Classroom dynamics following AP exams

   May is often a very stressful month for students who make the choice to take AP classes, as pretty much the whole year is spent preparing the students for one test that can very easily affect the students’ classes after high school and into college. Once the tremendous stress of the exam has passed, and it is finally completed, it is likely that there are a few weeks left in the school year before the students are let out for the summer.

   Many teachers use these few weeks to give their classes time to relax and work on other subjects, or in some cases the teachers even plan out things for their classes to do. Mr. Brinker, a science teacher at Heritage, uses this time to continue teaching his students, but aims to teach them material that is valuable outside of just a test.

    “I spend some of the time to go back and look at curriculum points that used to be taught but have since been taken out that I think are still very important. I also talk a lot about goal setting and I tell some stories that I hope will make you think about science from other perspectives and in different ways. I take a holistic view to being a teacher, and so I think it’s really important to educate the whole person and not strictly the science part,” says Brinker.

    While some teachers decide to just sign off after finals week and let the students get a head start on summer break, Mr. Brinker thinks differently.

    “I really value my time with my students and so I want to make every minute I have with them count. I don’t want to waste two or three weeks showing movies when I could be teaching them lessons that I think are important beyond just the class,” he says.

    Cameron Berry ‘18 is a student who took Mr. Brinker’s AP Bio class last year as a sophomore and is taking his AP Environmental Science class this year. Berry speaks highly of the lessons Mr. Brinker teaches after the exam.

    “He taught a lot of lessons that he thought we should know going out into the world, outside of high school. He gave us a lot of different skills he thought we should know and best of all, he gave us a lot of places he thought we should visit. Giving us places to visit was my favorite thing he did after the AP Exam, and my mom and I visited all of his suggested places over the following summer. Being able to learn stuff about the world outside of high school was really valuable to me and worth remembering,” says Berry from her perspective as a student.

AP Exam Picture

Maureen Stewart checks in students for one of Heritage’s many AP Exams this May. The AP Exam testing period commenced May 1 and continues throughout the majority of the month.

   With free time after the AP exams, it is a very clear opportunity to be able teach something that supplements the AP curriculum, and taking advantage of this opportunity can have profound impacts for students’ lives outside of high school.

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