Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Higher Ed July / July 12, 2018

-Dr. Patricia Pence-

At the end of a typical school day, are you satisfied with your current position? Or do you find yourself thinking that maybe it is time for a change?

My Current Job…

For over 17 years, I have been teaching first-year nursing students in an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program at a rural Midwestern Community College. Lectures highlighted by detailed PowerPoint slides are the usual method to deliver the heavy-laden content required by our nursing curriculum.

After 12 years of passive teaching, I made a change to Flipped Learning (FL). My desire to make my classroom more student-centered, engaging and interactive led on a journey toward publishing my efforts and becoming certified as a Flipped Learning Faculty Member.

After my best efforts at presenting FL during several professional development sessions, I realized that I was still on my own little island. I felt out of place in a college-wide learning community accustomed to primarily direct instruction or traditional lecture. For more about why I became a “Flipper,” see my blog, “Becoming a Flipped Nurse Educator.

So, over the last few years, I questioned whether I was thriving or surviving in my teaching practice at a community college. Was I able to experience growth in my teaching practice as a Flipped Learning Faculty Member? Would moving to a university allow more opportunities for advancing FL and research?

After months of contemplation about the pros and cons of staying or leaving my current teaching position, all the signs pointed to leaving and initiating a new job search.

The Beginning of My Job Search…

The thought of taking a risk to leave a tenured faculty position to search for a new job was unsettling. Despite that other faculty or administrators might question why I would make a such a change at this point in my teaching career (Why leave after 17 years?) or think that I should settle for the status quo (Wouldn’t it be much easier to stay and continue what you have been doing?), I started an online search for open tenured-track faculty positions at universities and any available job-seeking resources.

My google search opened up a plethora of general information about how to search, apply, and interview for a new faculty position. The more I dug deeper into the online job-seeking blogs and websites, the more I wondered where FL would fit into this whole process. How would the selection committee members respond to the fact that I teach by flipping, not traditional lecture? Would this influence their decision to pursue an interview?

In my next blogs, I will comment on the emotional response to a job change, how to tailor your application forms, prepare for phone and on-site interviews, prepare a teaching demonstration or research presentation, and finally proper post-interview etiquette, all through the lens of an FL practitioner.

My hope is that whether you are working as a faculty member in K-12 or higher education, or in professional development, or in informational technology, you will gain some insight into the “flipped” side of a job search.

As you reflect on the last academic school year, consider these questions:

• Were you able to fully embrace FL in your teaching practice?

• Did you feel held back in your efforts to bring active learning into your classroom?

• Was there technology available to support FL?

• How did other faculty members, administrators, and students perceive your efforts to bring FL into the classroom?

• Did you anticipate that the FL model would be adopted by other faculty members in your school?

• Were there opportunities to collaborate with faculty in FL teaching or research?

• What is holding you back from growing personally and professionally in a fulfilling job that embraces Flipped Learning?

I would love to hear your thoughts…

Patricia Pence
Patricia Pence
Dr. Patricia Pence is an Assistant Professor at Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University. She was previously a professor in the nursing program at Illinois Valley Community College, Illinois, USA, for over 17 years. Her clinical nursing practice spanned over 28 years as a staff nurse in constant care, medical-surgical, home health, extended-care, and as a director of nursing in long-term care facilities. In 2013 Dr. Pence transformed her nursing classes from lecture to flipped learning. Since then Dr. Pence published her flipped learning strategies in the Teaching and Learning in Nursing journal. She was a guest blogger and coauthor of a textbook for nurse educators that was published in, TEACH students to THINK like a nurse: Transformational strategies that will PREPARE students for PRACTICE. She enjoys sharing her flipped learning strategies with other nurse educators at conferences across the US and in publications on flipped learning in nursing education.

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