our lectures on MathTV – which follows the book completely, and when we came into class the next day, would be working within our groups to understand the material. Not only this, but we would be getting graded by our group members based on how prepared we are for class.

.

..

……

………

Those are fury dots. Livid. I am livid. 

Am I not paying five hundred some odd dollars for a teacher to instruct and lecture and be involved???? At least even grade, maybe?

She calls it the “Flipped Classroom” style of teaching, and apparently she’s the trend setter on campus for this. She didn’t coin it, she just brought it to this college. The idea is that when a student leaves after a lecture, they often don’t have the information fully absorbed, and might have forgotten it by the time they get to class, and don’t have the support they need for the homework. With the Flipped Classroom approach, the lectures happen at home, the exercises happen in the class so that the teacher is able to be that support.

Maybe I can buy that. Maybe.

However that is no excuse for not being the one to grade us! While I realized that a teacher’s salary is far from optimal, allowing the students to grade each other seems a little bit more than scaling back the effort, surely?

So when I got home, I emailed an advisor (the college was riddled with too many confused students today and I couldn’t deal with taking care of it while I was there) about the steps to take toward doing an online class – after all, I might as well since this class is online anyway – and then get a couple hours extra for work-study (if I get the job at the Writing Center, that is). I got a response fairly quickly, and was directed to an instructor who has one online class, though her class is full at the moment. I could however email/call/visit her office and she if she would mind me transferring in any way. I was satisfied with this route, though the email ended:

“If that doesn’t work out, keep reminding yourself that studies show the ‘flipped classroom’ model results in better student learning.”

Well Bully if it does. That ain’t how I learn.

I suppose that’s a bit harsh. It could perhaps be a beneficial way of learning, and something new which I have yet to explore. And after all, I can’t fully knock it as I have always done online studies before I came to Whatcom. Though the fact remains that I don’t want to be reliant on other students for my grades!

My next step, now that I’ve ranted my frustration, is to email this instructor to see if I can get into her class, and then do some research on this Flipped Classroom malarky, and see what I can find out. If it’s anything of interest, I assure you I will share it.

And to complete the positivity sandwich – the other good news is that my financial aid came in, as promised. I paid for my French Book out of pocket, so I can reimburse myself for that and get my workbook as well as my textbook for my Introduction to British Literature class, which starts tomorrow. Thank’s FAFSA!

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