For any student that takes Advanced Placement classes, you know well before the class begins what to expect. An insane amount of homework and a whole lot of studying; but what’s it all for? The first day of class the teacher introduces the infamous AP exam that doesn’t even take place until May, eight months in advance. From then on anything and everything taught in the class is referred back to the test.
I bring this up in relation to a thought that I had all last year and even this year. Sitting in my AP Spanish Language and Culture class last year as I was researching and comparing topics in the U.S to those in Latin America, I stumbled upon an article that pretty much breaks down how in many countries (like South America), teachers salaries are a lot higher than any other occupation. During the class discussion I brought up the point of how education is a lot more appreciated in other countries than compared to the U.S. This isn’t to cause any uproar about how Americans are unappreciative to education and school, but more so to explain what caused me to question why I was in that class.
As I was sitting in the AP class I thought about my reasoning to take it. I knew that I needed my third year of a foreign language and as I am a native spanish speaker I just thought that AP would be pretty easy. I never thought how much I was going to learn about numerous cultures and even my own. Why do we take classes on topics that don’t even interest us, more specifically college level courses? I understand that in order to graduate Malden High school and any other high school there are the core classes that are required in order for a student to graduate, however as time has passed it seems like school in general is a nightmare when in reality it should be a dream.
The amount of times that I scroll through my Twitter feed in homeroom every morning and see the constant complaints of students and how they don’t want to be in school is insane. A lot of what I believe is lacking, is the passion. I can’t say that I’ve never complained in school because I woke up at 3 a.m to finish a paper that I got a bad grade on, however I don’t think that’s the issue.
The fact that AP classes are even offered in high school is so beneficial yet I don’t think that students realize it. You are taking a college level class that is free compared to when it’s actually offered and has a price.
Coming from someone that has taken AP classes since sophomore year it didn’t hit me how much we take our education for granted until this year. Two of my AP classes this year are two of my favorite classes that I have ever taken. One of the first things that the teachers told the class is how they don’t see the goal of the class as to get a four on the AP exam, and that they hope we learn and take something away of value that sticks with us. I took this into consideration as I was out with my friends one night and some talking point came up and I was able to engage myself into the conversation because of the material that my class had covered. That feeling of satisfaction that for once something you learned in school comes in handy is undeniably wonderful, as any student would probably agree. As corny as it sounds, think about it. What value does something have if all that matters is a number grade? Sure the grade transfers as a credit for college if the grade is eligible, but that’s it. Nine times out of ten you won’t remember your prompt from your AP English Language and Composition class in seven years. The material that sticks with you is the kind that counts.
Although many argue that the blame goes towards the teachers, I know from experience that some teachers wish that they could, and some even do, lean away from the set curriculum. Some have the same mindset and believe that as mentors, their job is to do more than just teach and to provide knowledge. If you break it down that’s how the evolution of things are done; someone has the knowledge of a process or system and decides to adjust and make changes to it. So the next time that you’re complaining about the workload for a class or stressing over the grade on a quiz think about the big picture and realize what you’re really getting out of it. Does the 5 really matter or does the experience?