April 10, 2022

Interview With Blended Learning Course Instructor, Lance Raabe

Welcome Lance! Most teachers won’t know you have been teaching for Learners Edge for 15 years. My how time flies! Along with teaching teachers at LE, you also teach high school government. What else do you think teachers would like to know about you and your teaching cred?

Hi Susanne! Just the other day, one of my students said, “Mr. Raabe, you’re really a kid at heart, aren’t you!?” I guess I am! I think teachers who are interested in taking the Blended Learning courses should know I am currently in my 26th year as a classroom teacher, but like my student said, I really feel like a young teacher at heart. Recently, my wife said, “You’re a performer and teaching is your way of performing!” I enjoy opportunities to teach teachers, and when I’m not, I’m behind a microphone as the announcer for Creighton University volleyball and basketball teams. I’ve been told I have a voice (and face) for radio.

As you know, the Blended Learning courses offered at Learners Edge include time on Zoom. The Zoom sessions give teachers the opportunity to connect with other educators from across the United States (and occasionally, even other parts of the world!). What is it about the Blended Learning course format that teachers like so much?

I’m convinced that if a group of 20 teachers was scattered throughout a crowded room of 200 in a convention hall, they’d find each other! Teachers are drawn to other teachers, and they have a natural kinship. Simply put, the live synchronous (Zoom) sessions are a vehicle for connection. The stories, successes, issues, questions, and yes, frustrations, are similar (and sometimes even the same) for teachers from coast to coast. There is a sense of comfort in knowing the similarity in our stories, regardless of where we practice our profession.

In creating and designing the Blended Learning courses, we have learned that teachers enjoy the live, in-action, activities! Give us a taste of the active learning activities teachers will participate in.

The Blended sessions are all about activities! (Nobody would ever want to listen to me talk the entire time.) A few of the activities from different courses include a Best Chef Cooking Competition, Tai Chi, Yoga, a GooseChaseEDU contest, a Comedy Improv Workshop, Minute-To-Win-It Games, and much more! This year, we will even do the “Cups Challenge” from the film, Pitch Perfect!

It’s been a challenging year and we’re not out of the woods yet. In what ways do the Blended Learning courses support teachers’ mental health, assist them in managing stress, and promote wellness?

As the Blended Learning instructor, I evaluate teachers’ online coursework and read comments about how our Teacher Wellness, Teacher Retreat, and Mindfulness courses have literally changed their lives! Whether it’s a teacher who took a Wellness course to heart and lost 60 pounds, or someone who took our Retreat course and has now committed to “leaving school at school” and is working to be fully present at home, the tools we talk about are impactful. Many of our courses ask teachers to reflect on where they are, where they’d like to be, and how to get there.

The feedback from teachers tells us how much they value getting to know other teachers from across the United States during the Zoom sessions. If teachers take a Blended course, is there time and opportunity for talking with other teachers in small groups, chats, or activities?

Have you ever been around a group of teachers who don’t talk to one another?! It’s an impossibility! Our courses are all about the teachers and it’s safe to say we utilize the chat tool on Zoom and understand where the “mute” and “unmute” buttons are! What I love about the format is that we can see one another, interact in a meaningful way, and share the experience with a group that is invested in similar goals.

For teachers who want to take Blended Learning courses again this fall, winter, or spring, do you know if courses will be offered, and if so, how many and what they will be?

Yes! We’re offering 4 courses this fall! Plan on setting time aside on a few Wednesday evenings in September and October for “Get in the Game,” “The Stress Effect,” as well as two other favorites. In addition, we are considering offering a Blended Book Study in January where we will read, discuss, and determine how to apply what we learn from the book to our professional practice. Teachers, please let us know if you have any book suggestions! ([email protected])

Please add anything else you’d like teachers to know about our sweet suite of Blended Learning courses we are offering starting June 1st!

In a recent module reflection, a teacher said what she appreciated most about the Blended course was that it “didn’t feel like a class.” The Blended Zooms are not a lecture or workshop where teachers are given a set of questions and then asked to discuss in a breakout room. They are not “sit and get.” I’d best describe the Blended courses as an experience, with each one unique!

To meet Lance and learn more about our Blended Learning offerings, watch this short video below!

If you want to know more about the Blended Learning courses, email Lance at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @LanceRaabe.

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