AP teachers – can you offer clarification?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by eddygirl, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Aug 18, 2011

    I have absolutely no teaching experience with AP, and as a parent, I had what I believed was a negative experience at the time. My son took an AP US History class 10 years ago, and the teacher only covered up until the 1880’s. He told the kids they could read the next 100+ years of history on their own. Not knowing how AP works, I found it peculiar that the teacher did not think his lessons/lectures on those years were necessary for the kids to pass the test. My son passed with a 3, but I wonder if he would have done better with more teacher input.

    I am curious about how one goes about teaching AP classes. Is the class mostly teacher-guided or more independent study? Is it more work for you than teaching an honors class? Do you have to “teach to the test” for students to be successful? Finally, is it more like teaching a college course (lecture/note-taking based) than a high school course? Any input would be appreciated.
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 18, 2011

    I apologize that your son's teacher only taught up until the 1880s. That's less than our regular classes cover. My APUSH covers roughly early colonization (pre-1492) until the Clinton Administration before the exam. To be honest, Reagan is really the only necessary item to get to. Bush and Clinton are not really covered.

    Some teachers I know do teach to the test. I do not. We do have a lot of exam practice. All my tests, quizzes, and trimester exams are meant to simulate AP exams and we do lots of practice Multiple Choice and Essays.

    In terms of course delivery. It's a lot of reading for the kids; 75-100 pages of reading/week. That's more than most Intro to American History courses at any college. My class is a lot of lecturing, but I rarely lecture without discussion. My lectures include discussions, primary source analysis, debates, etc. I also do a lot of mini-projects, structured discussions, etc. AP courses are a lot more difficult to teach. I have to stringently follow my lesson plans and I have a lot of grading to do.
     
  4. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2011

    I teach AP US almost exactly as Brendan does.

    However, I teach my regular classes the same way, with no test prep but a pile of research and writing. It's just as paper intensive, just as hard, and covers exactly the same topics. Same reading load, too.

    Your son's teacher did him a grave disservice, in my view. I was trained as a specialist in the 19th century, so teaching past 1880 bores me. But I do it, and so do all other AP teachers. To stop at 1880 nearly guarantees failure. Your son performed impressively by getting a 3.
     
  5. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2011

    Eddygirl, you can go on the AP website and read sample syllabi in AP US history to get a sense of what AP courses usually teach. It's in the section for teachers preparing for an "AP Audit."
     
  6. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Aug 18, 2011

    Thanks, Brendan and Katherine. I thought my son's group may have gotten a "raw deal," but since he passed, I didn't complain.

    I thought it might be interesting to teach AP English, but am concerned that the workload would be consuming. Any English teachers out there who have taught AP and honors level? Is it a lot harder to teach your AP class?
     
  7. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Aug 20, 2011

    It's immense amount of work

    I teach AP English, and it's much more than honors. Essays at least once a week, and I conference with all my students on how to improve their writing. If you have 30 in a class, that's a lot, and it needs to be done immediately. My students read 11 major works in the course of the year, which we discuss, write and test on. There is very specialized vocabulary and test-taking strategies. Practice tests, etc. I love it, but it can be overwhelming.
     

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