“A Day In The Life”: Ms. Brown

"The younger you learn about your history, the more beneficial it is" according to sophomore Nicole Fitzgerald, a student in Dana Marie Brown's Advanced Placement United States History course. In taking such a course, students, as well as Ms. Brown, describe the difficulty and hard work required, but also the benefits of challenging oneself to do better and work harder.

Brown actually attended Malden High School as a part of the class of 2003, from which she went on to Stonehill College. She originally did not want to be a history teacher but rather an elementary school teacher, so she entered college wanting to do elementary education. However, she realized that she wanted to change her minor in Political Science to her Major, and from there got into the history aspect of teacher. She describes how "[She] always wanted to be a teacher," and after getting her Masters degree (in education?)  from Boston College in (2008?) she began teaching at Malden High School as a part of the History Department.

The benefits and challenges involved with teaching an AP course are quite intensive. Brown stated how "AP courses cover more material", with AP US History covering both United States History 1 and United States History 2 content in one year. However, she likes to "make the students more interested", and enjoys how with certain topics "people get more interested in, get more excited about" and believes there is more room for that excitement in an AP course. The way the class is run leaves a "lot of students doing work on their own... But there's also some time for some good discussions". She continued on to describe how the most exciting thing about AP US History is "looking back. People always look back and say 'oh my gosh we learned a lot this year, we went fast and it was crazy and it was hard, but I worked hard and I learned a lot'."

For the students, there are many challenges but also many rewards for their hard work in AP US History. Sophomore Gus Brookes said how he "hope[s] to be able to work better and time manage", skills that no matter what

Ms. Brown during her teaching her AP U.S. class.
Ms. Brown during her teaching her AP U.S. class.

profession someone pursues will always be beneficial. Sophomore Nicole Fitzgerald agrees with the importance of time management and stated how "if you let one thing slip, if you forget one thing, you get pushed back so far behind" because of the work load. "It's about challenging yourself, if you don't want to do well you're not going to" Fitzgerald continued. Brookes elaborated about how  "you have to get it done on your own time or it's not going to get done", but this is exactly what Fitzgerald enjoys about the course, "being able to explore on your own" because it is more interesting that way.

In the end, who should take AP US History? "Everyone should take APUSH!" exclaimed Brown. Even if history is not one's favorite subject, as Fitzgerald admitted, the class can still be very interesting and worthwhile, especially with its discussions and debates. The skills learned through the independent work and writing development can transcend into their futures that can truly prepare them for education beyond high school. Also, APUSH is one of the first classes students can take that is an AP, with students usually taking the course their sophomore year. This experience of what it is like to take a college level course so early in one's high school career can not only give them a taste of what it is to come, but also prepare them for it when it does.

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