Recently, there have been a lot of changes to the American education system. We are now competing against other countries to get better test scores. As a teacher, I believe that some of the demands the government is enforcing in the education system is kind of ridiculous. When I was a student in high school though, I could easily see one thing that could be changed. And that was having better teachers.
In high school, I took two advanced placement classes. The one class was known to be very difficult. I was ranked at the top of my class and I had my doubts that I would be able to keep my rank with this class. I was hoping to achieve an A in the class but after all the comments I had heard about it, I would have also accepted a B.
The class involved a lot of work which was all very difficult. Everyday, we would begin class with a bell ringer. Once we discussed the bell ringer, we would discuss questions from the reading assigned the day before. Then, we would be assigned more reading and questions for that night. On top of that, we were constantly working on some kind of essay or extremely large project that was due in a couple weeks. Finally, we were also reading a book of our choice that applied to the subject and writing a long book report as well as doing some other large projects that were due at the end of the semester.
Every so often, we would have a test. The tests were very hard. For some people, this class was the first time they ever had to study. I had been studying for years and even I was finding the tests difficult. It got so that a few days before the test, I would reread the entire chapter and then go through my review questions and bell ringers frequently. There was always a review session the morning of the test that many of my classmates would attend. The tests were difficult because he would take questions directly from old AP tests.
Right before the AP test, we were having daily review sessions as well as going through our old tests and review questions. I was pretty confident after the test that I had done pretty well and sure enough, I had. I scored a four on the test. All of my hard work as well as my teacher’s preparation had really helped me.
My other advanced placement class was a joke though. I had had this teacher the year before and she spent the entire class period on her computer while we worked quietly on our assignments. This AP class was no different. It fact, we probably learned even less than the year before. We would spend the first twenty minutes of class discussing various topics, none of which were class related. After about twenty minutes, one of my classmates would decide that it was time to get to work. As a class, we would read aloud our novel and discuss. Our teacher would work at her computer unless we had a question. It took us three months to complete that novel because after we read most of it in class, we watched two different versions of the movie and completed a paper.
One time, we took a test over something we read and everyone failed. My teacher bumped up our grades and said that we all failed because the test had AP questions on it and that we weren’t ready for that yet.
We complained to the administration that we weren’t learning anything. We said that the regular class was doing more than we were. My teacher talked to us later and said the reason we didn’t have many assignments was because we were busy with our other advanced placement class and that the assignments she gave us were bigger than the assignments she gave her other class. Sill, I wasn’t feeling very confident when I got done taking the AP test. And sure enough, I only got a two.
Maybe American students are lacking in test scores compared to other countries. But has the government even stepped into a school to see how things can be changed? Right now, America needs great teachers so that all students can excel.