Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How to Start?

It was divine surfing that brought me to Dennis Fermoyle's post yesterday about his experience teaching AP US Government. This is the exact course I have spent all summer trying to plan for. It was humbling to read his experience with the scoring rollercoaster, and I'm reminded again that the temptation to fall under the control of the test is very powerful. My planning issues revolve around several major challenges:

1. This is the first year my school is starting an AP program (we are making the slow and sometimes painful transition from primarily vocational to college prep), so there aren't any AP experts in my faculty community.

2. I am the only AP US Government teacher, and so I will be teaching 2 classes of 35 or more students each. Not exactly conducive to individual support time.

3. I am not quite sure what the balance is between teaching them at a college level and remembering that they're also enjoying their last year of high school.

4. My school's demographics are not the average AP demos - most of my kids will struggle just to pay the test fee. I am considering some kind of fundraising?

5. I couldn't even pass the AP US Government test when I took it a month ago. Eek.

Despite these challenges I'm excited for the year to begin. I am lucky to teach courses that I absolutely love. I teach sophomores Global Studies and I teach seniors Government. This year I'll be adding the 3rd prep of AP Government. Two classes of each course.

It is a heady time to be teaching government. Constitutional Crisis, electioneering and empire crumbling can all combine for some explosive political conversation. And one thing that always energizes me: my students see through the bs at lightspeed. I can hardly wait!

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