My First Day of AP Training

September 29, 2007 at 10:32 am 5 comments

This has been a difficult day so far.  We’re discussing differentiation strategies for the AP classroom.  Most of it is completely over my head.  This is what frustrates me about staff development: it’s all about where I should be.  I want to take this information and interpret it as a goal, as something to aim for, as something that will take time and practice to reach.  But this morning, it’s just coming across as an area where I’m falling short.

I kind of want to scream, “I get it already!”  I know that a good teacher does all of these things most – or all – of the time.  But please give me time to get my head around all of this information and figure out what it looks like in my classroom.  Please stop making me attend all kinds of overwhelming training sessions that I don’t feel like I get anything out of because I haven’t even mastered all of the content yet.

Admission: of the 7 chapters my class has read in AP Government, I’ve read one.  ONE.  And not even very thoroughly.  I’ve been too busy with planning activities for that class, for my regular government classes, and for my world geography classes.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get everything done.

My question this morning is: Are my students being cheated because they have me as their teacher?  I am not looking for sympathy here (well, maybe a little because frankly, I’m just being a disgusting, whiny baby about being in staff development on a Saturday).  I want empathy, but more than that, I want honesty.

And here’s something else.  I absolutely loathe this particular subject area.  I really, truly couldn’t care less about government; I know (and appreciate) that we have one, I know how to find information about it, and I know about my options for participating.  Otherwise, really, it just doesn’t get me excited.  How do I work up enthusiasm for teaching it?  Or do I just accept that I find it dull, do it because they’ve told me to, and move on?  Isn’t that the kind of attitude that frustrates me about my students?

Will this feeling of inadequacy ever go away – or at least abate just a bit?  Am I destined to live with this sense of “falling short” for my entire life?

Am I in the right profession??

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Entry filed under: Education, Life in General, Uncategorized.

Becoming a Real Teacher Happy Thoughts

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Witter  |  September 29, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Fear NOT! [Low rumbling and rolling fog]

    It is I, Methuziheverwaptic! The oldest social studies teacher in all of history!!! I have read the tea leaves, cracked the chicken bones and put dust into the wind and the oracle of education tells me that your feelings are NORMAL!

    (Oh and she also said I should let you know that you are not perfect…)

    From this moment on, you shall pursue what you deem best, and wisest for your students. To save yourself, and your students from the Dragon of DOOM (Yes, it is actually spelled in caps. I’ve seen his birth certificate.), you must pick one the three doors before you- 1) Sage on the Stage 2) Guide on the Side 3)Mentor in the Center.

    After that, you only have to do your best. Here! I’m taking away your +4 Beating Stick of Self-Doubt and giving you a +10 Shield of Imma Professional. (Imma gave it to me on my last birthday) That will help you get through the rough times when you are under attack from others.

    If you had to wait until you are all knowing in your subject, we couldn’t have teachers above the 5th grade…

    See you Monday!

  • 2. What Makes a Good Teacher? « Musings from the Academy  |  October 1, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    […] or not, and the more I turned it around in my brain, the more unclear I became.  And then I read this post by one of my colleagues <hopefully she won’t mind me calling attention to her minor […]

  • 3. Scott  |  October 2, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Been there, done that. I look at it this way – you can hate what you teach and that hate will shine through to your students and make them not like it that much, or you can put your best foot forward and find a way to make the class fun for you.

    I had to teach 6th grade math one year, and loathed it, but I found ways to get through to my kids. No, I didn’t teach the same way the other math teachers taught. I made math a competition. OK, so that’s how I was taught math, but that’s also what made me good at it.

    Might I suggest (especially since they’re AP) that you have them do some sort of activism, or a community project related to government. Debate. Make them take a stand on a political issue and back it up. They are at that age where they are breaking from their parent’s views. Let them know that it’s OK to have a difference of opinion because that’s what makes our government work….you may find that you’ll come to like the subject after all.

  • 4. Happy Thoughts « The Other Side of the Desk  |  October 2, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    […] on Sunday, a coworker left the funniest comment EVER in response to my post, and that pretty much sealed the […]

  • 5. Beth Bradley  |  October 25, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I know what you mean about overwhelmed by all of the expectations for AP teachers. I have taught one AP class or another for 12 years now and my first year of teaching AP World History has me making some pretty tight time decisions. Do I read the material I plan to assign to the kids or do I grade the 100 essays that came in yesterday? Do I plan the class work or mine all the data that came my way from the AP training?” Like you, I worry that my students will suffer because they have ME for their teacher this year. I can’t say, “Come back next year when I have a handle on all of this!” Most importantly – and I’m serious here – Are any of us having fun, yet? Unfortunately, much as I love these kids, I’m afraid the answer is, no. Thanks for providing a forum for this. I have to go grade essays, now.

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