Thursday, September 4, 2008

More complaining! YAY!

Sorry for my lack of posting – I’m trying to get myself together and have not yet figured out how to work less than 12 hour days (although maybe I’m not the only one). I was in my school building for 11 hours yesterday – from 7 am to 6 pm, then went to Hopkins from 6:45-8:45, then went home and graded for a bit. I’m complaining, it’s true, but I have to admit that I loved almost every moment of the very busy day (minus the grading). But I would also have liked to watch the convention speeches – but I just don’t have the time. I have a mentor this year, and I asked to help me not work as much – we’ll see how that goes. Also, starting next week, I’ll have another planning period to get some work done.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m teaching AP Statistics. This is the first year that my school has offered AP classes and our students do NOT understand the rigor, workload, and difficulty that are an integral part of Advanced Placement classes. My students are complaining that they have to bring their textbook home and back to school everyday, that they have homework (and reading!) to do every night, that they have to take a lot of notes and long term projects, etc. etc. Part of me wants to say, “Welcome to High School!” I sometimes really wish that I could bring my students into my Massachusetts, pretty-normal, suburban high school so that they could see what I did when I was their age (damn, I’m getting old – “when I was your age… blah blah blah complain”). It’s so frustrating that they don’t even KNOW that a lot of their education has sucked.

They all failed their first quiz pretty miserably. When I asked how many of them had studied for the quiz, one hand went up (out of 15 students). That one student got a 60% (ok, so not all of the kids failed, but close enough). The rest admitted that they hadn’t studied. When I asked how many students were used to not studying and still getting A’s – all hands went up. When I asked how many kids now understand that that won’t fly in an AP course, all hands were reluctantly raised. I hope that means I’ll see a change. I should also admit that I think that part of the terrible grades was my not-so-great teaching last week; this week has been much better.

I’m very worried. While about 60% of Americans pass the AP Statistics exam, only 25% of Black Americans pass. Read that again, seriously, because it is ridiculous and beyond appalling. I would love for all of my students to pass the exam, but even more, I want my students to experience the type of workload and expectations that they are likely to see in college and that they SHOULD have seen throughout high school. My school is moving in the right direction, and I’m really glad to be a part of the movement.

Finally, I would like to say that I hit ALL THE GREEN LIGHTS on the way to school again today. I am awesome.

P.S. I promise to write a positive post soon :) I really am very happy, though you probably can't tell. I really heart my students.


A BCPSS Parent said...

I can tell you love your job. I love my job, but if you asked me to talk about it, after I got through the general boring overview of what an engineer does I would probably talk about stuff that makes me crazy. I feel more passionately about it and it's more fun to talk about/listen to anyway.

Anonymous said...

AP is tough, and it's a rude awakening. I took AP American History when I was a kid, and it took me a couple of weeks to really get into the routine of having to write summaries of Supreme Court cases every week, and all the other stuff that went with it (e.g. the daily lineup in the library for the overnight Reserve books). With any luck they'll start to move into that groove soon.