Monday, May 04, 2009

AP Wussies

Today before 1st period, I noticed quite the gathering outside of our gym. Upon my investigation of this congregatory phenomenon I learned that an AP test was being given. I offered "academic blessings" to those students I know (actually, I sort of knighted them with my roll sheets) and proceeded forthwith to prepare for the day.

About three hours later, on my prep period, I was headed to the office, and what did I spy near the attendance office? A crowd of students, many of whom I recognized from earlier that morning.

I knew right away what was going on. They had finished their AP test and were getting "early dismissals" so they could go home for the day.

There are some illegal things we do at my school. And there are some silly things. And there are some dumb things. And this is one of the dumb things.

Is taking one test really a good reason to take a half a day off school? And for the students who have four AP classes and will presumably take four AP tests, is there really a good reason for them to miss four days of classes?

I can hear one argument already: if we're smart enough to take AP classes, we can afford to miss a day of school. However, we're not talking about what students can afford to miss academically. If that were the case, why not just take random days off if you have A's? Because that's not how the game's played, and that's not what's expected of students (or teachers, for that matter).

Argument #2: my brain's turned to mush after that test. Sorry, I'm not buying it. If you're useless after three hours of testing, then you're probably not ready for all those Stanford classes you're trying so hard to get into. Get ready for periodic all-nighters! Oh, and get to class--there's still a month of school left.

Argument #3: I need to go home and study for tomorrow's AP test. I could be swayed by that argument, if I knew that students would actually be studying for tomorrow's AP test. Most, however, gave Argument #2 when I asked them.

Argument #4: It's a reward for all that hard work in AP all year. Nope; your reward is the satisfaction of a job well done, and perhaps three college credits for only the cost of a test. Oh, that, and getting to play cards and video games in AP class for the rest of the school year (one of the silly things we do at our school).

So, are our AP students wussies, prima donnas, or merely taking advantage of their parents' softness? You decide.


Scott McCall said...

lazy asses!!!! i stayed in school after each my AP tests!

Coach Brown said...

Students asked me if they could miss my classes either before or after AP tests. I said, "sure, but I'm still teaching and you'll be marked absent."

Let the whining commence.

Eric W. said...

I'm probably a wussy, but I'm okay with that.

My 5th and 6th periods are AP Calculus and AP English, respectively. We played hangman and balderdash today because so few people stayed after lunch after the AP Government test. I think it's a combination of 1) not wanting to go to school and 2) not wanting to be "that kid" who had to stay when everyone else went out to lunch and complained how they all thought they failed the test.

maxutils said...

Yeah, I can't imagine why a student would need to leave early after one in a series of big tests -- that's why finals week is all solid, full days of school . . . oh, wait -- it's half days.

Why would you worry about this? It's not up to you to accommodate them. Class still goes on, they are, I would hope, still responsible for any material that they miss. As long as the rules state that their parents can grant an early dismissal, they aren't even violating a rule. . . so, blame, be there any must lie with the parents.

And, let the teacher who's never taken a personal day for any but the approved reason cast the first stone.

Darren said...

Yet STAR testing days are full days. And I'm quite convinced part of the reason for finals week including shorter days is so teachers have time to grade them before school gets out.

I don't object to their leaving as much as I object to the sense of entitlement and victimhood that tries to justify that leaving.

maxutils said...

STAR testing can be full days because it's testing that doesn't matter to the student. :)

Linda said...

I have students who will be missing school Friday - I informed them that I would be reviewing the Gas Laws (Chemistry), and otherwise preparing them for the End of Course Test in 2 weeks.

A few asked if I could do something else (like show a movie?) - I told them, "no". Why should I put other students' education on hold because they won't be there?

Another thing that irritates me is the number of times lately that teachers have kept my students out of my class, without notice, for their classwork or coaching. Or a preparation for the talent show. Or a field trip.

No notice. No follow-up paperwork or email to let me know why they were out.

I am surrounded by rude "colleagues".

Darren said...

Linda, see the mistake you're making? You're still teaching content after the AP test! At my school, students in AP classes will play cards or PlayStation for the rest of the year. Seriously.

As to the 2nd issue you bring up, that's a pet peeve of mine. "Mr. So-and-so said I could finish my test." So that student and Mr. So-and-so decided that that class is more important than whatever it is we're doing in my class. It's rude and disrespectful. Can Mr. So-and-so not call or email me to ask if this isn't an imposition? Or can the student not come ask, then go back and finish Mr. So-and-so's test? What if it would be better for the student to miss the *end* of my class instead of the beginning?

Erica said...


After my AP English test the teacher made us come back to her room so we could write and grade a short subject essay on the parallels between the Iliad and some JD Salinger atrocity.

Darn kids these days.

Anonymous said...

To Argument #1: As far as I am concerned, it is valid to take random days off if I have As. I did, each year, until the school made me not do it any longer. I took a "mental health" day every six weeks, at least, with not a regret.

Argument #2: Despite "periodic all-nighters" being slightly hyperbolic, there's still a pretty sizable difference between an AP test and studying for a college class. Most of the students we're referring to aren't going to be going to Stanford anyway, but pretending they were, to do well on an AP test involves just as much studying as a college final PLUS at least 4 hours of intensive brain activity in the test itself. I mean, there's a reason classes are canceled during finals week (There are multiple, of course, but giving students a break after intensive studying and testing is one of them).

Argument #3: This is dumb.

Argument #4: See Argument #3.